Today the singer, songwriter, and bassist Sylvia Rose Novak has released a new single, “Dizzy”, a captivating cover of the song originally made famous by Jimmy Eat World. The only cover song on the forthcoming album, A Miss / A Masterpiece, this rendition of “Dizzy” is crucial to the story of the record as a whole, as she was inspired to break out of the “Alt-country” / “Americana” genre label that has followed her for most of her career thus far and make an album inspired by the punk, emo and power-pop she grew up listening to. In her passionate performance of the Jimmy Eat World song, you can not only hear how much the original song means to her, but also how liberating it is to be finally playing the style of music that spoke most directly to her as a kid.
After years of feeling limited and misunderstood by the genre category she was initially pigeonholed into and the expectations that came along with it, this is the first album that Sylvia has made so far far that she feels truly encapsulates the full person and artist she always knew herself to be, now finally actualized in the music. A Miss / A Masterpiece is Sylvia’s declaration of independence, trading in cowboy boots for her favorite Black Sabbath tank top, black jeans, and a scuffed pair of well-loved motorcycle boots – the look that she should have introduced herself with in the first place.
It may seem like a dramatic pivot at first for fans of her previous material, but as the record unfolds it becomes clear that this new style is the musical context Sylvia’s songwriting and vocals have always been meant for. As she put it herself, “I’m trying to really find my footing in the industry with this album. Not so much as an “I play rock now” thing but as an “ I made a rock record because I do what I want” thing. I may make an indie album next. I may make a metal album. The future is wide open.”
A Miss / A Masterpiece follows Novak’s aptly-named 2020 album, Bad Luck, which was met with acclaim from publications such as American Songwriter and Billboardas it carefully bridged the gap between her former life as an Americana artist and her foray into pure rock and roll
The drums on A Miss / A Masterpiece hit hard and loud, the bass and guitars are down-tuned and heavy. And Novak’s voice, though clearly still hers, hasn’t so much matured as it has tapped into something raw and real that’s been buried deep within her all of these years. The album is also deeply personal; touching on her fears of nuclear fallout in “Fallout”, hitting hard notes about reproductive rights in “Stress Fracture”, offering a glimpse into bipolar depression with “Rage”, and penning a memoir about the time she was addicted to uppers via “The Window” - a track on which she also played violin for the first time since she put down the instrument in 2019 to focus solely on bass.
The bass was Novak’s first instrumental love. Though she’s multi-instrumental - having learned everything from Trombone to pedal steel over the last two decades, something about the bass has called to her since she was twelve years old and first heard the introductory bars to “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Duff McKagan’s counter-melody reached out to her as if it was an old friend, a kindred rebel soul. From that moment, her relationship with the instrument has only grown and is now the bedrock for the sonic rebirth that’s so evident throughout A Miss / A Masterpiece.
After Bad Luck connected the dots between her Americana past and her alt-rock future, Novak is expecting fans of her previous work to leave their preconceptions at the door with A Miss / A Masterpiece, and realize that the Sylvia Rose Novak they thought they knew is a Sylvia Rose Novak who never was.
A Miss/ A Masterpiece is set for release May 20, 2022.
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