"We will never be easy to categorize musically." Annabel Liddell, front-woman of the New Zealand punk outfit Miss June, is no stranger to challenging both labels and expectations.
In 2013, the same year she began medical school, she recruited the other three members of her raucous and increasingly popular band to help launch a solo career. Over the proceeding six years, while her punk-pop quartet gained international acclaim, released an LP and a debut album, and toured the world, Liddell continued her studies. In November, after Miss June wraps their ongoing tour of the UK and North America — including a stop at the Houston of Blues in Houston on October 27 — she is set to graduate.
"I wouldn’t say that I decided to start both Miss June and med school at the same time. It’s more that they coincided," says Liddell. "I identify equally with both my creative pursuits and my academic pursuits."
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Last month the band released their debut album, Bad Luck Party, via New York indie label Frenchkiss Records. The album, which took three years to finish in between touring gigs and Liddell's schooling, is an authentic encapsulation of the band's hectic lives and emotional state of mind during those years.
"Weeks spawned into months and eventually we found ourselves three years deep," explains Liddell. "It’s raw and eclectic but a lot of sweat blood and tears went into it."
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The 11-track project is a blistering, unrelenting expression of old school punk wrapped in a contemporary layer of bright-eyed pop. Crisp and professionally-mastered drum and bass tracks provide a backdrop for fuzzed-out guitar, while a DIY aesthetic shapes the album's overall sound. Liddell's vocals range from garage band angst to the smooth melodic serenades of nineties acoustic pop.
"A lot of the album’s energy comes from frustration with our daily lives," says the multi-faceted lead vocalist.
The Bronze Peacock room , an intimate space with a capacity of around 300, promises to be a perfect setting for Miss June's in-your-face intensity.
Miss June is scheduled to perform on October 27 at the Bronze Peacock Room, House of Blues Houston. 1204 Caroline. For information, visit houstonofblues.com/houston. Doors open at 7 pm with no opener. $12 in advance.