Greylists - Alaska Reid

Grace Rubin
December 18, 2020

This piece is part of the Greylists series: communities sharing the music that brings them together.

Alaska Reid grew up in south-central Montana, in a county numbering just over 16,000 residents. Marked by mountain peaks, ranchers, and Old West architecture, Park County is at once rural and artistically rich—an enclave for poets, painters, and actors. So it comes as no surprise that by age five, Alaska was taking voice lessons (from her town’s sole music teacher) and that by age 14, she was itching for something more.

In the style of her frontier foremother Calamity Jane, Alaska forged West toward Los Angeles where she enrolled in a new high school and began gigging in clubs up and down the Sunset Strip. She eventually formed the indie rock outfit Alyeska, which released their first (and last) EP, Crush, in 2017.

While being part of a band brought teenage Alaska a sense of safety and legitimacy as she worked to make a name for herself, it also limited her capacity for growth and recognition. She formed the band at a time when she felt she wouldn’t be taken seriously without a crew of men backing her up: “If I have guys behind me, like a band, then people will listen to me,” she told American Songwriter of her reason for organizing Alyeska. But she found instead that her voice was stifled by her bandmates’ deeper voices, so she stepped away two years later to forge her own path once more.

With the arrival of Big Bunny, her debut solo project via Terrible Records, Alaska is betting on herself. Her EP features nine original songs, two of which she produced herself (“City Sadness” and “Pilot”) after learning Logic Pro during the early months of the pandemic. Self-sufficiency is important for Alaska, whose (re)introduction to the industry has been met with both high expectations and high praise.

For her Greylist, Alaska pulls from a wide range of artists, genres, and time periods to reflect the breadth of her musical influences.

1. “Our Town,” Iris DeMent

2. “Bent out of Shape,” The Replacements

3. “L.A. County,” Lyle Lovett

4. “Just Can’t Win,” Laughing Hyenas

5. “Start Choppin’,” Dinosaur Jr.

6. “Oracle,” A.G. Cook

7. “Boys Don’t Cry,” Shigecki

8. “Strong Reaction,” Pegboy

9. “Silver Cross,” Charli XCX

10. “Coyote,” Joni Mitchell

11. “MALAMENTE - Cap.1: Augurio,” ROSALÍA


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