This piece is part of the Greylists series: communities sharing the music that brings them together.
Angst, introspective, raw - those are some of the words that come to mind when one listens to Boyish. India Shore and Claire Altendahl met in 2016 at Berklee College of Music and started collaborating under the name, The Blue. The duo changed their name to Boyish after they moved to New York. Self-described as “chaotic” and “unsteady,” Boyish’s singular sound balances anxiety and vulnerability with an underlying dream-like quality.
Boyish released their first album Carnation in 2018. Full of tracks that weave themes like sexuality, vulnerability, uncertainty, and regret, Carnation howls with passion. Garden Spider, their 10-track sophomore album released in 2020, explores the same themes with lush, silky melodies. Uncertainty is pondered in lyrics like “Kinda love you, but I hate you, too / Can I blush, would you hate me, too?” from the song “mom i think im gay.” On tracks like “AndroGay” and “hot wheels,” the steady strum of Claire’s electric guitar complements India’s confident and intimate vocals. Evidence of Boyish’s ability to tackle life’s existential -- and often uneasy -- themes is noticeable throughout both records.
Stay tuned as Boyish has plans to release a new EP this year, with Claire working from Minnesota and India from Brooklyn. “It’s been a great time to really just go into your mind and figure out, what do you want to sound like? What are you trying to write?” Claire told WHRB (Harvard Radio Broadcasting) while reflecting on writing during the pandemic.
Listen to some of Boyish’s current inspirations on their Greylist which highlights raw, relatable lyricism and the personal reflection that we all find ourselves fumbling through.
1. “zombie girl,” Adrianne Lenker
2. “Ode to a Conversation Stuck in Your Throat,” Del Water Gap
3. "This Charming Man," The Smiths
4. "Punisher," Phoebe Bridgers
5. “Rue,” girl in red
Curious for more? Don’t miss Boyish’s thoughts on Phoebe Bridgers and Billie Eilish, as part of our Algorhythms project.
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