PET POLITICS: Amelia Bushell Talks Grim Streaker, Belle Mare, and her Extra Special Pup

Amelia with her punk band Grim Streaker.

Amelia Bushell is one of Brooklyn’s most versatile frontwomen. You can catch her powerful yelps and hollers in hardcore band Grim Streaker, surf some dream-pop vibes with her duo Belle Mare, or hear an intimate and melodic serenade from her latest project Extra Special.

After releasing the single “Gut” and an EP, Girl Minority, in 2017, Grim Streaker released their debut LP, No Vision, last year. Belle Mare most recently released their EP Liars in October 2018, following Heaven Forget (2016) and The Boat of the Fragile Mind in 2013. Extra Special has yet to make a debut release, but when it does, I’m sure it will be extra special indeed. Basically, Amelia Bushell is a very busy lady.

I have had the pleasure of catching Amelia in multiple projects in very different settings, from DIY venues in Brooklyn, to outdoor gigs in Austin, to stripped down pizza parlor acoustic gigs in the neighborhood. Whatever genre she tackles, she does it with heart and charisma. Along with a passion for music, Amelia shares another love with yours truly: animals. Amelia has one particular fluffy, pawed pal name Charlie. I had the opportunity to talk to Amelia about Charlie, her history of pets and music, and the scoop on her current musical projects!

Amelia Bushell (Photo Credit: Michael Lavine).

AF: Please introduce us to your furry friend.

AB: This is Charlie, my family dog.

Charlie the Precious Pup (Photo Credit: Amelia Bushell).

AF: How did you two come across each other?

AB: My mum brought him home from Kelowna in British Columbia after spotting him at an event. His old owner had a young daughter that used to shake him so they needed to give him up.

AF: Did you grow up with any pets?

AB: My first pet was Goldidania, the goldfish that we won at a fairground. He self-combusted (i’m not joking) in his tank about a year later. Then we had a rabbit whose teeth grew too long and he strangled himself. We also had two guinea pigs. One attacked the other and we think he had a heart attack from fear. Our first dog was an Old English Sheepdog called Oscar, and while Oscar was still alive we got Charlie. 

AF: When did you move to Brooklyn and what prompted the move?

AB: I moved in 2011 for University. 

AF: When did you start playing music and what was your first instrument?

AB: I was forced to play piano at age 4 and although I hated it, I’m very grateful my parents made me do it because it gave me the musical foundation that ended up sparking my future projects. 

AF: First band name?

AB: Beachtits.

AF: Tell us a bit about your current musical projects.

AB: My most recent is called Extra Special and it’s my first solo endeavour. I say solo because I wrote the songs, but I wouldn’t have been able to get it off the ground had I not had help from my very talented band including Sharif Mekawy, Louis Cozza and Ray McGale. The first EP, produced by Gary Atturio, is due out this year. Gary also plays in my other dream pop project called Belle Mare and has just produced our latest single that will come out soon. Grim Streaker is my punk band.

Extra Special (Photo Credit: Michelle Lobianco).

AF: How did you meet your bandmates?

AB: I met Thom, my co writer in Belle Mare, at an open mic night. The rest I just met through connections in the Brooklyn music community. 

Belle Mare.

AF: Which of your projects do you think your pet would be most likely to play in, and on what instrument would he accompany you?

AB: Probably Extra Special because he’s very lazy and a lot of my songs are about being lazy. He would play the triangle because it doesn’t require much effort.

AF: Have you ever written a song about a (non-human) animal?

AB: I haven’t but I will. 

AF: Favorite song about a (non-human) animal?

AB: “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus.

AF: What (non-human) animal do you think you’re most like?

AB: People have said a bird…

AF: What do you miss most about your pet when you are on tour?

AB: Fluffy cuddles.

Sweet, Snowy Charlie (Photo Credit: Amelia Bushell).

AF: How does your pet respond to your music? 

AB: Don’t think he gives a shit.

AF: Does he have a favorite band or genre?

AB: I think he’s deaf.

AF: Do you have a favorite city to play on tour?

AB: Montreal hands down. I love the enthusiasm of the people and the food.

AF: Any funny tour stories?

AB: The time we locked Bill out of the car because he bought a soggy tuna sandwich from a gas station somewhere in the South and we were NOT letting him bring that in the car.

AF: If your pet was a human, what career would s/he embark on?

AB: He would have that job where NASA pays you to lie in bed for months.

AF: What are your plans for the rest of 2020?

AB: I’m planning on releasing music with all three bands!

AF: Any upcoming tours?

AB: It’s in the works!

TRACK REVIEW: Grim Streaker “Guts”

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Grim Streaker photo by Isobel Shirley

Grim Streaker is a new project formed by members of Dinowalrus, The Teen Age, Belle Mare, and Hiccup. Last week they released their first single, “Guts,” produced and recorded by Mike Kutchman (Parquet Courts, WALL and Sharon Van Etten). 

Though they’ve just released one song so far, the noisy punk track contains the energy of several. “Guts” races full speed ahead, brakes screeching just enough to not fully careen out of control. Like their name, Grim Streaker’s first single gives young angst some levity by injecting a dose of dark humor, in verses that mirror each other perfectly. “Oh, I hate your mom/ I hate her good, she’s such a slut,” it begins, only later to declare, “Oh, I hate your dad/ I hate him bad.” Amelia Bushell voices her fiery scorn over frantic flashes of guitars and a heavy, determined beat. There’s something particularly pleasing, especially now, about looking around and not just declaring that everything sucks, but yelling it as loud as you can. For those without a stage, “Guts” is the perfect catharsis. 

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AudioFemme’s Best of 2013

Best of 2013 Graphic

From elaborate roll-outs to surprise releases, 2013 was a banner year for comebacks, break-outs, break-ups, and overnight sensations.  The fact that the most oblique content could cause rampant controversy to reverberate through the blogosphere turned every song into a story and made every story seem epic.  At the heart of it all are the sounds that defined this particular calendar year, from electronic pop to punk rock  to hip-hop to hardcore and everything in between.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_testimonial company=”AudioFemme Staff” author=”Top 50 Albums of 2013″ image=”http://www.audiofemme.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/01MBVmbv-300×298.jpg”]

After much debate, we’re proud of our little list and believe it represents releases that are among the best and most important of the year.  Here are our top 50 LPs in two parts: 50-26 // 25-1

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And check out our Top Albums of 2013 Playlist on Spotify.
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In a given year, thousands of records are released, many of them having upwards of ten tracks apiece.  So it’s actually physically impossible to hear them all, and can be downright daunting to wrangle them into some kind of intelligible countdown.  But we certainly have done our best, here cataloging the tunes we just couldn’t stop playing, and stuck fast in our heads when we finally managed to turn them off.

Here’s our Top Tracks of 2013 Playlist on Spotify.

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Staff Lists:

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_testimonial company=”Lindsey Rhoades” author=”RiotGrrl’s Influence in 2013″ image=”http://www.audiofemme.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/kimkathleen.jpg”]
Not only are we as a culture stepping up to finally examine sexism and exploitation and appropriation within the industry, there are more acts than ever completely unafraid to do their own thing – be it overtly political (see: Priests) or revolutionary in its emotional candidness (looking at you, Waxahatchee).
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Let’s all just agree to agree that hip hop as a genre won the album cover contest this year, okay?
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Music has the ability to make or break a cinematic moment.  Would Jaws be as scary if it weren’t for the theme song? Or would we cry as hard when Leo Dicaprio sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean if Celine Dion didn’t belt “My Heart Will Go On” every five minutes? Probably not.
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[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_testimonial company=”Lindsey Rhoades” author=”2013: The Year in Music Controversies” image=”http://www.audiofemme.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/musicthoughts.jpg”]In the age of the ubiquitous think-piece, here’s another, and this time, it’s about think-pieces.  In 2013 what think-pieces mean is that no one is about to get away with anything.[/fusion_testimonial]

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_testimonial company=”Kelly Tunney” author=”Top 10 Unexplainable Kanye Moments” image=”http://www.audiofemme.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Kanye.jpg”]
Mr. West has built up quite a reputation for himself. His musical talent has remained impressive throughout his 6-album career (Yeezus easily made several of this year’s “best of” lists, including our own) but Kanye’s persona has been the subject of parody and scandal for a long time now. This year, though, held several moments of Kanye-crazy that stood out among the plethora of examples from his memorable past.
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At the beginning of 2013, adventure felt overdue — something about going to new places, with no routine or expectations, opens you up to hear music you’d never think to listen to otherwise.
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Between the exciting festival rumors and anticipated album releases, 2014 is already shaping up to be a pretty amazing year (at least musically speaking).
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LIVE REVIEW: Belle Mare @ Rockwood Music Hall

Belle Mare“We can wait for love”, but we can’t wait for Belle Mare. Rockwood Music Hall’s three-stage architecture makes it beyond strenuous to commit to a single artist/band. Upon hearing her debut to CMJ, yearning to see this London beaut is an understatement. To find a classic sound, not too dry or drawn-out, is a difficult find. However, Amelia Bushell does it right, along with her four band members and fellow song-writer, Thomas Servidone. Right here in our garden of Brooklyn, the fans are sprouting by the minute; and I can see why. Bushell is something special, with a shadowy but far from faint voice.
At first the room is half empty, but as she picks up her tambourine, like a trigger, bodies are padding up the room. Her vintage sound is beyond awe. Surprise, surprise! She plays for us a new song. Is Belle Mare coming out with a new EP just in time for the holidays? Their tour dates in Brooklyn in the spring give me some optimism. Since last year’s debut The Boat of the Fragile Mind, the duo have taken that sail into the realm of open mics and now venues and shows. Her presence suggested a bit of shyness, looking mostly into the mic and her guitar picking. Like their own “Charade,” as her voice kindles the room-trust me- you are going to see this wondrous daydreaming pop pair more often.

Listen to Belle Mare’s “All This Time” Here, via Soundcloud:

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