Anna Fox Rochinski Champions the Effervescence of Pop Music with Debut Solo Single “Cherry”

Photo Credit: Eleanor Petry

Sometimes things coincide unintentionally to come together in a way that ultimately makes the most sense. Such serendipity is at play with Anna Fox Rochinski’s upcoming solo debut Cherry (out March 26 on Don Giovanni Records), of which she shared the title track and video last week. Rochinski is perhaps best known as a vocalist and guitarist for psych rock four-piece Quilt. Few sonic elements of that band remain on this latest offering, which is a product entirely of Rochinski’s own mind: plucky 70’s art funk shone through the lens of some very specific contemporary pop influences, among them Madonna, Midnite Vultures-era Beck, and Robyn’s 1995 debut.

Although Rochinski acknowledges that “lyrically my record is rather sad,” it doesn’t feel or sound that way. As evidenced by “Cherry,” it’s fun and funky, an amalgamation of futuristic sound effects, wiry guitar riffs, and the fizziness of pop music. “Honestly, pop music is something that I’ve always loved my whole life, and I kind of need it now more than ever, if that makes sense?” she says of this shift. “Pop music is almost medicinal in a way. Maybe not medicinal, but what I need. It’s an effervescence that I have to have right now. And it’s extremely fun. And I just recommitted myself to the pursuit of fun.”

Shooting the video itself became part of the pursuit. Shot in Arizona by director Alex LaLiberte (OTIUM) and styled by Dani Bennett, we’re presented with three different characters. One floats around her house wearing a flowing silk robe (designed and sewn by Bennett herself) and drinking a green juice, perhaps the idyllic version we all wish to embody during this time at home. Another is a business woman presiding over an empty conference room, her turquoise pants, scrunchie, and the furniture all mirroring each other by accident (there’s that serendipity again). The third dances around a semi-abandoned shopping mall in the sun, light and carefree in her yellow pants.

Rochinski acknowledges the difficulty of breaking out of her shell to embody these characters, recounting a dispute with the director over a black blouse she insisted on wearing. “I was like c’mon man! I’m so used to wearing black in New York City. It’s kind of a habit we fall into here,” she says. “He pushed me out of that comfort zone but I’m glad he did. He was like, ‘These are outfits that you aren’t going to wear in your normal life because we are making a music video. Like these are characters.’”

The production itself was the first time Rochinski experienced socializing in any capacity during the pandemic; the crew all got tested upon arrival. Despite the particular accommodations that had to be made in the interest of safety, Rochinski is quick to acknowledge the joy of “collaborating on a creative project in such a normal and free way with people. I had been missing that too. It was just great! But it’s ironic because in the video all you see is me. And like a shadow at times too.” 

But who are these characters, and who is that shadow? She leaves the characters themselves up to interpretation, keeping them abstract if only to say that she’s not really sure if they’re all her or not, or just different versions of the same person. It conveys a certain kind of isolation, the fragments of ourselves we present in different settings and social situations that mask the complete picture of who we are. “It’s kind of like this person at home, and then another version at work, and then another version out in a public space being more carefree, conveying different emotions and different atmospheres of emotion rather than conveying specific people,” she says. All of whom, it’s worth noting, don’t cross paths with a single living person throughout the whole video.

They’re chased only by a faceless shadow, which follows the characters throughout all the settings and portrays the distinct feeling of being watched. But not necessarily by another person, Rochinksi explains, as much as by yourself, the person we often hide from the most. While she says the shadow too is up for interpretation, she does offer some insight. “Maybe it’s something from the past that’s haunting you, but maybe it’s also an opportunity from the future that I’m resisting,” she says. “The song is about this push-and-pull feeling of knowing that you’re emotionally unavailable but being presented with chances to connect, and kind of wanting it but knowing it’s impossible. So you’re haunted by past trouble while trying to move forward into the future, but being stuck in the middle, just preserving yourself, out of the need to protect your heart.”

In other words, there’s a sense of choosing isolation because the possibility of anything else feels too vulnerable – a sentiment that shows itself in the first lines of the track itself: “I’ll never let him in/Because my guard is up for stormy weather.” The shadow, in a way, is that guard.

Rochinski penned Cherry, her first solo effort, after transplanting herself from the Hudson Valley to New York City following a tough break-up of a six-year relationship, starting a new life on her own without a partner or her band. Although she had written and recorded this album pre-COVID, isolation is already a major theme at play, starkly evident in the video itself. But in another example of bittersweet serendipity, our current circumstances offer the album a whole new emotional entry-point for listeners. We’re all alone right now, in some capacity or another. For many, the isolation on display in this video will resonate with the experiences of this past year, the slivers of our identities shaved off once we no longer saw coworkers in person, or that friend you have lunch with maybe once a month, or the barista from the coffeeshop. And for musicians, that extends to the part of their identities lost with the continued cessation of live shows and touring, something they must all contend with.

Rochinski remains optimistic. “I have high hopes for late 2021, but I’m not expecting anything,” she says. “I’m just keeping my ears perked up and planning on rehearsing a band and just basically being ready to play in whatever capacity we can play in, so there can at least be some documentation of live performances of these songs. I feel very excited about that actually. I’m keeping an open mind on how to show the world the performances.” 

In the same way the fun, funky instrumentals of “Cherry” add nuance to the song’s sad lyrics, the point here is to try to make peace with the difficulty of our present circumstances, to bask in the version of yourself living right now, and, lest we forget, to recommit to the pursuit of fun. As Rochinski has shown us with “Cherry,” it’s when you do this that things finally come together in the way that makes the most sense.

Follow Anna Fox Rochinski on Instagram and Twitter for ongoing updates.

LIVE REVIEW: Quilt @ Mercury Lounge


Quilt’s show on Feb. 28 was supposed to take place at Rough Trade, so obviously it took place at Mercury Lounge instead. It was an early show, with Quilt mounting the stage promptly at 9pm, but that seemed to suit the night’s comfortable vibe.

Natalie Mering, otherwise known as Weyes Blood, opened the show, joining Quilt for the remaining duration of their North American tour. She sings with her eyes closed, swaying gently as she grasps the microphone or strums her guitar, alone on stage but completely captivating the audience nonetheless. Her deep, ‘60s vocals bear a strong resemblance to Nico’s, but her loose-fitting, all white pantsuit somehow made her seem like a female John Lennon that night. Mering closed her set with a spellbinding cover of “Everybody’s Talkin,” originally by Fred Neil but made famous by Harry Nilsson. She infused the frequently covered track with her own soulfully haunting style, spinning it into some kind of trippy gospel song.

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Weyes Blood

Then came one of my favorite moments of every show: the moment when the venue’s lights are dimmed and the audience hushes its tones, turning away from its conversations to look towards the stage in anticipation of the main act. Quilt are a band that know how to milk that moment, and they appeared on stage with quietly reverberating guitars, framing their entrance with an ambient sound that whooshed all around the room, building up tension slowly but surely. The four-some took their time syncing up to each other, leisurely allowing themselves the right moment to start playing. And then, they started.

Opening with recently released Held In Splendor’s last song, “I Sleep in Nature,” Quilt used the hazy, lazy song to settle into their groove. Their live performances make it clear that their tunes hardly follow a pattern, which means their shows are equally as schizophrenic: you may be flailing to try and keep up with their guitar freak-outs one second, and the next, you may be gently swaying with arms floating listlessly by your side. “Saturday Bride” was a particularly memorable display of this ability, as Quilt flipped from one pace to another in virtuosic fashion, coaxing some dancing out of the laid back crowd. At a live show, you start to wonder how the band are able to keep up with their own compositions.

Many of their songs bled seamlessly into one another, with Quilt hardly saying a word other than “Thanks.” In fact, it was only about halfway through the show that the band greeted the crowd, adding a complaint about the bitter cold. But the room was warm and aglow with Quilt’s vintage folk sounds and Anna Fox Rochinski’s hypnotizing, honeyed vocals. Her gorgeous voice shone with songs like the popular “Arctic Shark.”

The brick walls and intimate size of the Lounge made for a great setting, but with music like this, you can’t help wishing you were outside in the sunshine, your bare toes dancing on fresh grass and the sun melting through your eyelids. Quilt’s songs truly come to life when played live. You get the feeling that the band are just having a great time jamming with one another, and they warmly invite the audience to have a great time with them.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

ALBUM REVIEW: Held In Splendor


“Everything will regenerate as love.” 

“Quilt” is an apt name for this Boston trio, who weave together assorted instruments, genres, and moods on their stirring sophomore album, Held in Splendor. The psych-folk band were already known for their layered vocal harmonies and vintage sound, displayed in full on their 2011 eponymous debut, but Held in Splendor sees the three experimenting with more dynamic arrangements and a pastiche of instruments not previously heard in Quilt’s signature sound. Perhaps it was the addition of drummer John Andrews, who joined founding members/college buds Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler for the making of this album, or perhaps it was the long hours logged in a legit recording studio in Brooklyn, NY, or perhaps it was Woods member Jarvis Taveniere taking the role of producer— something surely gave the band way to blossom beyond its boundaries in these 13 tracks, due out 1/28 on Mexican Summer.

Don’t get me wrong—for those familiar with Quilt, Splendor loses none of the band’s retro sensibilities but it certainly expands on them. “Arctic Shark,” for example, works wonders as the album’s opener, inviting listeners to a warm and happy place with floating sitars and trance-like “Oooh”s layered atop Rochinski’s honeyed voice, singing “Everything will regenerate as love.” It plays like an HD version of one of their earlier songs, as does the later track “Mary Mountain,” recalling textbook psychedelic folk in keeping with The Mamas and the Papas. Songs like “The Eye of the Pearl” and “Talking Trains” brush away the lo-fi fuzz of their previous work so that the vocals are crystal clear, glistening atop a lush blend of piano, banjo, and electronic sound effects in the former and subdued guitar in the latter.

But the album’s stand-outs are the songs that evidence Quilt’s ability to mix things up. “Tie Up The Tides,” for example, is a pop gem at its core, immediately appealing and subtly addicting thanks to that prominent, catchy bass. “A Mirror” is a sprightly song with audible depth that evolves around its upbeat percussion, evoking ‘70s rock and roll with punchy electric guitar licks. And “Secondary Swan” shows off the band’s delicate lyrical prowess (and apparent love of alliteration), with a soft and orchestral, Andrew Bird-esque sound that hides an unexpected, raving rock-out midway through the song, bringing to mind the skittering energy of bands like the Talking Heads or The Feelies. The tracks careen through quite a few twists and turns but many of them bleed into one another, providing a sense of continuity.

With reference points that dot the decades, Held In Splendor is unfettered psychedelic rock, approaching the genre with a wholly contemporary frame of mind. This is what a sophomore album is meant to do: expand on an established sound and provide proof of a budding band’s staying power. And with this release, Quilt make it clear that they aren’t going anywhere.

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TRACK REVIEW: “Tie Up The Tides”


Quilt is back with a third preview of their upcoming sophomore album, Held in Splendor, this time sharing the gorgeous “Tie Up The Tides.” The track features a simple base melody with elegantly layered guitars and lush vocal harmonies that we’ve come to expect of the psych-y, folksy pop band. Anna Fox Rochinski sings about feeling alone and unsure, searching for comfort and a “golden home,” saying “I left a world of dreams and entered one anew.” The droney bass is a modern touch to their vintage sound, made possible by the proper studio recording sessions behind the making of this record.

The centerpiece of the song is its bridge: a dynamic break into a slightly more upbeat and catchy refrain that provides a pick-me-up halfway through the otherwise languid, cozy track. The trio behind Quilt are truly great at writing the sort of ditties that get stuck in your head for days. After premiering “Arctic Shark” and “Tired and Buttered,” “Tie Up The Tides” is another promising look into the 13 track-long Held in Splendor, which is out on Jan. 28th via Mexican Summer. Listen here!