Squirrel Flower is the alias 21-year-old Ella Williams adopted for herself when writing and performing songs as a child. Since those early days her movement through music has progressed at a staggering pace and today she announces the reissue of her second EP Contact Sports, available on vinyl for the first time, and shares the video for stunning lead single 'Conditions'.
Contact Sports is a metaphor, a wry-smiled comparison to how relationships can feel like a contact sport, a dangerous game, a competition. Filmed entirely in the Grinnell College athletic centre where she studies; the video (directed by Helena Grunsteidl) playfully reflects this, contrasting Squirrel Flower’s powerful lyrics and grounding rhythms with the chaos of the basketballs - highlighting the ambiguity of navigating love and intimacy. Speaking of the track Williams says:
"One might say that Contact Sports, and 'Conditions' explores the
modern difficulties involved in the art of sport and the sport of art, the
sport of love, and the art of love."
Coming from a professional musical family that spans generations, Williams has been surrounded by music since before she was born. By nine she was touring internationally with the Boston Children's Chorus with audiences including Barack Obama and the King of Jordan. By fourteen she writing more seriously and released her first EP under her own name. Having immersed herself in the DIY scene of her Boston hometown before moving to Iowa to study Studio Art and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies at Grinnell she discovered a more experimental sound - linking her choral music roots, classical harmony and ethereal chord structures and the music she had been writing and released her first EP as Squirrel Flower.
Though she’s now recorded two EP’s whilst studying, not to mention the numerous art projects she’s undergone on the side, Squirrel Flower is far from a college bedroom project. Entirely of her own volition she’s toured around the US, supporting the likes of Moses Sumney, Lucy Dacus, Frankie Cosmos, Jay Som, Julien Baker and Big Thief. She’s made a number of music videos, recorded the music herself, tour managed herself, made all the artwork in collaboration with friends and she’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Contact Sports is a perfectly formed collection of songs about relationships; intimacy, dependency, betrayal and place set to the unique backdrop of the American Midwest. The first three songs represent the push and pull of love and intimacy while the last three are more meditative, more place-based. From the fulsome guitar and visceral, cathartic breakdowns of lead single ‘Conditions’ to the carefully layered beauty of ‘Hands Melt’, this varied collection frequently impresses with its maturity and craftsmanship. Lyrically too, tracks like the fuzzy, dimly-lit euphoria of ‘Daylight Savings’ are spellbinding in their turn of phrase as Williams sings “I know we’ve gained an hour, but I feel like we’ve lost two”.
This powerful collection of songs will be reissued and presented on vinyl for the first time on 20 July 2018. The release comes with a limited edition run of 300 copies featuring two new bonus tracks.