Weird People Should Play Music Together. That’s the name of The Oh Wells’ new album, which drops March 21st with a release party at the Rickshaw. Sarah Jickling, the band’s founding member, describes their sound as “a slumber party with your best friends, plus wicked guitar solos.”
The frontwoman, who draws comparisons to Lena Dunham’s self-deprecating style and pens diary entry-esque lyrics, says that that her own struggles with anxiety and mental health issues have inspired her to make music that bring awareness to the stigmatization of mental illness. She says that it’s the love and affirmation from her fans, who come from all over North America and many different age groups, that makes all her hard work worthwhile.
This is the second incarnation of the band, which had to be reassembled by Jickling after the initial line-up broke up. They first gained attention after being selected for the Peak Performance Project, a competitive contest with lucrative prizes. The stress proved to be too much for the band, at the time centred on Jickling and her best friend at the time, and they split up. Having gone through 20 band members since then, Jickling has finally found a line-up with perfect chemistry – including a guitarist met through her therapist and a drummer that she “stole from her ex’s band.”
The album, which will be distributed over Bandcamp on a pay-what-you-can model, will be accompanied by a handmade zine illustrated by Sarah Jickling herself, in the spirit of the ‘90s riot-grrl movement. For the release party, she’s put together a line-up of similarly open-minded artists, with Altered by Mom, formerly known as Beekeeper, whom Jickling knows from the Peak Performace Project. Singer-songwriter Alanna J Stew will also play. Jickling hopes to potentially throw upcoming shows in Victoria, Kelowna and White Rock as well. Guests of the show can expect a ‘no apathy allowed’ atmosphere, with lots of personality and enthusiasm – no pretentious attitudes here.
“I get more of what you would call ‘offstage fright’” says Jickling, describing her love of performing. “It’s important to find something that makes you feel OK about who you are.”
The Oh Wells’ album release party is on March 21st at the Rickshaw Theatre. Tickets are available at Red Cat, Zulu, Neptoon, Highlife and Northern Tickets.
By Genevieve Michaels