The music industry can be a hard place to sustain momentum. It’s easy to go from being this year’s hot band to next year’s, “Hey, are people still into that band?” That’s especially true in a music town like Austin, where there are so many artists working that the balance between over-saturating the market and disappearing entirely can be hard to maintain.
Emily Bell knows this. Her 2013 album, In Technicolor, was a well-received debut that earned her a “Best New Act” award in the same year’s Austin Music Awards, an official proclamation of “Emily Bell Day” by the city’s mayor, and a tour schedule that took her all over Texas, the Midwest, and the East Coast. But after a family tragedy, Bell stopped writing and performing for much of 2014 and 2015. As time passed, Bell returned to music—and with the release of the first single from her forthcoming new album, “Goddess of Destruction,” she’s ready to see if she can reclaim her place in the musical landscape.
“My family has a farm in Nacogdoches,” Bell says, “And periodically, we need to burn parts of the land. My father explained to me at a young age that it’s necessary for new growth. That’s how I can describe ‘Goddess of Destruction.’ It’s about exploring the idea that sometimes we have to destroy the thing we are trying to change about ourselves.”
The song itself is certainly fiery, built around stomping drums, shoegaze guitar licks, and Bell’s voice as she prays to Kali—the titular goddess—screaming, “I’m gonna knock it down” to the obstacles ahead. As a polished piece of aggressive pop-rock, “Goddess of Destruction” is a soaring blend of “whoa-oh, whoa-oh” harmonies and triumphantly shouty choruses. It sounds just right as you imagine setting fire to a bad couple of years to make room for a good one.