Every so often, Athens’ storied legacy as a music town reinvigorates itself by piquing the curiosity of a talented and interesting musician who’s open to hitting the road and making a new home here. Such is the case with Turtle Grenade, the solo folk project of Denise Gorrio, a Miami transplant who relocated to Athens roughly six months ago. Today, Flagpole shares a new music video for “Drummer/Plumber/Homestar Runner,” a sulky yet relatable track that will surely appeal to fans of Joanna Newsom and Kimya Dawson.
“I spent most of my life writing or making drawings, photography and videos,” says Gorrio. “I barely ever picked up any instruments even though I always heard music in my head and created vocal melodies. When I discovered the band Neutral Milk Hotel six years ago, they inspired me so much that I decided I’d try to overcome my fears and create and perform music with instruments. That’s when I picked up the guitar, and found out about Athens.”
Working alongside friends Caitlyn Riesinger (the pink cat, choreography), Gabriel Nasca (camerawork) and Jackson McLendon and Patrick Matistic (the dogs), Gorrio handled storyboarding, making and gathering props, creating paintings specifically for the music video. Though the lyrics were written from an all too familiar place of defeat and emotional numbness, the video’s whimsical costumes and playful scenarios give hope that Gorrio now finds herself on the other side and inspired once again.
“Many of my songs are essentially diary entries. I just let lyrics fall out intuitively,” says Gorrio. “I felt very hopeless during that time, like nothing could ever feel meaningful or inspiring again. I wrote the song after having gone on a trip to Portland, Oregon, somewhere that was previously a place of great inspiration. I came back still feeling dead, and that prompted the song.”
See the new music video on the big screen—and give Gorrio a warm Athens welcome—during Turtle Grenade’s upcoming show with PsychDeLea and Cookie Tongue at Flicker Theatre and Bar tomorrow, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. Turtle Grenade will return to Flicker to perform with Linqua Franqa on Saturday, Jan. 22. Gorrio is currently preparing to record a new album, and her EP Painflower can be listened to here in the meantime.
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