Indie singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy is a collision of contrasts. Her petite frame hosts a diaphragm that belts out sandpaper-rough lyrics while her nimble fingers string along lazy blues chords. Glaspy has pieced together these opposites to create the sound of success, as evident in the wake of her first full-length album, Emotions and Math (June 2016).
The album is a conversation between Glaspy and the listener. She opens up about heartache, about being too horny to fight and about the shittiness of long-distance dating. Her voice coolly touches on these places we’ve all been, but in a way that offers a distant intimacy. She’s the lover whose code you’d never crack.
The 26-year-old moved from California to the East Coast eight years ago to attend a semester at Berklee College of Music. Soon after, she moved into the concrete groves of New York City.
“On the East Coast, because of the way the city is set up … people’s timeframes are a lot shorter,” Glaspy says. “You have to get to the point a lot quicker. You’re running on a different clock.”
Between her honey-thick guitar work and her voice’s rough edges, Glaspy has honed a sound that’s difficult to pin down. “I honestly couldn’t give you a genre to put it in,” she says. “That’s not my job description. I make music and then it gets put into lanes. I’m grateful for people listening to my music, but I couldn’t even attempt to figure out where it would fit.”
Her refusal to confine her music only does it more justice. From her snarling song “Situation” to her soft, timid single “You’re Smiling (But I Don’t Believe You),” it’s evident that Glaspy’s music thrives on fluidity.
“As of late, I’m interested in different sounds like synthesizers. I’m working on my computer a lot more right now than, y’know, my guitar,” she says. “It doesn’t really add up to a genre — it just adds up to whatever is going to come out.”
For her upcoming album, which she expects to release within a year, you can bet the young artist will continue to push boundaries and play on the apex of balance.
Margaret Glaspy plays with Liza Anne 10 pm Saturday, Aug. 19, at Hi-Fi Music Hall; $12 adv., $15 door. — Kelsey Anne Rankin