Stella and the Very Messed began as an idea spat from the imaginations of Stella Maxwell and Dave Hawkins, former members of Austin, TX based pop-rock band, Cruiserweight (Doghouse Records). While the band retains some key elements of their former band’s sound-- quick and to-the-point rock ‘n’ roll executed with high energy and painfully hooky melodies-- this new project also ventures into new territory, experimenting with more complex instrumentation and arrangements.
After a year of fleshing out ideas and recording demos in 2018-19, Maxwell and Hawkins recruited Chris Nine (Karaoke Apocalypse, Manhole) and Donnie Adkinson (The Letters Organize, Whores) to record their debut full-length album. On Fences was released in January 2020, and the band fortified their live sound with new members Nik Snell (The Cutaway) and Sam Rich (Black Books, Broken Gold, The Del-Vipers). Beloved Austin radio station, KUTX picked up the first track, “The Mightiest/Writiest Pen” and put it in their regular rotation for a few months, which solidified the band’s stature in Austin.
Stella and Very Messed’s second release, Marigold was slowly pieced together during the pandemic, and was finally released in May of 2021. The songs are heartbreakingly personal and feature hand-on-your-shoulder harmonies balanced against familiar melodies. The EP is a subtle departure from their debut album, with the band trading some of their loudness for a little bit of… quietness, hardness for softness, sourness for sweetness and of course, uppercuts for kisses on the hand. Go listen if you don’t believe me.
When new parenthood forced Stella and the Very Messed into a dormant state for most of 2022, the band made a blood-pact in 2023 that they’d never allow the love of a child to dampen their many plans ever again. Once that matter was settled, the band recruited Adrian Sebastian Haynes (Major Major Major, Josie Lockhart) on guitar and got to work. Under the guidance of true wizzes Walker Lukens and Adam Mason at Paradise Lunch (“Merchandiser”) and Kevin Butler at Test Tube Audio (“Crystal Ball”) Stella and the Very Messed once again shifted, with their two-song single showcasing pop undertones and let’s be honest here, overtones. Their next release, Crystal Ball/Merchandiser will be released on October 6th.
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