Modern Moxie are back with their first new track since the pre-COVID era. Titled “Big Wave,” the track premieres today on Queen City Nerve, and is the first single from the upcoming five-track EP Gutter Honey, expected to drop in March 2022.
Single artwork by Charlotte artist Melissa Stutts.
Gutter Honey will be the indie-rock foursome’s first release since their 2019 full-length album, Claw Your Way Out, named Best Album in Queen City Nerve’s 2019 Best in the Nest Critics’ Picks. Modern Moxie is made up of frontwoman Madison Lucas (vocals/guitar/synth), her husband Harry Kollm (bass), Phil Pucci (guitar), and Charlie Weeks (drums).
Written by Lucas just as the pandemic clamped down on our society, she describes “Big Wave” as “an anger-fueled, rip-roaring ride through all the emotions associated with political, biological and intellectual fear.”
Lucas told Queen City Nerve that — with a mom who’s a nurse, a sister who’s a teacher, a brother who is high-risk, and a dad who works in a factory — she had spent a lot of time at the beginning of the pandemic pacing around her house and yelling at the news.
“It’s hard not to write songs about [COVID-19] when it’s so top of mind,” she said. “I wrote the lyrics and chords at the very beginning of the pandemic when everything was extra fresh and visceral … I tried to channel it into music and this song came out.”
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as the song goes through troughs and crests both sonically and lyrically, including calls for the youth to rise up in the face of misinformation, miseducation and misrepresentation.
“Have you had enough / of children in handcuffs? / Time to wake up / Fuck you Trump,” Lucas sings before going back into the chorus, “Big wave / be safe / big deal / to kill.”
Despite the dark origins of the song, Lucas said it took a different meaning for the band as the songwriting process came together.
“Ironically, it ended up being the most fun song to play live,” she said. “Once we added in all of the parts, specifically Phil’s magical surf riffs, it doesn’t feel angry. It’s more about expressing whatever emotion you’re feeling freely and trying to make the best of shitty times by sticking together.”
Despite the many obstacles that come with a pandemic — the “Big Wave” recording was rescheduled four times due to COVID scares and other precautionary measures — creating Gutter Honey has been vital in giving the band members something to keep them from yelling at the news.
“It’s been a very hard time for musicians and honestly just staying together and focused as a group was the biggest part of it,” Lucas said. “Our goal is to create a sustainable life based around making music. It’s what we love to do and we can’t imagine not doing it. Being close friends with a shared goal really helps to bring all the pieces together.”
Like the other tracks from Gutter Honey, “Big Wave” was produced and recorded by Jason Scavone at Charlotte’s Sioux Sioux Studio, then mastered by Dave Harris at Studio B Mastering. Modern Moxie’s next live show is scheduled for Nov. 5 at Petra’s as part of By Their Touch: An Art Show.
UPDATE: The day this article published, Modern Moxie put the finishing touches on their “Big Wave” video, put together using footage from the band’s Queen City Streams performance in March and other random clips from the band. So we’re putting that in the story, too. Enjoy!
Read Ryan Pitkin’s 2019 interview with Madison Lucas about the formation of Modern Moxie.