Budding indie darling Blondshell, aka Sabrina Teitelbaum, brought a transformative and sobering performance to Doug Fir Lounge Monday night. While she currently lives in Los Angeles, she began her set by declaring her love for Portland and her desire to move to the Rose City one day.
With only three released singles, Blondshell has already taken the world of indie rock by storm, unleashing explosively intimate lyrics that offer a glimpse into the life of a 20-something trying to navigate sobriety, relationships and sex. “I wanna save myself, you’re part of my addiction/I just keep you in the kitchen while I burn,” she sings in her first single, “Olympus” (which was released in June of this year and has already received rave reviews from major publications like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone).
Teitelbaum is no stranger to fame. She used to produce alternative pop music under the stage name Baum, releasing major hits like “Fuckboy” and “Hot Water.” While her previous catchy lyrics are a far cry from her current stripped-down sound, she maintains the same themes throughout her discography, questioning the differences among love, lust and addiction. Even her latest music video for single “Sepsis” looks to be a self-referential sequel to her previous music video “Bad Kid,” complete with Super 8 light leaks and home video-style footage.
From her burst of bleached curls to her platform leather shoes, Blondshell looks like the cool girl next door from head to toe. Her stage presence resembles a stoned high schooler dancing alone to their dad’s vinyl record collection, complemented further by her vintage Rod Stewart tee and black denim.
As for her lyrics, they embody a stream of consciousness that meanders through vulnerability and honesty without a hint of resistance (“I think my kink is when you tell me that you think I’m pretty,” she sings in “Kiss City”), sung with a gentle yet raw timbre boldly contrasted against her liberated movements across the stage.
Against the mellow backdrop of Doug Fir and a small devoted crowd, she played several unreleased songs, including “Veronica Mars” and “Joiner.” She closed out her set with “Kiss City,” telling the crowd that while the song was originally about L.A., she is tempted to make Portland the new Kiss City.
At the merchandise booth after the show, I met several newfound fans with a similar appetite for more music from the soon-to-be star. Only time will tell how long it will be before Portland sees another Blondshell performance, but hopefully her love for Powell’s Books and stickered Hydro Flasks will bring her back to our city sooner than later.