Listening to L7's angry fuzz in the ’90s, who would’ve thought all frontwoman Donita Sparks really wanted to do was dance, dance, dance?
Yet that’s the impression she gives on her solo debut, “Transmiticate,” with new band The Stellar Moments.
“I’ve always liked good pop and dance music,” Sparks says in explaining her artistic transformation. “There’s more of that sprinkled in here for sure.”
It’s immediately noticeable on the bombinating swing of opener “Fly Feather Fly” and is repeated on tracks like “Headcheck” and “He’s Got the Honey” — all causes for bodily grooves. “Dare Dare” might be the most experimental song on the disc with its quirky vocal styling. And while “Infancy of a Disaster” and “Need to Numb” sound like vintage L7, “My Skin’s Too Thin,” “Creampuff” and “Take a Few Steps” all showcase Sparks’ low-key side.
“If I had my druthers I would have it more electronica,” she says. “But this is kind of a nice segue.”
That doesn’t mean Sparks wrote “Transmiticate” with any fear of alienating L7's fan base. It was an effort to fulfill her own needs.
“I didn’t want to write from an angry place on this record,” Sparks says, contrasting her solo work with L7's. “I wanted it to be a bit more elevated. The whole process was pretty spiritual for me. With L7 going on indefinite hiatus, I had a bit of an identity crisis. But then I started to figure out who I was.”
There’s still the matter of finding an audience and not just resting on her laurels. Now label-less and truly independent, Sparks formed the Coalition of Artists and Stake Holders (CASH) with fellow musician Kristin Hersh.
“We both share a lot of similar experiences,” Sparks says. “We figured we could join forces, along with hopefully soon other artists, to create a stable of artists kind of like how a record company would have, only sharing resources and turning each other’s fans on to each other.”
It’s ultimately about preservation and finding new ways to achieve that in the industry’s ever-changing tides. One example is offering their music through a some-rights-reserved platform. CASH is encouraging fans to create their own mixes of the music and giving them a place to post it.
“We’re hoping, in exchange, they’re going to be into it and want to help sustain the music,” Sparks says.