January 16, 2018 — “Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch

Anna Burch

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch (2018, from the forthcoming album Quit the Curse).
Anna Burch is an indie pop singer-songwriter working out of Detroit. Years ago, she was the front of a band called Failed Flowers, and she had been in other bands, but she took some time away from music to go to grad school. After that, she moved to Detroit and started a solo career. She got a big break when she was spotted by fellow Michigander Fred Thomas, who was once a member of His Name is Alive, and was also the front of the indie pop band Saturday Looks Good to Me. Thomas has also put out a few solo records and contributed to dozens of albums across many genres. As the story goes, he sent her demo to Polyvinyl Records with a note that said “This is not a drill. You need to hear this”. They liked it, and they quickly signed her. Her debut album Quit the Curse will be out on February 2.
This has all happened very quickly. Thomas sent the demos in the summer of 2017. She had a bunch of songs written, and she had also caught the ear of Collin Dupuis, who has mixed records by Angel Olsen, Mynabirds, The Black Keys, Grant-Lee Phillips, and many others. He helped her fine-tune those songs, and the end result is Quit the Curse. Only six months passed from the time Thomas said “listen to this” to the time Polyvinyl said “We’re putting this record out”. They announced the signing in late October and started promoting the album in November. I’ve been getting emails about a couple of the songs, and with the release date just a couple of weeks away, it’s time.
Some say she sounds like the brilliant no-fucks-given mid-90s indie rock of Liz Phair. Some people say she’s like Courtney Barnett. I get that, but I hear other things like the precision, power and punk-lite beauty of That Dog combined with the gritty and angular but silky smoothness of Julie Doiron. Boil all of that down, add a dash of Mitski, and I get Anna Burch. I love all of her songs that I’ve heard, but I love this one the most:
“Tea-Soaked Letter” by Anna Burch

I love it. And I love that it’s just a song about raw emotion. It’s not about romance and all that stuff: it’s about sex. Or wanting someone really badly. There’s one bit about not playing the game of trying to be wooed

I forgot to fake
the way that I was feeling
I guess it’s too late
All my cards are showing

and then the other bit about again accidentally-on purpose putting the ball in her own court:

No you can’t come up
Who am I kidding.. I would drag you up

But then there’s the bit where the other person might not feel the same:

What was that you said
That I don’t exist inside your head


There’s also some line about making a fool of herself in the interest of getting with this person. It may be to no avail, but she takes it in stride:

So I made a scene
I can think of things more embarrassing

Of course she really lays it on the line at the end:

You’re all I wanted
You’re all I wanted

Everyone understands these kinds of emotions. Everyone –well, mostly everyone– has given their unrequited love before. It sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. See also: “Your Best American Girl”.

There’s also a video of the song, and the video is another thing that makes me think of Julie Doiron.

Quit the Curse will be out on February 2, and you can pre-order it via Polyvinyl here. There’s a cool “pink/white starburst” vinyl in a limited run of 300 as well as a green vinyl, cd, cassette, and digital versions.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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