Record of the Week: Gloom Girl MFG’s ‘Polycrisis’ EP

Nashville punk/garage rock quartet Gloom Girl MFG has not been a band for very long — the four songwriters and instrumentalists Paige, Connor, Ethan and Stephen converged in late 2021 and have only released a home-recorded EP thus far, last year’s Factory. But the attention they’ve attracted through high-energy live sets featuring songs like “Bougie Girl” and “Litterbug” has been wholly positive, their spread fast and furious. And counted among their enthusiastic local fan base is Cage the Elephant guitarist and producer Brad Shultz, who asked to work with Gloom Girl MFG on the band’s first official studio recording, Polycrisis, a six-song EP out May 3.

The discerning ears of Shultz helped Gloom Girl expand their iterative approach to songwriting while laying down the tunes at Nashville’s Battletapes Recording last year, in some cases changing verse to chorus or bringing the bridge to the fore. With this crucial fifth perspective, Shultz’s experience and encouragement, the bandmates pushed themselves to new styles and sounds but all while keeping the process fun.

Drummer Connor said, “Something that we learned and grew as a band in making this record was [that] if you’re just at play with each other and with the ideas that are unfolding, then you can actually compose something that’s really powerful. As long as you continue to be at play in that moment, whether you’re in session or outside a session — if you don’t turn yourself off to just trying it — then the whole palette’s there for your access and availability with one another. Going through that with Brad was like, ‘OK, don’t screw it up, given who we’re working with.’ But then we just got more comfortable with that spontaneity and that excitement together.”

Gloom Girl MFG, who previously wowed WNXP friends and fans at our first “91 Day” in September of 2023, recently visited our station to discuss the Polycrisis EP track by track. Enjoy the full thing come May 3, but snippets of songs and the band’s insights in the interview now on WNXP’s podcast channel. WNXP Presents Gloom Girl MFG’s record release show at The Basement East on May 2.

“Bougie Girl”

“I think it’s awesome that we’ve lived with that song for so long, and it’s still a joy to play,” said guitarist Ethan. “I think it’s just so awesome to give it the moment it really deserves. And it was also cool where it came from with [bass guitarist] Stephen recording it in like a garage scenario. So we got it good enough to be happy to release it. But now that we have a chance to record it in a real environment, it’s really cool to hear it with a new life. Just has a new gusto to it.

Ethan recorded parts playing a baritone guitar for the first time, on Shultz’s suggestion, so the longtime live show staple “Bougie Girl” got fleshed out instrumentally. “It’s just so wide,” Paige said about the layered guitars sound. “But besides that, the composition of the song and the energy of the song is there. I mean, there’s only one way to be a bougie girl, is give it your all.”


Stephen recalls the deconstruction and refashioning of this song in-studio, when Shultz favored the part of “Crimes” that was initially just the bridge…the part of the song “really jumping out” at him on repeat listens that he thought might actually be the hook.

“We played through the song and played through it again, and then he just has this look on his face. He’s just like, ‘What if we take the bridge, what if we make that the chorus?’ And we’re all like, you know, gears are turning. And slowly but surely he rearranges the song into what it is now, which is a lot more radio-friendly and just really vibing.”

Paige added, “We workshop songs together and I think we work tremendously well together. But if you’ve ever written a song with someone, you’re taking what’s in your brain and you’re trying to connect with something in their brain, and not all ideas make sense at first. And obviously, we’re hearing ideas from Brad. So I think everyone’s a little more excited and willing to try. But to give us all some credit — just because, why not? — he was like, let’s try this. And we all were just like, ‘OK, let’s try it.’ And we did it, and I feel like that was cool. And I want to say that maybe he liked that about us, as well, that we were able to to kind of pivot on the spot.”


This song — which Connor deems “the heart of Polycrisis” — was born from the passing of Connor’s aunt and his trip back to Boston for her funeral. His first draft lyrics then inspired a guitar riff from Paige. Stephen laid down a demo with an intro bass lick. They folded it all together at Battletapes. “When I think about the meaning of it, it’s an amalgam of all these different things, personal, societal that we just have experienced over the past year that we wanted to get off our chest…that we needed to express and pour out,” said Connor.

He elaborated on the collaborative process that yielded the final recorded version of “Damaged”: “That’s been the nice thing about writing with the band, is that everybody is open to one another. Because we have four writers in the band, we’re also accepting that, OK, whatever I’m going to bring to the table, it’s going to become something else. But that’s the point: together. It’s not going to be a Connor song or Paige song or Ethan or Stephen song. Whatever we end up pouring out of ourselves, it’s going to be interpreted in a way, musically and emotionally that will make it a collective thing.”


You might assume that this song’s catchy, jokey poke at “New Nashville” bachelorette party culture, the constant domination of Lower Broadway by the gaggles of drunken women adorned with pink cowboy hats and penis straws, is its point. But Paige insists there’s a deeper meaning that she wanted to convey through the lyrics of “Batshitlorette.” She exclaimed to Shultz, “No, this is not a joke!” and he helped her funnel her righteous anger about “ageism, sexism, this pressure to be relevant based on how you look.” She said of the song, “It’s a lot of serious things wrapped up into something that’s fun…And I want people to yell along with me because that made me feel good, so I would recommend it.”

Connor said the premise of the video shot right in the middle of the madness in downtown Nashville was, “We need to go save the Batshitlorettes with rock ‘n roll.” The band dressed the part, got reasonably intoxicated (“we’re method actors”) and had a sweaty blast of a time.

“The song itself is so absurd,” said Paige. “But the absurd part is, what, I’m going to ‘yuck the yum’ of the people coming to our city, to shit on these people for having these celebrations? Do they always do it in the right way? Is it the best thing for our town? That’s not for me to say…We’re all just people trying to have a good experience. There’s community at the end of the day if we choose to find it.”

“Firing Line”

The song on Polycrisis that sounds the most different from the blistering power-chords and growly vocals we have come to expect from Gloom Girl MFG is “Firing Line.” Connor said this personal song is about “heartbreak and loss… trying to reconcile saying goodbye to somebody while still loving them and wanting to hold on to who they are in your life and what they’ve given to you.”

The strength of Paige’s voice is showcased in a different way here, the first chance for her to “harmonize with [herself],” and with synths leading the rock ballad’s melody instead of guitars. Stephen said, “This felt a lot more intimate and required a lot more precision in the playing, and the timing of it was a lot to get down. It’s way left-field compared to ‘Bougie Girl’ or ‘Batshitlorette’ or the heavier songs. This song in particular for me was a challenge…the synth stuff and this eloquent breath to it was difficult for me.”

Shultz was an immediate fan of this one, said Connor. Hearing this initial arrangement was when the producer “kind of sunk his teeth into, ‘OK, there’s something more to what you guys are about, and there’s more depth here. So let’s go into that and let’s really pick it apart. Pick apart the song, put it back together in the studio and see what you guys can do with that emotion.'”

“I Love You”

A fitting record closer, “I Love You” also features new vocal peaks for Paige. She resurrected an old voice memo recording with “maybe 10 verses, and seven of them were bad,” to land on the three you hear in this haunting, slow-burning tune. “I’m kind of personifying love, I’m in love, I’m out of love. Without being too heady, it’s like this thing in my hand and I’m analyzing it for all of the ways it can be and exist as this fluid thing. But with all of this heady conceptualizing, I wanted it to be simple,” she said. “I picked the verses that I felt had the most to say about these different facets of love and to put them in line in a way that kind of felt like a journey.”

The emotional journey of this one song is similar to the sonic journey of the full Polycrisis EP, I remarked, which introduces listeners to the band’s expanded range. Connor agreed.

“To go from ‘Bougie Girl,’ which is a founding song for our band, and end with ‘I Love You’ is a nice ellipse of where do we go next. We want to leave this cliffhanger for our LP, which we’ve already broken ground on with Brad and Jeremy [Ferguson at Battletapes], of course. We’re excited to have [had] this experience and this process that we’ve learned as people and artists.”