A full-time music business student at Boston’s Northeastern University, Gish has been self-releasing her sharp, winding indie pop online since 2015, slowly gaining fandom and critical attention along the way. As the music industry continues to experience a seismic sea change as things shift digital, Gish has managed to make her catchy melodies stick, thanks to her knack for production tricks that act as an alluring window display into an even richer catalog of tunes.
That Gish’s records are a one-woman show make the offerings all the more commanding. Deploying guitars, various percussion, and even melodicas, her work is layered despite the DIY approach you might be quick to leverage.
Like her debut record Ed Buys Houses, Gish’s sophomore effort, No Dogs Allowed is chock full of clever turn of phrases and lively arrangements, anchored by humorous samples and field recordings. Everything from old recordings of teaching parakeets to talk to bubbling sound effects color the record. Gish is like the chronically self-aware friend that is just a little too precocious and high-strung, but will find her way out of the rabbit hole without a scratch. Her eccentric embellishments aren’t distractions, they’re pillars hoisting her up.
No Dogs Allowed is a breeze of a listen, with its tracks arranged like contained vignettes of a solitary, articulate mind. It’s fitting that one of her early songs is named “Midnight Jingle,” because much of her work sounds like personal advertisements, only with more bite than artifice.
An artist with a knack for turning insecurities into an eye roll and beaming laughter is certainly one to hang onto, and Gish’s charm will be what continues to endure her to new audiences. She may question the best way to live life on songs like “Impostor Syndrome,” but in that maddening self-analysis, she sketches an outline of a map for the rest of us to get our bearings.
Sidney Gish, Nightjar, Julia Shapiro
August 6, 2019