Athens-based Honeypuppy is set to release its EP Nymphet across all streaming services tomorrow, January 24th, 2024. At Vinyl Mag, I had the opportunity to chat with lead vocalist and guitarist Josie Callahan and bassist Adam Wayton for an early listen to their soaring new record to discuss each track.
The title Nymphet, meaning ‘a sexually attractive girl or young woman’, comes from the EP’s pointed musings on girlhood and youth. Callahan observes “It can be very pretty and sweet but also something that could make you go crazy, just being a girl in general. It’s exhausting.” Equally inspired by Callahan’s time as a preschool teacher, she molds her experiences into meditative lyrics over punky, poppy music.
Vinyl Mag readers can get an exclusive early listen to the EP right here at this link. Read below for a track-by-track breakdown of each song.
“Penny Press”, inspired by the Penny Press/Dell puzzles magazine, was the very first song the band recorded together. The inspiration came to Callahan while she worked on a crossword puzzle, weaving in an old nursery rhyme her grandmother used to sing to her when she was young called “There Was A Girl With A Little Curl” that goes ”When she was good she was very very very good / When she was bad she was horrid”.
Included in the EP, is the demo recording of “Penny Press”, originally recorded for a class project in fall of 2020. The demo features a light surf rock tone, with the final recording shifting into an edgier vibe with harsher guitars and more muted vocals.
For “Suck Up”, Callahan came up with the lyrics “pass me the tape and pass me the glue / I’m gonna stick stick stick myself to you” while doing arts and crafts with her students. It chronicles the familiar feeling of having a crush and assuming the worst—that they don’t return your affections. To her the song sounds like when you “want someone to like you back but in a forced way almost”. Wayton remarks that song heavily drew from punk rock influences. And obviously, nothing says teen angst and trepidation better than punk rock.
Thrum A Thread
“Thrum A Thread” draws heavy inspiration and verbiage from Robert Herrick’s 17th-century poem “Upon Some Woman”. The imagery in the song paints the picture of a woman stitched together like a rag doll. Callahan and Wayton reflect on the technical difficulty of recording this song, which required two separate click tracks with the two versions needing to be stitched together in the studio. Towards the end of the song, the pace picks up for a bridge, eventually slowing back down to the original rhythm with a drawl, singing the final line “Would it kill you to be a little bit meaner to me?”
The title track was the first song Callahan wrote for the record, reflecting on “a situation when someone is infatuated by somebody older.” The song’s tone is overall quite creepy. She says of her six-year-old self “I remember having a crush on one of my dad’s band mates,” reflecting on the humor of the situation now. Her favorite line “You’re a tooth and I’m a fairy” draws upon a very literal image of her coming back from ballet in a fairy costume and seeing her dad’s band in practice.
There’s a stark contrast between the demo recording and the final piece. The demo recording featured at the end of the EP is a raw and unfiltered piece. Callahan decided to put it on the EP, admiring the imperfection of the amateur recording with quirks like the kitchen timer used as a metronome.
In “Kerosene”, Callahan once again turns to a dark subject matter but with an inclination towards humor and unserious whimsy. The song came from a riff Wayton originally wrote for Telemarket, another Athens band he also plays with. He decided to give it to Callahan for the record because “it seemed like a cool fit and I knew we were trying to do another high-energy song.” As a true-crime girlie, Callahan had the idea to write a song about the MacDonald triad, an alleged phenomenon that bed-wetting, animal cruelty, and lighting fires in adolescence are indicative of a potential for violent, serial crimes in the future.
Honeypuppy works alongside Indecent Artistry, a recent Athens upstart and boutique label services provider, to release Nymphet alongside a limited edition run of tapes and a brief southeast tour at the end of January. You can catch them here:
1.24.24 – Athens, GA EP release show @ World Famous w/ Sunset Honor Unit, Neat Freak
1.25.24 – Nashville, TN @ Springwater Lounge w/ Zook, Iven, Fresh Air 4
1.26.24 – Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light w/ Lucy Abernathy, Jorden Albright
1.27.24 – Chattanooga, TN @ JJ’s Bohemia w/ Sun Bleach, Landis Zehrung, Catherine Campbell
Buket is recent graduate of the University of Georgia (Music Business Alum) and the current Editor-in-Chief of Vinyl Mag. She believes that a sincere lover of music can find something to like in just about any song. She loves to write to escape the grueling drudgery of capitalism. She is currently on a gap year abroad, spending her free time drumming up new ideas for Vinyl Mag and trying to beat her previous Spotify Wrapped "My Minutes Listened" record.