Petal’s “Stardust” Is a Raw Indie Rock Resolution

Petal’s “Stardust” Is a Raw Indie Rock Resolution

On June 15, Kiley Lotz, who makes music under the moniker Petal, will release her second album, Magic Gone. It’s a special record, the defining quality of which is that it does not just present the listener with emotions, but feels them itself, deeply and fully, in real time, arriving at a place of peace and realisation in the end. Because I’m emo (who fucking cares), it’s a listen I’ve returned to a lot recently.

Threaded through by Lotz’s powerhouse vocal and some huge, full band choruses, she describes the music on Magic Gone as “more honest” than her previous work (which includes her excellent debut LP, Shame, released in 2015). Over email, she tells me that “Taking some time away from touring and focusing on my health and coming out, allowed me to open up my songwriting—I was ready to sing and really practice.”

It really shows: Magic Gone feels like Petal operating at full capacity and capability, and one of its highlights is “Stardust,” which is the final song to be released ahead of the album in full, and which Noisey is premiering here—listen below.

For Lotz, “Stardust is the resolution of the record. It’s about coming to terms with the end of a relationship and the things that went wrong, but knowing you wouldn’t change a thing and that you’ll always love and cherish the time you had with that person, and the growth that got you to where you both are now,” she tells me. “It hurts thinking ‘maybe this’ or ‘what if,’ but at the end of it, it was worth it because that love was real and lead to both people growing. All the pain in growing lead me to finding peace with myself and accepting the ways I still have to go.”

I think that’s a process that most people go through at some point in their lives, though few of them make it sound quite as good as Lotz is able to. Opening with a simple—if slightly offbeat—piano riff, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was regular balladeering territory, but that would not be very Petal. About half way through, bouldering percussion kicks in and turns things from zero to rockstar very quickly, as Lotz outlines the breakup that forms the emotional centre of Magic Gone (one wistful lyric, delivered with guts: “Maybe we’d make good parents.”)

One of the most outstanding features of the track, and of the Petal project in general, is Lotz’s vocal, so loaded with feeling. I wonder, has singing always provided an outlet? “I’ve always loved to sing,” Lotz says. “I started writing songs when I was very young. And singing was always something that made me feel really happy. I think singing in church, and also having a background in theatre, allowed me to learn how to find different dynamics in my voice.”

Listening to “Stardust” it’s clear that Lotz has mastered her singing voice as an emotional instrument: she’s able to supply enough raw power to light a stadium before dialling it back down to a vulnerable whisper, sometimes within seconds. It’s a rare versatility to possess, and she cites some influences who encouraged her to experiment: “My parents always were playing really wonderful singers for me: David Byrne, Whitney Houston, Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin, Warren Zevon, all had such amazing and unique voices and that made me really curious about what I could do with mine.”

Quite honestly, it seems as though there’s basically no limit to what Lotz can accomplish, both as a singer, an instrumentalist, and a songwriter, especially now she’s made the leaps necessary for making a record as emotionally complex and, at times, difficult, as Magic Gone. When I tell her how much growth I observe on the record, she gives me the sort of answer that only a person who has stretched themselves in probably every way can provide. She sounds confident, and sure, and grateful for everything it took to get her to the place she’s at now: “I do feel more confident not only in my musical abilities but also more sure of myself as a person. I think any sort of large change or personal growth can expand your creativity.” It’s this optimism that shines through Magic Gone. Let it beam down on your skin.

Petal tours the US and Europe throughout 2018:

June 20 – Philadelphia, PA – Philamoca^
June 21 – Philadelphia, PA – Philamoca*
June 22 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class*
June 23 – Lansing, MI – Three Stacks Festival*
June 24 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen*
June 26 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry*
June 27 – Madison, WI – High Noon Entry*
29 June – Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre*
June 30 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court*
July 2 – Seattle, WA – The Vera Project*
July 3 – Portland, OR – Holocene*
July 5 – San Francisco, CA – The Rickshaw Shop~
July 6 – Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Theatre~
July 7 – Santa Ana, CA – Constellation Room~
July 8 – La Jolla, CA – Che Café~
July 9 – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge~
July 11 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada~
July 12 – Austin, TX – Barracude~
July 13 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall~
July 15 – Orlando, FL – Soundbar~
July 16 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade~
July 17 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle Back Room~
July 18 – Washington, DC – DC9~
July 19 – Asbury Park, NJ – House of Independents~
July 20 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom~
July 21 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair~
October 29 – Cologne, DE – Studio 672
October 30 – Hamburg, DE – Turmzimmer
October 31 – Berlin, DE – Musik & Frieden
November 2 – Haldern, DE – Haldern Pop Bar
November 3 – Brussels, BE – AB Salon
November 6 – Brighton, UK – Hope & Ruin
November 7 – London, UK – The Islington
November 9 – Bristol, UK – Crofters
November 11 – Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds
November 12 – Manchester, UK – Gullivers
November 13 – Leeds, UK – Oporto
November 14 – Glasgow, UK – Hug & Pint

^ = Slingshot Dakota in support
* = Oceanator in support
~ = Sidney Gish in support

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This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.