Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album

Allye Gaietto promo photo portrait
Allye Gaietto revisits her past self on “Hoping for More.” Photo – Rolando Ybarra

Allye Gaietto candidly shares an internal monologue with her younger self.

The Detroit indie folk-pop singer-songwriter and pianist reconciles past expectations, relationships and interactions on her perceptive new album, Hoping for More, which drops Aug. 26.

“It’s so much discovering of who you are, what your beliefs are and where you stand on all sorts of different things. I think, for a lot of us, our identity is about who’s around us and how we interact with people and how they see us,” said Gaietto about previous life experiences in her early 20s.

“I think for this record there are a lot of things … like I had my first serious relationship and then got dumped for the first time, and that’s one of the songs on the album. That was huge for me.”

With Hoping for More, Gaietto provides a huge release of deeply buried emotions that still feel tender and raw. Whether encountering relief, heartache or courage, she beautifully documents those experiences through contemplative lyrics, haunting melodies and lush instrumentation.

“It’s this funny contrast of me trying to reconcile like, ‘What do you think about me? What do I think about you? How do we feel about each other?’ with friendships, romantic relationships and parent relationships,” said Gaietto, who also released the single, “I Guess I Don’t,” earlier this year.

“After the album was finished, the new stuff I’ve been writing … sometimes I have to put myself back in that early 20s, new relationship mindset because it’s a goldmine for feelings and content.”

Hoping for More

Gaietto shares a “goldmine” of Hoping for More stories across 10 vulnerable, fluid tracks – some of which date back nearly decade and serve as her first new material since 2016’s Some Kind of Heaven.

One of the album’s newer tracks, “Normal Stuff,” reveals the unspoken challenges of maintaining daily habits, such as an exercise regimen or regular household chores.

Determined piano, fearless drums, smashing cymbals, pensive electric guitar and pulsating bass provide encouragement as she sings, “Look straight in the mirror/Unsure exactly who I see/She looks so familiar/At first glance, kinda like me.”

“It’s a song mostly about unsolicited advice and also about trying to figure out my next steps with this thing that I can’t always figure out about myself,” said Gaietto, who wrote the track in 2017.

“Honestly, in life sometimes, it’s hard for me to just do the day-to-day life things, like making sure that my dishes are all done, or that I’m up to date with laundry. At the same time, when I’m not doing my laundry, I’m off in a daydream land coming up with songs.”

One of those daydream land adventures includes the peppy, automotive-fueled track, “Backseat.” A frenzy of bustling electric guitars, bouncy bass, pounding drums, ricocheting cymbals and whirring synth transport Gaietto into the driver’s seat of life.

She sings, “Aiming for less, but hoping for more/In the rhythm of the wheels/It brings out all I refuse to feel.”

“In high school, you have some of the most monumental conversations in cars because it’s not like you have your own place to go and talk,” said Gaietto, whose album title comes from a lyric in “Backseat.”

“I was able to process a lot of big emotional life events with my friends in their cars because that was the only place where we really had privacy.”

Gaietto also extends “Backseat” to canine companions in the breezy lyric video. Different breeds inhale the excitement of the open road alongside spirited instrumentation and charged vocals.

“My dream was to get a bunch of videos of people’s dogs that are just hanging out of car windows and just string them all together,” she said with a laugh. “It’s the best video of all time.”

After relishing car rides with humans and dogs, Gaietto searches for a romantic escape route on “Out of This” as vibrant piano, steady drums, shimmery cymbals, confident bass and optimistic electric guitar steer her to safety.

She sings, “Each day a new wall closes in/You start to convince me/The lights dim on their own/And I feel myself getting sicker/Every time they flicker/I dull my own glow.”

“I’ve written a lot of songs about my friends’ relationships and being concerned about them and what things could look like. I’ve had a couple of friends be in relationships where I’ve been like, ‘I don’t like this partner for you. I don’t know what that’s about. They’re not good to you all the time,’ Gaietto said.

“I’m definitely trying to figure out how to talk to somebody about that, too. Sometimes it helps to try to be inside the mind of the person to piece together how you could talk to someone.”

Great Expectations

Hoping for More
Allye Gaietto’s “Hoping for More” addresses deep emotions that still feel tender and raw. Artwork – Steven Shik

To bring her Hoping for More stories to life, Gaietto worked with Detroit producer-engineer Maurice “Pirahnahead” Herd at Royal Oak’s Rust Belt Studios in late 2019 and early 2020. She initially approached him about adding strings to several songs, but it quickly grew into a full-album partnership.

“We had this momentum, and things were rolling forward,” Gaietto said. “Pirahna was really good at gassing you up, and he was like, ‘This is incredible. This is all genius. We’re gonna do all these things.”

Together, they assembled a talented roster of collaborators, including Jake Halkey (engineer), Jonathon Hackett (guitar, bass), Phil Keller (guitar), Paul Hilton (pedal steel), Chris Codish (organ), Ron Otis (drums), Will Daniels (drums), Steve Stetson (drums) and Soulchestra (strings), to solidify Gaietto’s expansive sound.

“In November 2019, we chunked off a week to go into the studio … and we recorded a little bit more in January 2020,” Gaietto said. “We did the last bit of overdubbing in March 2020, and it was mid-March where we hit the last note, and then days later, everything shut down.”

Once the pandemic hit, Gaietto sent Hoping for More’s tracks to Andy Thompson remotely for mixing. He previously mixed her Some Kind of Heaven debut EP and served as her professor at the defunct McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

“There’s something about Andy; he’s an incredible musician in a way that I cannot describe. He plays all the instruments, and his ear is impeccable,” Gaietto said. “He just knows what things are supposed to be like in a way that I can’t fathom. Some of the songs I wrote when I was studying under him.”

Gaietto also enlisted Bill Skibbe at Detroit’s Third Man Mastering to master Hoping for More.

“I was supposed to have a Zoom meeting with him to talk over the basics for about half an hour, but we were on Zoom for several hours talking about music and the record,” she said. “He just had a bunch of ideas.”

With Hoping for More hitting streaming platforms Friday, Gaietto will celebrate the album’s release with an Aug. 27 Audiotree Presents show at Otus Supply in Ferndale. toughie, Pia and White Bee will open the show.

“My last (indoor) show before the pandemic was in February 2020 … I really miss playing shows and carving my heart out,” Gaietto said. “It’s been a minute since having that feeling … that rush and then the big crash when you get home at the end of the night.”

After Saturday’s show, Gaietto will continue writing new material for her next release, which will feature a collaboration Elise McCoy, a Ferndale producer and Century Babes vocalist-bassist.

“I wrote some songs during the pandemic, and I’m doing an EP with her right now,” she said. “There’s obviously been a ton of growth, but I think it’s also interesting to look back at the through line of the core self and the things that have always made me ‘me’ and continue to make me ‘me.’”

Show details:

Audiotree Presents Allye Gaietto with toughie, Pia and White Bee

Saturday, Aug. 27 | 7 p.m.

Otus Supply, 345 E. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale

Tickets: $13 advance/$15 door

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