London born and bred, Anna Tosh has been lending her considerable six-string skills to a varied roster of bands since she was a teenager, among them Wildhood, Love Nor Money, Hey Gravity and Shotgun Venus. But with her own collection of striking self-penned songs demanding attention, and the assistance of a red-hot rhythm section in waiting – Herman Stephens (bass) and Jeremy JayJay (drums) – Anna decided it was high time to make her mark as a solo artist.
“My intention for my solo project was simply to write some songs for myself, with no boundaries or expectations,” she says. “I was deliberately trying not to think of what anyone else might expect me to do, and chucked the idea of seeming cool out of the window.” As a musician who has turned her hand to a whole host of styles when performing with others, it was inevitable that disparate influences would shape her songwriting. “My roots are in punk, rock and blues,” says Anna, “but I have been playing and listening to hip hop, drum and bass, funk, psychedelia, dream pop, experimental electronica…” Anna’s decision to take more control over her musical output was part of a general reappraisal of her life direction following a relationship break-up. She emerged galvanised and positive, reflected in the songs that comprise her debut EP, ‘One Big Fire’, which deal with friends, lovers and an acceptance of the capriciousness of these relationships. “They come and go from one moment to the next,” says Anna. “It’s a never ending source of inspiration how weird life is.”
Anna Tosh: Edge Of Cool
Spin her radiant songs and you may feel the presence of artists of many stripes: Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, Sheryl Crow, Captain Beefheart, The Slits, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, PJ Harvey and Bowie, all linked by their quality and all key inspirations on ‘One Big Fire’. It’s a release that proves Anna to be as agile and exciting a vocalist as she is a guitarist, making us grateful that she has decided to take centre stage once again. As Anna says, “I have re-discovered my singing voice, which had lain dormant for a long time.” Good things come to those who wait.
A roaming rocker’s composite of CBGB-era new wave, West Coast anthemics and slick garage riffery, ‘Edge of Cool’ is comfortably the sum of its rousing parts. As Anna and her band dexterously play with the song’s rich ingredients, a segue into darker tones reflects the sense of unease and confusion inherent in its subject matter. “This is an elegy to a relationship that was over before it began,” says Anna. “Afterwards, the guy’s car followed me all around town for a long time, I would see it everywhere and I could not shake it. It’s about being haunted by an illusion.”
Anna Tosh: Edge Of Cool Lyrics: