The Pandemic has sucked. The Pandemic continues to suck.
But some artists have pushed and made and made-do and somehow even toured while underground circumstances were and continue to be far from ideal.
Therefore, I’ve just got to praise Bella Hayes. They have held it down like Lil’ Wayne in 2008 while the underground flickered and convulsed, expanded and contracted.
I first met Bella Hayes at a house party before the 2020 convulsions began. In conversation, it became clear that they were connected with the folks I knew and have run with for decades. Bella was a recipient of the folklore and kitchen midden that passes along from punk house to basement show, from zine to zine. A moment of great delight for me occurred when Bella saw the reunited Double Dagger play at Current Space in 2021; their ecstatic wordless joy at this first time allowed my jaded show-goers’ heart to grow three sizes that day.
It has been a great privilege to watch Bella’s musical work grow and expand, sometimes in collaboration, sometimes solo. Flute, vocals, and electronics coalesce in various ways, sometimes dreamily, sometimes with a colder, harder edge. Their most recent release via the Scenic Highway Supermix offers a snapshot of where the artist found themselves recently, a journey still continuing.
As Emerson put it to Whitman, I greet Bella “at the beginning of a great career, which yet must have had a long foreground somewhere, for such a start.” Great work completed, great things to come. Via their “gloom duo” Tear Sponsor, a new cassette comes with the new year. As Bella well knows, I will be making a beeline to the merch table to see what’s next. They are why I set up a Venmo, after all; old dogs, new tricks, and all of that.
Although I can never repay the debt I owe Bella and company for keeping things going at a great and serious cost in a chaotic time, I can continue to cheer for all those willing to take the chances to continue singing the song I heard long ago and continue to hear. Fearfully and wonderfully, we will all continue pressing forward.