Premiere: Bruiser Queen Is Feeling “Sugar High” On Life

Garage rock isn’t for everyone, but electric dancing and head banging is – or at least it should be in my opinion. Personally, I find garage rock intriguing, angsty, endearing, and always utterly authentic. St. Louis natives Bruiser Queen take the gritty energy of garage rock and fuse it with airy vocals and underlying pop tones to craft a musical ice cream sundae. As you’ll later see from the interview below, Morgan Nusbaum, the lead singer and guitarist for Bruiser Queen, mentions how their sound feels accessible to people who normally wouldn’t gravitate towards garage rock, and I totally agree. Bruiser Queen bring the fresh, fun, and authentic (like I mentioned before) sides of their personalities directly into the music they make.

Listen: “Sugar High” – Bruiser Queen

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Sugar High,” Bruiser Queen’s single in preparation for their album Heavy High due to drop later this fall. Singer/guitarist Morgan Nusbaum and drummer Jason Potter met back in 2010 and formed the quirky duo now known as Bruiser Queen. “Sugar High” features candy-centric imagery and a lighthearted attitude towards life.

Sugar coat that bad news honey
It’s ok we don’t got money
Who needs the “good life” when you’re living your fantasy
Times are hard, don’t back down baby
Cause we’ll always be so happy!

The song takes the “keep on keepin’ on” attitude about turning your fantasies into realities and worrying about the details later. It feels reminiscent of childhood thinking and the sugary metaphors only perpetuate that train of thought. “Sugar High” feels like your inner-child reminding you that all the adult worries will work themselves out; your adult-self should embrace the beauty of life for what it’s worth one day at a time.

Save tears for rainy days, the wait’s the hardest part
Stay sweet for heaven sakes, you’re sugar high straight to the heart!

Bruiser Queen encourages you to ride the “sugar high” of your life over rock-leaning guitar strums and a high energy, rhythmic drum beat. It’s powerful, flowery, grungey, and more contradictory adjectives you can think of, but that’s what makes “Sugar High” quintessentially Bruiser Queen. A few weeks ago, we got the chance to speak with Morgan, one half of Bruiser Queen, about “Sugar High,” the new album, and zombie apocalypses.

Bruiser Queen (c) 2017

MEET BRUISER QUEEN

Atwood Magazine: Today we’re premiering “Sugar High.” Where did the metaphors come from? It feels girly, but punky and flowery and grungey.

Morgan Nusbaum: At the core of it, it’s just trying to stay positive as a struggling musician. I quit a job making really good money to pursue the musician dream – to be able to go on tour and to have that flexibility. It’s like you’re poor and eating ramen noodles, but you’re able to tour the country, play shows, and do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. You’re struggling but all of these moments create this “sugar high” for you. They make it worth it.

I love where that came from for you guys because I don't think I would've recognized that solely based off the lyrics. It can relate to a lot of things - that 'sugar high' off anything.

Morgan: Yeah, definitely.

So y’all are gearing up for an album release? How does that feel?

Morgan: This album has actually be done for awhile now, we’ve just been trying to find a record label to put it out. We’ve also gone through a few different things in the past year. I auditioned for a very popular singing tv show and made it through a couple rounds. We almost didn’t know where our band life stood last year because of that so we pushed the record back. We’re super excited though! We’re releasing it ourselves this November.

What singing show we're you on?

Morgan: I can’t talk about it actually! laughs Since I didn’t end up making it on there, I had to sign a confidentiality waiver.

Haha! I assumed when you didn't say originally that might be the case, but no harm in asking. Back to the album Heavy High, I saw the album artwork and it's really cool. Is that a rollercoaster? What was the idea behind it?

Morgan: We were playing this festival in Iowa and the next day as we were driving around we found a random carnival going on. We stopped and Jason got his camera out just shooting random things. He wasn’t going for anything in particular, but that was one of the photos he took. As soon as I saw it I laughed and said, “That’s our album cover.” It just fit perfectly.

Bruiser Queen – Heavy High

It's really cool. The colors are beautiful and it's up in the air which parallels the heavy high album title. What song are you looking most forward to releasing and why?

Morgan: One of the songs that means a lot to me is the last song on the album called Wanderlust. It’s about touring, living tour life, and being able to live your dream. If you just stay at home, you don’t really see the world or gain all the perspectives from different people and different cities. You get stuck in your hometown mentality. It’s just so rewarding and enlightening to be able to see all these different perspectives of life and the emotional aspect of that.

So y'all are originally from St. Louis. How is the garage rock scene there? Do you draw influences from your hometown or more from bands outside the local scene?

Morgan: We’re very few here. There’s an Americana scene here, but not too much rock n’ roll. When Jason and I first started working together he brought me a lot of influences from Memphis, Nashville, and all over like Best Coast and Wavves. We evolved as we went.

Do you think that's a strength for you guys being in a city who's music influences are so different from the music that you're making?

Morgan: I think it makes us stand out a little more because we are an anomaly in town. I also think our music goes beyond genre a little bit because we are more poppy. It’s a more straightforward garage pop rock n’ roll sound that’s more accessible to people.

Watch: “Have Fun” – Bruiser Queen

Also we hear that there are a long stretch of Bruiser Queen tour dates coming up quickly. Are you going anywhere that you've never been? Where are you most excited to go?

Morgan: We’re super excited for this tour. It’s the longest tour we’ve ever done. It’s about 6 weeks and it’s all over the country. We have our first show in Atlanta which I’m really excited about.

So I just have a few more questions. What’s one item you would save during a zombie apocalypse?

Morgan: My first thought was my guitar, a Jaguar HH. I love it so much and I would definitely take my guitar.

That's a great answer because it does have to be something you can take on the road. It's the hidden dimension of that question. Now, tell us something nobody knows about you.

Morgan: I have a weird obsession with tequila right now? I like the taste.

You actually like the taste of it? That is new. *laughs* Finally, I know that you love fun hair colors so what’s the next color you’re dying your hair?

Morgan: Well right now I’m really digging the darker green and yellow green that I have right now. I am planning to change it before St. Patrick’s Day, but we’ll see. I always like to have a color scheme so I’m thinking blue or purple. You gotta follow the color wheel so you don’t fry your hair.

Well thank you so much for speaking with us today Morgan. Good luck on the album release and the tour.

Morgan: Thank you so much for interviewing me!

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:: Listen to Bruiser Queen ::

:: Bruiser Queen Tour ::

9/28 Hot Springs, AR – Maxine’s
9/29 Tulsa, OK – Unit D
9/30 Austin, TX – Beerland
10/4 Tallahassee, FL – 926 Bar
10/5 Atlanta, GA – Star Bar
10/6 Charlotte, NC – The Milestone
10/8 Raleigh, NC – The Pour House
10/10 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Neck Tie
10/11 Long Branch, NJ – The Brighton Bar
10/12 New York, NY – Berlin
10/16 Chicago, IL – Reggie’s Music Joint
10/17 Des Moines, IA – Lefty’s Live Music
10/19 Denver, CO – Streets of London
10/20 Salt Lake City, UT – The Loading Dock
10/21 Boise, ID – Neurolux
10/23 Seattle, WA – Funhouse
10/26 Redding, CA – The Dip
10/27 Sacramento, CA – Blue Lamp
10/29 Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar
10/31 West Hollywood, CA – Viper Room
11/1 Phoenix, AZ – Chopper Johns
11/3 San Angelo, TX – The Deadhorse
11/4 Dallas, TX – Prophet Bar

Baylee is an aspiring music journalist who currently contributes to Atwood Magazine, EARMILK, and the I Love Memphis Blog. A native (and proud) Memphian, she spends most of her time waiting for the next Bonnaroo, quoting School of Rock, and late night ordering Domino's cheesy bread. Follow me on Twitter for comments on the juiciest releases, climate change, and general revelry.