A high-octane gut-punch full of fierce punk energy and fiery pop passion, Daisy Grenade’s ‘Cult Classic’ insists upon itself through catchy songwriting, irresistible melodies, and emotionally charged performances that firmly establish Dani Nigro and Keaton Whittaker at the front of the pack, leading the next generation of pop punk stars-to-be.
for fans of Paramore, Fall Out Boy, PVRIS
Stream: “Are You Scared of Me Yet?” – Daisy Grenade
That poison apple brought me back to life…
When we first met Daisy Grenade, they were dwelling in the glorious depths of their Sophomore Slump – an instantly memorable debut EP bursting with infectious edge and radiant, over-the-top EMOtion.
The Brooklyn pop punk duo were stars from the start, and they’ve both reinforced and doubled down on that undeniable, inevitable truth with a searing sophomore EP that hits twice as hard: A high-octane gut-punch full of fierce punk energy and fiery pop passion, Cult Classic insists upon itself through catchy songwriting, irresistible melodies, and emotionally charged performances that firmly establish Daisy Grenade at the front of the pack, leading the next generation of pop punk stars-to-be.
So pretty and so clean, like a work of art
Call it a teenage dream, but I live it in the dark
I’m sipping kerosene, waiting for a spark
I blow my life to bits
And then I wonder why it’s hard
Gonna have a fit,
throw a tantrum,
make you deal with it
Pull another stitch
I’m a bitch, but you love it
Honey, you got no idea
It’s pretty f*ing bad in here
Break your heart like plastic,
– “Are You Scared of Me Yet?” Daisy Grenade
Released June 23, 2023 via Fueled By Ramen and executive produced by none other than Pete Wentz, the emo prince himself, Cult Classic feels prophetic: An unrelenting, unapologetic powerhouse of sweltering sound and cathartic reckoning, Daisy Grenade’s second record invites listeners to join them in the depths of a seven-song fever dream.
Already one of Atwood Magazine‘s artists to watch, the Brooklyn-based duo of Dani Nigro and Keaton Whittaker set a high bar with last year’s cheekily titled Sophomore Slump, “sporting a ‘manic pixie dream tumblr girl’ aesthetic that translates into combustible, eruptive songs full of both unfiltered punk spirit and raw lyrical and sonic vulnerability,” as we wrote in our artist feature.
Working with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, who plays the role of both mentor and executive producer, Nigro and Whittaker offer a refreshing bright spark on the alternative landscape. (In their own words, the pair say Wentz helped turn “their glittering angst into sickeningly catchy, morbidly worded bubblegrunge bops that are dripping out of a saccharine shell.” I should have them write this feature for me!) Daisy Grenade came fully formed and ready to rock all our worlds, and that’s exactly what they’ve done for the past 24 months.
Per the band, Cult Classic came about easily and organically.
“We had a singular writing session set for The Ready Set that we ALMOST missed,” Dani Nigro recalls. “We’re SO happy we made it. We went in with no plan, fully open to writing anything. We had such a seamless time writing ‘Cult Classic’ (the track) with them and knew after that one session that we wanted to go back and write more with them. Lucky for us, they wanted to too! We decided to do the full EP with this team – then later on we were lucky enough to work with Courtney Ballard and Stefano Pigliapoco on the last two tracks that were added after, another dream team to work with.”
“This record was born out of the title track, ‘Cult Classic,’ that we wrote with Jordan Witzigreuter and Cameron Walker back in 2021,” she explains. “Our creative director, Hannah Klein, brought us some horror themes/ideas that we then used as the basis for that song. We knew we were trying to blend our originally grunge-rock sound with a more polished, pop sensibility, so that definitely affected sonic and lyrical direction. But once this track was finished, we felt strongly that the rest of the tracks should follow in that same direction.”
“I think Cult Classic is wonderful in that it greatly ramps up both the femininity and sparkle of the first EP, while still holding true to the grit and rawness we found in Sophomore Slump. I think we were able to find even more specificity lyrically with this project, which is very important to us.”
Nigro candidly describes Cult Classic as glittery, gory, and grungy.
The title is as much an homage to their love of certain films as it is a tongue-in-cheek nod to their own green status.
“We love cult classic films because they’re the underdogs that come out on top – art that is dismissed in the moment but is beloved in the end,” Nigro smiles. “As a newer band we can only hope we’re beloved in the end. Additionally we incorporated horror motifs into each of the tracks so this title fit hand in bloody hand with that. Also the title track is literally about starting a cult, so…”
I want a good Christian love
From the devil just like you
I need a saint from above
To confess all of my sins to
Take me and define me
It’s my party, you’re my man
Gettin’ pure is never easy
But it’s all part of the plan
Flavor Aid like Heaven’s Gate
And I wrecked your birthday cake
Screaming bloody karaoke
Pretending that none of us know me
Bite my tongue
Come fill my mouth with blood
I like the taste
Of everything you hate
Got a black heart beating in a real dark world
I’m a real dark girl, it’s fate
I’m everything you hate
Highlights are aplenty when the songwriting is this good.
Album opener “Are You Scared of Me Yet?” sets the tone with a reminder of Daisy Grenade’s charismatic charm and churn: Sugar and spice, a wink and a kiss, daisies and grenades collide as Nigro and Whittaker make their triumphant return in style.
Elsewhere, the supercharged “Guts” is a hair-raising femme anthem, and the electrifying “Riot” could very well start one someday… It’s brutally angsty in the very best ways.
For Daisy Grenade, there’s a clear winner on this EP – and that’s its namesake. “‘Cult Classic’ has a special place in my heart since it was the first track we wrote for this project and it set the spooky tone,” Nigro says. “I remember listening to the demo over and over again on the subway one night thinking, ‘Wow, I feel really f’ing cool right now.’” Her favorite lyric is a line from the chorus: “I like the taste of everything you hate.”
Whitaker, for her part, cites a line from the lead single and penultimate track, “Got It Bad”: “‘I got to know you should’ve known it from the get go; now my hair’s a mess, I’m lookin’ like a shit show.’”
And I don’t know how to get home
Got to know you, should’ve known it from the get-go
Now my hair’s a mess
I’m lookin’ like a sh*tshow
I’m f’in crying on the train and it’s all your fault
I cut you slack
You broke my back
Clench my fist and bite my tongue
Only do it while I’m young
Brace for the crash
I’ve got it bad
Whether you’re a diehard bubble grunge enthusiast or simply in need of a few fresh pump-up jamz (yes, with a “z”), Cult Classic should be your new fix. Daisy Grenade’s music is effortlessly emotive, immersive, and utterly all-consuming: Whether they’re picking apart toxic masculinity and the faults in our society, or just spilling their angst-ridden emo souls, Nigro and Whittaker continue to be the frontrunners of the Gen Z pop punk pack.
After all, someone needs to keep lighting our hearts on fire – and their music burns with unabating intensity.
“I think it’s important for women to feel empowered through even the ugliest of feelings,” Keaton Whittaker shares. “It feels nice to be able to lean into the darkness and not shield your eyes. I feel like making this record did that for me a bit–to not be ashamed of the weird and macabre. I’ve always felt like a little weirdo being drawn to some of the darker things in life, but being able to freely express that has been extremely fun. I love that we get to deliver the darkness with a glittery sucker punch.”
As for next year? “Hoping to tour some more, and start working on an LP!” Nigro beams. “We can’t wait to have more time to spend on writing and creating whatever is next for Daisy Grenade.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Daisy Grenade’s Cult Classic EP with Atwood Magazine as Dani Nigro and Keaton Whittaker take us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their rip-roaring release!
Daisy Grenade are currently opening for The Maine on their Sweet 16 tour through the first half of December and will be opening for Fall Out Boy next March. They’re also set to release a cover of Pierce the Veil’s “King for a Day” before year’s end; needless to say, life has been busy for the pair in the best of ways.
Catch the fast-rising pop punk stars at a show near you, and stay tuned for more to come from this stunning duo in 2024!
Stream: ‘Cult Classic’ – Daisy Grenade
:: Inside Cult Classic ::
Are You Scared of Me Yet?
“‘Are You Scared Of Me Yet’ is an ode to all of my mentally ill girlies trying to make relationships work. Asking the question of when the person you’ve decided to be with will inevitably walk away. It is flavored with poppy vocals and rip-roaring guitars.” – Keaton
“We wrote ‘Guts’ exclusively about a guy we both dislike. It’s about every Bushwick boy with a beanie that doesn’t cover his ears, carrying a skateboard asking you to “Name 5 Nirvana songs if you like them so much.” – Keaton
“‘Already Dead’ is a little play in itself, Dani and I portray two exes of Jordan Witzegreuter (The Ready Set) torturing him with the ‘will they/won’t they’ of the century. Teasing him with the potential rekindling, but ultimately breaking his heart over and over.” – Keaton
“‘Cult Classic’ is the first song we ever wrote for this project, as well as the title track. It began as an idea of ‘What if you were so bored on your birthday you started a cult?’ We did our best to make this as relatable and palatable as possible while maintaining the creepy idea of obsessing over cult leaders.” – Keaton
Sick in the City
The night before we got in the studio for this I said “I want to write a song like ‘Mystery’ by Turnstile” to Cameron Walker. This is the birth of that song. I think the meaning of this song really lies in the lyric “Watch while I burn it down.” Pure chaos.” – Keaton
Got It Bad
“‘Got It Bad’ was the first song we ever worked with Courtney Ballard on. He had a riff he liked, and we had brought our guitarist Erez into the studio with us who was absolutely instrumental in fleshing out this song. I basically sat on my computer all day and wrote every lyric, recalling a time my ex-boyfriend left me on the street and took my keys and my phone. I walked around the city and chain smoked, working up the courage to break up with him.” – Keaton
“‘Riot’ is a bubbly take on modern American cynicism that plagues young millennials and the gen z-ers. We wanted to capture the feeling of constant work and no pay off, without being TOO obnoxious. Riot is another embodiment of feminine rage and chaos.” – Keaton
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:: Stream Daisy Grenade ::