One of the few ways Sophie Allison’s musical age shows is not through the number itself, but in the Justin Timberlake “Sexyback” ringtone she chose as a 12-year-old.
At age 21, the Nashville native has a full-length album, Clean, under the moniker Soccer Mommy — a name that conjures up the image of a suburban middle-aged woman who finally has the time to pursue singing. Having Allison behind an album’s worth of lo-fi confessional rock songs is not entirely expected.
“I think some people underestimate young people,” Allison tells SF Weekly. “But I think mostly when people say it about me, they’re saying it as a compliment. Hopefully, that means I sound mature.”
Allison started recording songs the summer after high school graduation, dubbing them on Bandcamp as “chill but kinda sad.” Upon emerging as an indie-rock heartbreak kid, she left for New York University but soon fell into a depression, lacking deep friendships during her first year.
Although she considered herself good at school and always planned to graduate with a degree, she ignored her homework and spent most of her time on music instead. Going to shows by herself, Allison looked to artists like Foxes in Fiction to chart a career path. With opportunities to record and tour, taking time off school seemed like an easy decision. And thus, Clean was born.
“It very much encapsulates moving to a new city for college, having a new life experience that can be very depressing and cool and nothing’s ever like it,” Allison says.
It’s easy to see the influences she herself cites — Avril Lavigne and Liz Phair, chief among them — but the confrontational confessionals are her own. “Your Dog” fiercely demands respect with “I want a love that lets me breathe / I’ve been choking on your leash” while “Cool” turns up the breeze while admiring a girl who exhibits similar behavior.
But for Treasure Island Music Festival, she teases playing the dark, angsty “Flaw” and“Scorpio Rising” that gives off a surge of energetic instrumentals amid self-realization.
“It’s not the depth of my personality and not all the things that have hurt me,” Allison says of the full album. “I think it just sums up being a 20-year-old.”
Soccer Mommy, Sunday, Oct. 14, 1:20-2 p.m., on the City Stage.
See more from SF Weekly’s Treasure Island Music Festival issue:
A Decade of Postcoital Bliss, With Cigarettes After Sex
Years after it began, Cigarettes After Sex suddenly became a breakout YouTube sensation. Songwriter Greg Gonzalez got to the bottom of it.
Serpentwithfeet Is No Performance Artist
Blended with soul and R&B, the traditions of the Black gospel churches that serpent grew up in flourish on his debut album, soil.
Courtney Barnett Is a Millennial Courtney Love
The Australian singer-songwriter speaks to the stereotype of the lazy, navel-gazing generation — and in doing so, sees rampant success.
Pusha T, Perfectionist
He’s back from Wyoming with a clear perspective of his place in hip-hop.
George FitzGerald, Mr. Burns
An early-afternoon set rather suits a Londoner who finds himself at the center of the underground music scene.