Angela Perley hasn't changed her sound, but she definitely feels a new sense of freedom on 4:30, the Ohio singer-songwriter's first album outside of her band the Howlin' Moons. Perly's video for the rocking track "Let Go" is premiering exclusively Billboard today (July 30).
"It's not like a solo acoustic album or anything like that," Perley, who worked on the album with Howlin' Moons guitarist Chris Connor, tells Billboard. "It still feels familiar, but I guess I felt a little more freedom to do what I want with the record. I felt a little more in control of the sound. In the past it wasn't like I was not in control, but it made things more streamlined and easier. It made for a faster turnaround in recording, too."
In addition to Connor, 4:30 — out Aug. 2 and named after Perley's preferred a.m. bedtime — was also recorded with keyboardist Robbie Crowell of Deer Tick and Diamond Rugs. The set's 12 songs run the gamut from psychedelic garage rock to melodic pop and heartfelt country and Americana, while the lyrics reflect what Perley calls "more of an existential kind of thing, an internal, searching theme." Indeed, "Let Go" fits that mold.
"It's about living in the moment, letting go of thinking too much about things in your life," she explains. "Music and being in the music business is a roller coaster of unknowns, every step of the way. It can be a lot of stress. For me, it's almost a therapeutic way to get things out of my system — y'know, let go and rock it up."
The song's video, meanwhile, casts Perley as a cartoon figure amidst a swirl of colorful, psychedelic graphics created by Los Angeles director Dawn Aquarius, who also does posters for Perley.
"I really love her artwork," Perley says. "I've been a fan of hers for a long time. I knew she did little video clips on Instagram, short, 30-second videos. I wasn't sure she was wanting to do something longer, but I left it loose and let her do whatever she wanted with the video. I gave her a couple of random ideas and it was really cool to see the final result [and] all those little Scooby-Doo cartoon characters."
Perley will celebrate 4:30's release on Aug. 2 at The Basement in Nashville and has an assortment of shows booked into December, with more to come. She's hoping the transition into being a solo artist is as smooth for the audience as it has been for her.
"I've taken a slow and steady, grassroots path which has really helped me develop as an artist," she says. "I feel like I've found myself, or my voice at least. I never considered myself a singer, or a guitar player; I basically play guitar to write songs. But having all this experience, 10 years grinding it out, has taught me a lot. I'm stronger as an artist, I'm sure, and I'm really ready to take this step."