A lot has changed for Australian four-piece RVG since they recorded their outstanding debut album A Quality of Mercy live in the bandroom of a Melbourne dive bar. They’ve toured the world with upstarts like Shame and stalwarts like Kurt Vile, A Quality of Mercy was reissued on cult UK label Fat Possum Records, and their fanbase has swelled considerably, even outside of their hometown.
A lot has changed in the world, too — since writing A Quality of Mercy, RVG frontwoman and songwriter Romy Vager has watched the Brexit vote go through, seen Donald Trump take power in the United States, and witnessed hatred and pessimism filter through the world. The many injustices that A Quality of Mercy dealt with almost feel small peanuts now, trifles compared to the earth-shaking villainy that’s coming from powerful governments.
Today, The FADER is premiering “Alexandra”, the first of a handful of songs Vager wrote post-Brexit and post-Trump for the band’s forthcoming sophomore record. “Alexandra is a song which came together quickly, but which felt like it uncompromisingly needed to be recorded,” says Vager of the track. “The lyrics, [which] describe a story of personal oppression at the hands of one’s community, [are] an allegory for the broader oppression marginalized people are subjected to.”
For listeners who have been waiting with bated breath for new RVG, “Alexandra” will be a worthy payoff; the song, produced by PJ Harvey and Nick Cave collaborator Victor Van Vugt, maintains the band’s raw energy while adding newfound depth and sheen. RVG are as tight and compelling as ever, Vager’s evocative howl underscored by instrumentation that’s powerful without overpowering. There are few voices in indie rock as magnetic as Vager’s, and Van Vugt’s production smartly brings her voice to the fore. Watch the video for “Alexandra,” directed by Triana Hernandez, above, and find dates for RVG's upcoming USA tour here.