Growing up, Annabel Alpers felt a stronger connection to music than to the people at her all-girls school in Christchurch, New Zealand. She loved The Beatles and Dolly Parton, as well as bands introduced to her by her older, "cooler" brother -- stuff like Sonic Youth, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Fall. Later, while studying composition in college, she discovered Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk.
"The clinical electronic sounds and mechanical beats made me feel good," says Alpers, a.k.a. Bachelorette, via e-mail. Having always found it difficult to communicate with other musicians, she liked using computers to create music instead. "I don't like bossing people around, but computers are just sitting there waiting to do what they're told," she says. "They love it. It's what they're all about."
Alpers spent several months alone while writing and recording her first full-length, appropriately titled Isolation Loops. But for her new album, My Electric Family (Drag City), she enlisted some actual humans. The live performers interact seamlessly with vintage synthesizers and drum machines to create rich, spacey indie pop, "based around the ideas of my and other people's relationships with machines and electricity in general." The album combines Beatle-esque loopiness, '60s girl-group melodies, and a kind of cold, technological angst reminiscent of Kate Bush, circa The Sensual World.
Now, Alpers is touring with a band for the first time (her Sun., June 14, show at Garfield Artworks is organized by CP contributor Manny Theiner). "I'm always glad that the solitude of recording gets balanced out by the intensive human interaction of touring," she says. "I'm always ready for one of those extremes, once I've spent too long in the other."
Bachelorette with Pikelet, Nathan Xander and Ball of Flame Shoot Fire. 8 p.m. Sun., June 14. Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $8 All ages. 412-361-2262 or www.garfieldartworks.com
- Isolation: Bachelorette