“You wear me out
like you wear
that Southern Cross tattoo”
You said I’d look much better
if I dropped
the attitude”
‘Tricks’ – Stella Donnelly

Last week Fremantle artist Stella Donnelly shared the last single ‘Tricks’ from her wondrously acerbic, socially critical and at times deeply personal debut album Beware Of The Dogs ahead of its release this Friday. Through a playful pop lens, the single takes aim at the sexist double standards and lack of power female artists and women continue to face and experience from the male dominated music industry as well as the growing ugliness of racism, sexism and intolerance at the heart of overt forms of Australian nationalism. The album’s title, as Donnelly pointed out to the 405 in a January interview, stands as a cautionary reminder that a smug sense of racist superiority, toxic masculinity and sexist entitlement has always existed deep within the Australian psyche. These factors have provided the basis for the recent backlash against feminism and the rights of women in the wake of the #metoo movement, the attack on multiculturalism and the reputation of refugees and the ongoing denial of justice for Indigenous Australia.

It’s the same self-delusional sense of white male superiority Australia (and all colonial settler societies) was built on. And the intrinsic racism that it produces has always been at the country’s core. Such thinking is also behind the sexism and almost sub-conscious lack of respect women receive in the music industry, not to mention in general. These are points Donnelly has often made when asked by the angle seeking mainstream music media, who find it either titillating or confronting when a woman speaks truth to power, about her unflinching lyrical intent. Indeed, the album’s cover says it all about Donnelly’s attitude towards past attempts by at best calculating and at worst manipulative and exploitative men in the music industry to shape, dilute, moderate or silence her expression. And that could be extrapolated out to all women.And speaking that truth to power, calling out imbalance and denial and those who exercise it accountable on every level is essentially the personal and socially critical essence of Beware Of The Dogs. But equally, it’s also about how an intelligent, self aware and emotionally sentient woman expresses her response to not only the manifest and obvious injustices that she sees and experiences but to the absurd thinking that produces them in the first place.

On the inflective, summery and lick heavy jangle pop of ‘Tricks’, with the economy of just two lines, Donnelly gives Australia’s anti-intellectual, self appointed flag and tattoo bearers a sardonic spray rather than caustic flogging and then proceeds to admonish the sexism she’s experienced from men in the industry by mimicking their shallowness. That’s after . And that is instructive in what it says about the nuance on display at the album’s socially critical centre. On tracks like the poignant and defiant title track and previous single ‘Old Man’ she uses and exposes the old, tired and flimsy arguments made by those who insist on victim blaming and gendered double standards and throws it back, often with vitriol. But rather than overtly railing against them, ‘Tricks’, with a few whimsically delivered observations and a cheeky laugh included, simply takes the piss out of a ridiculous visual manifestations of Australian nationalism and the sense of entitlement in music men. And you can almost sense her relief amidst the exasperation when she lays bare the needy insecurity and vanity that produced their ridiculous facade and tells them just to leave such meaningless shit alone.

Watch the video for Tricks co-directed by Nick McKk and the one and only Julia Jacklin below while the musically beguiling and lyrically empowering Beware Of The Dogs is out Friday through American indie Secretly Canadian. Buy here.

Tracklist: Beware of the Dogs

1. Old Man
2. Mosquito
3. Season’s Greetings
4. Allergies
5. Tricks
6. Boys Will Be Boys
7. Lunch
8. Bistro
9. Die
10. Beware of the Dogs
11. U Owe Me
12. Watching Telly
13. Face It



Stella Donnelly (AUS)

From the forthcoming album, ‘Beware Of The Dog’, Secretly Canadian.

Audio Stream

Official Video


Wed. March 6 – Surry Hills, AU – Golden Age Cinema & Bar

Thu. March 7 – Surry Hills, AU – Golden Age Cinema & Bar

Sat. March 9 – Brunswick West, AU – Estonian House (Matinee U18)

Sat. March 9 – Brunswick West, AU – Estonian House

Sun. March 10 – Tasmania, AU – Panama Festival

Fri. March 15 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall #

Sat. March 16 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s #

Mon. March 18 – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade #

Wed. March 20 – Hamden, CT – Space Ballroom #

Fri. March 22 – Somerville, MA – ONCE Ballroom #

Sat. March 23 – Montreal, QC – Casa Del Popolo #

Sun. March 24 – Toronto, ON – The Drake Hotel #

Mon. March 25 – Detroit, MI -Deluxx Fluxx #

Wed. March 27 – Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups #

Thu. March 28 – Bloomington, IN – The Bishop #

Fri. March 29 – Chicago, IL – Schuba’s #

Sat. March 30 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club #

Tue. April 2 – Seattle, WA – Barboza #

Wed. April 3 – Portland, OR – Polaris Hall #

Fri. April 5 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe Du Nord #

Sat. April 6 – Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Theater #

Thu. April 11 – Berlin, DE – Badehaus

Fri. April 12 – Hamburg, DE – Skybar

Sat. April 13 – Rotterdam, NL – Rotown

Mon. April 15 – Cologne, DE – Yuca

Tue. April 16 – Brussels, BE – Botanique

Wed. April 17 – Amiens, FR – La Lune Des Pirates *

Thu. April 18 – Paris, FR – Le Pop Up Du Label

Tue. April 23 – Cardiff, UK – Clwb Ifor Bach

Wed. April 24 – Bristol, UK – Thekla

Thu. April 25 – Southampton, UK – Joiners

Sat. April 27 – Brighton, UK – Haunt

Sun. April 28 – Manchester, UK – Yes

Mon. April 29 – Dublin, IE – Grand Social

Wed. May 1 – Glasgow, UK – The Blue Arrow

Thu. May 2 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Community Room

Sat. May 4 – Liverpool, UK – Liverpool Sound City

Sun. May 5 – Nottingham, UK – Bodega

Tue. May 7 – London, UK – Scala

Thu. July 4 – Roskilde, DK – Roskildge Festival

Fri. July 5 – Vilanova I La Geltrú, ES – Vida Festival

Wed. July 17 – Lawrence, KS – The Granada &

Thu. July 18 – St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway &

Fri. July 19 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom &

Tue. July 23 – Nashville, TN – Exit/In &

Wed. July 24 – Louisville KY – Headliners Music Hall &

Thu. July 25 – Columbus, OH – Skully’s Music Diner

Sun. July 28 – Tachikawa, JP – Fuji Rock Festival

Fri. Aug. 9 – Rees, DE – Haldern Pop Festival

Sat. Aug. 10 – Bristol, UK – Boomtown Festival

Sat. Aug. 17 – Crickhowell, UK – Green Man Festival

Thu. Aug. 29 – Salisbury, UK – End of the Road Festival

# = with Faye Webster
* = supporting Yak
& = support Snail Mail