Griefcat: From the German word Kummerspeck or in English “grief bacon,” the weight you gain from emotional eating or, in this case, the cat you get after a breakup.
Annie Nardolilli: Singer, Songwriter, Guitar
Louisa Hall: Singer, Songwriter, Ukulele
What does a Mormon ex-sheriff and an Atheist tech employee have in common? No, that’s not the beginning of an elaborate joke and Griefcat isn’t the punchline. Instead, Annie Nardolilli and Louisa Hall, the masterminds behind Griefcat, are a duo that you can’t easily categorize or file into a neat little genre. They are mutually perpetuating forces in matching outfits who together create beautifully blended harmonies and brilliant lyrics, with an unpredictable twist. They’ve been compared to Flight of the Conchords, Tenacious D, Norwegian duo Ylvis, and Garfunkel and Oates by fans, but if you ask Annie to describe their sound, she’ll say “We’re like if Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton, and Bo Burnham met up at an Olive Garden and wrote a song while eating unlimited breadsticks. Does that make sense? Probably not.”
On their brilliant album Late Stage Capitalism, the nine tracks range from flat out hilarious to unexpectedly thought provoking, each with a unique sound and lyrics to tickle the soul. An amalgamation of musical talent, these troubadours of the modern age display immense songwriting skills and infinite humor, with topical songs that not only dazzle but also make you smile and laugh while making fun of the world in which we live. The musicianship stands out on its own too; traditional instruments abound but you will also hear slide guitar, ukulele, trumpet, trombone, violin, and cello peppered throughout the album. The album explores how unbridled capitalism has invaded every facet of modern life, from workplace politics to interpersonal relationships, and even our most private moments.
They came up with the title in early 2020 when they wrote arguably their most well-known song on the album to date, “Revolution (Poop At Work)” which catapulted the duo to viral infamy and a strong following with over 25 million organic views of their videos, more than 15 million of those views for that song alone. Even Questlove commented on the song, saying “LOL I feel seen, I see my version as a political act.” They’ve also received likes from SZA and actor Alan Tudyk for their posts, among others.
“Revolution (Poop At Work)” is a song about how even the smallest acts of defiance can be revolutionary. “So much of the 2020s feel like the 1920s all over again – the income inequality is staggering, and the rich are getting richer while others are struggling,” says Louisa. “Late stage capitalism is at the core of our entire album, but this is the song that most explicitly calls this out. We always tell audiences it’s our most cerebral song, then we dive into a 1.5 minute poop joke. Life can be crappy, but it’s so much more fun to laugh your way through it!”
Other songs on the album include “I Just Want To Get Inside (Your Bank Account),” an unanticipated, ‘90s-style love song with a hilarious contradiction between two women looking for two different things when it comes to a new relationship. Are they looking for love or money? It also shines a light on dating culture and how much sensitive personal information we share online every day. “Crytpobro” is a traditional country tune with all the makings of a hit song. It’s a melodic, catchy, and current, and a breakup song about losing love, in this case to the cult of Cryptocurrency and the church of Elon Musk. The opening track, “Benevolent Billionaire,” featuring standout vocalist Jarreau Williams along with many of Washington, DC’s brightest musical talent, is loosely based on ‘80s supergroup charity singles like “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We are the World.” The song begins with Jarreau singing, “Tired of being broke, ‘cause of all of these rich people,” which is a thesis that applies to the entire record. “Love The Sinner” was written while Annie was working as a deputy sheriff and was inspired by two narrow-minded coworkers she didn’t get along with. “One of our favorite details in the song occurs when we describe the colleague as having a ‘trash bag full of farts’ for a soul,” says Annie. “Fun fact, you’ll hear a quick whooshing sound on the track of our drummer Ben Tufts whipping open a trash bag.” It’s one of two songs on the album that is based on true events, the other being “Hey There Girl,” a rapid fire duet skewering predatory MLM, boss babe, get-rich-quick-on-the-internet culture.
These songs would never have existed if it weren’t for the mind melding of the opposites attract duo. Annie, from Arlington, VA is a Mormon and former sheriff’s deputy while Louisa, from Alexandria, VA (now lives in Reston VA), is a long-time lapsed Catholic and a career tech employee. That dichotomy in perspectives has been the key to the duo’s success both in songwriting and in their friendship. They met at a DC-based variety show in 2015 and were the only musicians in a group of comedians performing that night. “Louisa played a song called ‘Barista Boyfriend,’ about a barista she had a crush on, and I played a song called ‘Hot Park Ranger’ about a park ranger I had a crush on,” says Annie. “We both realized we liked hot people with jobs!” They felt an immediate kinship. After continually running into each other in the singer-songwriter scene in DC and admiring each other’s work, they joked backstage at the 9:30 Club in 2018 about how they should form a band together. They scheduled their first rehearsal in 2019, and wrote a song about vaccines and egg rolls, and the rest is (recent) history.
Now, with Late Stage Capitalism, Griefcat has all the potential to be more than just a musical act. With each live show, they invite their audience to step inside their world, creating a fun and exciting atmosphere that becomes a universally shared experience. “We want to take away some of the seriousness of the day and help people remember that though life may be chaotic and nonsensical, it’s still good. Life is hard and it’s okay to laugh at it together,” says Annie. But the greatest messages they receive are from fans who say their music provides a cathartic experience. Says Louisa, “We’ve had folks reach out who couldn’t get out of bed due to grief, and they’ve found us, and it brought them enough joy to get out of bed that day.” Ultimately they want people to enjoy the music, not just because it’s funny, but because it’s good – they want fans to feel it in their souls, to love the lyrics, and to have fun singing along. People often tell them after a Griefcat show that they haven’t laughed that hard in a long time, and that’s a compliment that inspires Griefcat to keep making music every day.
227 Maple Ave East
Vienna, VA 22180