Grooblen is the creative name of San Francisco artist, musician and radio personality Ellie Stokes. Since 2017 the eclectic singer/songwriter has released a string of experimental Indie Pop, Alt Folk and otherwise avant-garde singles. In 2020 she dropped both the EP “The Initial Groobles” and a live album “Live from Ale Industries.”
“Dinosaur Plant/The Spider” is the latest EP from Grooblen, released worldwide to all major streaming services on February 4, 2021. The two songs were written as Ellie coped with a difficult medical situation. Having been recently diagnosed with a rare optic nerve disorder, Stokes was prescribed experimental trial medication.
Each track tells a stream of consciousness tale either directly or indirectly inspired by the fallout from diagnosis and treatment. “Dinosaur Plant,” uses a trip to a carnivorous plant nursery as a metaphor for humanity’s insignificance as compared to the natural world. “The Spider” is a more personal, introspective and surreal story of coping with a new medical reality.
Musically the EP features Ellie alone with her acoustic guitar and only distant ambient synths as accompaniment. However, within that framework she uses creative techniques to aid in the narrative. For instance, during an instrumental refrain in “The Spider” she interjects an intentionally dissonant chord amid the otherwise tranquil strumming, to reflect her inner turmoil.
The singer names a long roster of artists as influences, from Fiona Apple to Todd Rundgren. However, on the new EP two legends from that list really shine through as inspiration. Both songs sound as though they could be from some long lost songwriting collaboration between Frank Zappa and Joni Mitchell, performed by the latter with a vaguely European vibe. It’s a cool and timeless sound.
Check out “Dinosaur Plant/The Spider,” below. You can also hear Grooblen on both the Deep Indie Dive and Deep Indie Songwriters playlists. Follow the links below to connect with Ellie Stokes and stay in the loop on all things Grooblen.