Premiere: Deore Overcomes Trauma & Embraces The “Brat” In New Folk-Punk Single

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Overcoming trauma is tricky. Everyone’s journey is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to healing. You can mend the mental wounds as best as possible, hoping to minimize the scars even though they will always be there. Whether shrouded or obvious, those scars always end up manifesting in peculiar and inconvenient manners throughout life. For singer-songwriter Deore, the best way to manage these scars is to embrace them in a way, let them live and reframe them in a way that’s defined by her own life and decisions rather than the trauma that initially bore them. This sensitive approach is laid bare on her latest single, the idiosyncratic folk-punk track “Brat,” which explores her experience utilizing BDSM to help overcome these emotional obstacles while also confronting the social quandaries arising from that choice. Lyrically and musically stirring, it’s a bold track that The Auricular is proud to premiere one day before its official release.


Though it clocks in at just under two minutes, “Brat” is an impressive songwriting feat that uses an upbeat melody and sublime production to explore the volatile nature of the lyrics. Folk-punk and anti-punk tendencies prove helpful in this scenario, helping to evolve the elegant sound Deore is typically known for and leaving us with a song that’s just as bitter and affecting as it is charming and sweet. “Humor me/ even when it’s ruining me/ I know you’re no good for me,” Deore pleads at the opening of the song, letting us know that even though she’s embracing the tendencies, she still recognizes the detrimental reality that could come from an impulsive attitude. Witty observations follow (“God, I want a man/ Who wrecks me like I wreck me”) as the song evolves, going from isolated observation to harmonious enchantment, showing that this venture

It can be a touchy subject to fully flesh out, but Deore (real name Marissa Butler) is happy to clarify.

“‘Brat’ is about finding empowerment through BDSM,” Butler explains. “I grew up in a household with domestic violence. Because of that, my frame of reference for love is very skewed. To put it frankly, I was taught that love looked like abuse and control. As a result, navigating healthy relationships can feel confusing and scary… kind of like being lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I cannot deny there is a part of me that is homesick for what is familiar, despite how toxic it is. (No one talks about this side of surviving abuse.) My inner brat indulges these cravings through stirring the pot for the adrenaline of chaos… kind of like a teenager acting out for attention. It is important to know this is not done in the spirit of self-sabotage and abuse — I brat to my partner with his consent. Reframing my past in this way feels empowering to me. I wanted to celebrate it, so I wrote the song and made the album cover a birthday cake.”


Butler’s music has always carried impressive musical depth, whether in a solo setting or with a band. She originally built a reputation as the fiery lead singer of Richmond shoegaze band The Talkies with a fearless melodic style that could hypnotize and excoriate all at once. The band released three EPs between June and September 2016 as they steadily built a devoted following in town. Songs like “Popular On Paper” and “Foxy Smulder” showed their early promise, while “Graner Cards” instantly placed them in the upper echelon of local bands with an intense sound that was as melodic as it was caustic.

The Talkies disbanded in 2017 and Butler moved around from there, landing in Japan for an extended time before settling in the Mid-Atlantic region. In late 2019, she began releasing music under the Deore name, with her debut single “Labyrinth” offering a different but still impressive sound than she was previously known for. The four-song EP Sink Or Swim followed at the beginning of 2020, expanding her extravagant folk-pop vision which was further altered the following year with the single “Soft” adding in R&B percussion and sampling. After that came “Soul Tie” in December of 2022, a straightforward indie folk ode that was the impassioned pinnacle from this chapter of her career, one that’s clearly turning over with the release of “Brat.” Future songs will explore her folk-pop sound with more perception and wit, allowing her to meld the punk-ish approach she brought to The Talkies with the sentimental ambiance she’s been exploring since.


“This kind of sound is absolutely something you can expect in the future,” Butler remarks. “My focus for my last few releases was writing music that was soothing to listen to, specifically for people with anxiety and c-PTSD in mind. My upcoming releases are a lot punchier and confrontational while not totally abandoning my original objective.”

“Brat” can provide some comfort for those struggling with complex trauma as it dives into its own agonizing mix of fear, anger, sadness, and confusion. It’s raw and honest, offering us a glimpse into her personal struggle and creating a broader commentary on how abuse can alter our connective abilities. This can validate and support survivors in a way while also raising awareness about the lasting impact of trauma and the messy reality it leaves people in.

From here, Butler plans to release a new single around every six weeks with the next single (one she excitedly describes as “a sarcastic little ukulele anthem”) coming out in early summer. Until then, “Brat” provides plenty of musical bite to tide us over. It’s a song that can give comfort and guidance for those in need while also serving as an infectious ditty for those searching for a bright new earworm. This dual appeal makes it the defining song of Butler’s career thus far, one that’s endlessly impressive but also one she’s sure to overcome in the coming months.

“Brat” is out on all streaming platforms on Saturday, April 1st. To keep up-to-date on more new music from Deore and performance announcements, make sure to follow her on social media.


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