Sounding like a lost band from the grunge pop '90s, Upset were formed by the duo of Ali Koehler, ex-Vivian Girls and Best Coast drummer, and Patty Schemel, who famously drummed for Hole. They concocted a sound that had all the muscle of grunge with a less aggressive vocal style and a thoughtfully playful lyrical stance. Their promising debut album, She's Gone, was issued in 2013; six years later, the fully formed and powerfully hooky Upset album cemented their place as a band doing the '90s revival thing correctly.
Upset began soon after Koehler was unceremoniously fired from Best Coast in 2011. Rather than looking for another band to join, she took time to regroup and write some songs. After noticing that ex-Hole drummer Patty Schemel was following her on Twitter, she struck up a friendship that turned into a musical collaboration. With Koehler on guitar and vocals, she and Schemel rounded out their lineup with Koehler's Vivian Girls bandmate (and La Sera founder) Katy Goodman on bass and La Sera's Jenn Prince on guitar. The band played its first show in January 2013, opening for Parquet Courts at the L.A. venue The Echo. When it came time to record their debut album, Goodman was no longer in the band. Recorded mostly in Koehler's house by producer Kyle Gilbride (Swearin'), She's Gone was released by Don Giovanni late in 2013. Prince left the group shortly afterward and was replaced by guitarist Lauren Freeman (also of Benny the Jet Rodriguez). Slutever bassist Rachel Gagliardi also joined the band. This version of Upset worked with punk veteran Todd Congelliere on the '76 EP, which Lauren Records issued in 2015. The group toured behind the release and then, apart from the occasional show and an appearance at 2017's Riot Fest, the band was relatively quiet. Koehler played drums on a track for Peach Kelli Pop's self-titled 2015 album, and in 2018 she joined a re-formed Vivian Girls to record what became their fourth album, 2019's Vivian Girls. Along the way, Upset gained a new bassist -- Gagliardi was replaced by her Slutever bandmate Nicole Snyder -- and worked on their second album, the Superchunk-inspired Upset. Koehler and Freeman split singing and songwriting duties on the record, which was released by Lauren Records in late 2019. ~ Heather Phares