"A LOT OF The Orange Glow came out of feeling effed over and hurt, lied to, betrayed," says Globelamp singer Elizabeth le Fey of her sophomore album. "A lot of people didn't really care about my story."
"Le Fey"—the singer's adopted surname—is inspired by Morgan le Fay, a character from Arthurian folklore. "Morgan le Fay is like a dark fairy who was misunderstood," says le Fey, whose birth name is Elizabeth Gomez.
Referencing the novel by controversial writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, she explains, "The Mists of Avalon is a retelling of King Arthur, and it's told from the females' perspective—Morgan le Fay and King Arthur's wife. It's about the rise of Christianity, and how it took over the pagan religions. This pushed Avalon, which was a fairyland, into the mist. Morgan le Fay is this archetype of a woman who was considered evil, but actually she was a really powerful fairy... It's kind of a reclaiming of a myth, and reclaiming a female character who was considered evil. I feel like that has happened to me, sometimes."
Le Fey made headlines in January after Impose's Blake Gillespie published the piece "Abuse in Silence: Globelamp's Court-Ordered Excommunication from Foxygen." The article examines the time le Fey spent in LA indie rock band Foxygen and their subsequent falling out. It details her relationship with frontman Sam France—whom le Fey met in 2012, when he reached out to express admiration for Globelamp's music and invited her to fly down to California to star in Foxygen's "San Francisco" music video. Le Fey took a leave of absence from Evergreen College in Olympia and joined the band as a touring member. She quit in 2013 amid tensions with Foxygen's other members, and in a Tumblr post published while she was still dating France but no longer a member of Foxygen, le Fey recounted her negative experience with the band. Since then, France and other members of Foxygen have deflected questions about the purported band drama.
The Impose piece details le Fey and France's alleged fights over control of her solo material, their breakup, and the "32-page restraining order" against le Fey that followed, a legal battle in which her lyrics were used as proof of her supposed indiscretions. Despite her own allegations of France's abuse—like a picture she posted to Twitter of an injury she claims France inflicted—le Fey thinks she was made to appear at fault. "That made me support Kesha," she says of the pop star's own recent legal troubles, "knowing what it's like to be in court."
She says, "I'm glad it's finally on a website, so people take it more seriously than my blog." Having someone else write le Fey's story validated her experience. "I want people to know my story because it's not fair," le Fey says. "I don't want it to happen to somebody else." She also doesn't appreciate her solo work being painted as a Foxygen spin-off: "Globelamp has been happening for, like, six years."
The Orange Glow was initially released in October on LA musician Joel Jerome's label Psychedelic Thriftstore Recordings. Shortly after the Impose article came out, le Fey announced that she had signed to Wichita Recordings, and that her album would be remastered and re-released on vinyl this June.
On the first Globelamp album, Star Dust, le Fey sounded distant, like she wasn't even living in the same realm as the rest of us—transcending time and space while she floated around the cosmos. Star Dust crept around creaky floorboards, saw ghostly reflections in dusty mirrors, and held séances in shadowy corners, le Fey's voice conjuring spirits of times long gone. The sound of wind chimes, fires crackling, and birds chirping wove the natural elements into the album's mystical folk. But Star Dust shone brightest in le Fey's fantastical, often metaphoric lyrics; on "Presence" she sings, "I have written a story on the inside of my eyes/It gets so hard to keep it open all the time."
The Orange Glow pulls le Fey back into the present—no longer is she daydreaming about "Sunflowers." Instead she finds herself trapped in a dark fairy tale of her own. In The Orange Glow, le Fey describes being attracted to something seductive but dangerous, like a moth to a flame. She follows this alluring "orange glow" to a hopeless place, but eventually finds her way out of the darkness. The album tells this story, with an important emphasis placed on the songs as chapters. "It's thematic," she says, "I really thought about the order.
"That's why I made the first track 'Washington Moon'—I wanted it to be symbolic of someone getting drawn in by this happy light. I wanted the first few songs to be like that, but as you start listening more it gets a little darker." In the track, le Fey sings, "I want a California sun and a Washington moon/In the same room, at the same time/I can't be in two different places/Although I've tried."
The title track sounds like it'd fit right in with Twin Peaks singer Julee Cruise's dreamy dirges, and in "Master of Lonely" le Fey musters her own strength. "Piece of the Pie" marks her foray into punk—bruising electric guitars back her scathing admonitions. "How do you live with the lies you told?/I know your soul will pay a toll." And "San Francisco" illustrates her experience in hindsight, starting with her first trip to California to join Foxygen—"Now she's searching for the life that was stolen that night in San Francisco/All that's left is a video."
Le Fey finds her own inner light in "Faerie Queen" and leads herself out of the darkness. It's a song of self-atonement, in which she reclaims her own myth and sleepily floats back into Star Dust's cosmos. Le Fey's music is steeped in her mystical perspective: "I think the world is full of magic, and you can tap into it if you want to," she says. "If you don't believe in that stuff, you're not gonna see it. I believe in stuff you can't see, because I think the world is really fucked up. I believe there's more than what's happening on the earth... I just have to believe there's something more."