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Ethel Cain’s EP “Inbred” Is A Cathartic Release

A deep dive into “Michelle Pfeiffer (feat. lil aaron)” and a few other tracks that makeup Inbred.

There are rare instances in life when music moves through you in a way that you have never experienced before. A dark spiritual awakening. The moment I heard “Michelle Pfeiffer (feat. lil aaron)” for the first time it was like a new wavelength of sound was unlocked in my brain. It was a moment of pure catharsis. The track holds sounds that can fill up an entire ballroom but also fit so perfectly in the buds of my headphones. It is powerful and raw and pure genius.

Singer, songwriter, and producer Hayden Anhedönia has recently released her EP “Inbred” which is a slow reverb masterpiece. Hayden goes by the moniker Ethel Cain and uses her as an artistic outlet to funnel her life experiences through. The result is a sound that culminates around folk-pop rock and a hauntingly beautiful antichrist aura. With early co-signs from artists Charli XCX and Lil Aaron, Ethel Cain stands out as a female artist who wrote, produced, and mixed “Inbred” all on her own from the basement of the church she calls home in rural Indiana.

Raised in a tight-knit southern baptist community. Her dad was a deacon and her mother sang in the choir. Hayden eventually left the church after being ostracized for being gay and at the age of 20 found freedom in her truth as a transgender woman. She now resides in an old church and accentuates her home’s haunted-looking decor with music to match it. She embraces the nightmarish side of Christianity, not out of spite but rather as a way to make it her own. Her art is a way for her to accept her past. Experiencing religion at such an intense level from such a young age can have lasting impacts on anyone. Especially when you don’t fit the mold the community creates.

“Everything I do through my art is a way to get my thumb on top of what’s happened to me in the past because now I’m in control and I can’t be hurt by it again,” she says, a slight drawl peeking through a tone that’s both disarming and determined. “So for me, living here, I can walk around the sanctuary and there’s no bad vibes. It’s this weird, bittersweet comfort. It’s just me and the quiet.” - Pitchfork

Ruthless and raw, every track from “Inbred” is a funeral march intent on seduction. Ethel flaunts her dark side with sultry and explicit imagery, her vices adorning her like the spiked tattoos around her skin. To pick up where we left off, the opening track “Michelle Pfeiffer (feat. lil aaron)” will grip your heart with the opening guitar strums. Cain’s voice melts over you like hot wax and the rest of the song is like diving into a deep warm pool. The intensity of her desire is matched perfectly with lil aaron’s vocals and suddenly you feel his modern style crash with Cain’s traditional vocals.

“Home’s not home unless you’re there - I’ll never be ready but I don’t care - Wide awake all night thinking about you - Do you think of me too?”

“Crush” is the perfect emo teen bop for the sad girls out there looking for a more sophisticated approach to love. Lana Del Rey takes a similar approach to her songs and both her and Cain have an affinity for the bad boys. Cain is also the creative force behind the upcoming official music video for “Crush” serving as director and editor.

“I owe you a black eye and two kisses - Tell me when you wanna come and get 'em”

The third track on the EP “God’s Country (feat. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal) ”is an epic 8-minute stroll through heaven with features from WPSE (formerly the frontman from Tigers Jaw). The angelic theme fills this track the most and it doesn't drag in the same way any other song this length would. “Inbred” puts you in the middle of a forest at the witching hour. You can hear the wind run through the trees and your teeth chatter. This song is very reflective of what almost feels like a nightmare from Cain’s head. Two siblings living in a run-down home with their “comatose” mother who may or may not already be dead. Her white trash older brother serves as her protector in a place where it’s the two of them against the world. Right before the nightmare comes to an end some autotune and the electric guitar comes to pick up the speed of the dream. Cain is almost reminiscing on her life as a dream (or a nightmare) and annotates it with instrumentals that downshift at the eeriest moments.

“We wake up and all the fucking lights are out”
“If he wakes up he'll show you what I’m talking about”

Inbred Tracklist

Michelle Pfeiffer (feat. lil aaron)


God’s Country (feat. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal)



Two-Headed Mother

Stream music by Ethel Cain below.

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