Stress Dolls is the alt/pop/rock project of Chelsea O'Donnell, a songwriter from Buffalo, NY.
When O’Donnell returned to Buffalo after graduating college in the spring of 2013 she wanted to become more involved with the Western New York music community using a moniker other than her own name. She chose the title Wolf and over the year that followed transitioned from open mics to playing regular shows at coffee shops and bars in the Buffalo area. She became known for her raw vocal sound matched with pop-style songwriting.
From there, O’Donnell recruited more players and melded Wolf from being a solo act to a full band, recording the EP “It’s Electric” with Brandon Schlia of the Buffalo DIY label Steak & Cake Records in late 2014 and releasing the record in spring of 2015. The EP garnered attention from publications and promoters, slotting the band in the “Top 15 Artists You Need to Know in 2015” in the WNY alternative paper Artvoice and getting them sets opening for such bands as The Moth & The Flame and performing at the Night Lights Music Festival.
After embarking on a small tour in September of 2015 that spanned from Nashville to NYC, the band’s line-up changed and the early part of 2016 found the group playing more shows outside of the Buffalo area in nearby cities and college towns. The name change seemed inevitable as the band realized the popularity of the “wolf” name being used with other bands and songs, but it also felt right as the sound had developed from the project's earlier incarnation.
Thus Stress Dolls came to be. The band spent March of 2016 recording at GCR Audio with head engineer Justin Rose. The debut single, “Pills,” premiered on IMPOSE magazine’s website on August 18th and received positive reviews from publications such as Buffablog and The Public, and the subsequent self-titled EP was released on November 10th via CD and Bandcamp. Stress Dolls also made strides in live shows, playing on the main stage at Robby Takac’s Music is Art Festival, opening for national acts Shonen Knife, We Are Scientists, and USS, and playing numerous other shows while gaining a following in Buffalo and beyond.
Though the band's line-up dissolved in the beginning of 2017 due to the members pursuing their individual goals, O'Donnell decided to continue forward with the name and once again is flying solo. Stress Dolls kicked off the year with an announcement that the song "Curves & Edges" would be included on the CD "We Killed McKinley Vol. 2." The album served as a follow-up to 1988's "We Killed McKinley Vol. 1," which included tracks from bands such as the Goo Goo Dolls and Mark Freeland. 2017 also found O'Donnell collaborating with Brandon Schlia once again, and in April they released an electronic single titled "After the Party."