When I was younger I spent a lot of time in my bedroom studying onanism. I still have an interest and sometimes wonder what young people do in their bedrooms these days. If you listen to bandcamp it would appear a lot of the youth of today spend many hours in their bedrooms… writing music? Recently I travelled to New York for the first time and had the opportunity to see some live music at the Bowery Ballroom in Delancey Street Lower Manhattan.
First on the bill was SOCCER MOMMY a girl from Nashville who has a singular whiney bedroom voice on bandcamp.Tonight with a full band and a new record COLLECTION she is ready to sassy out of the bedroom door. With her 4-piece band her voice and music take on a much grander quality although she returns for a 2-song solo of beautifully sad bedroom pop.
STEF CHURA (song list) is up next having released her first album MESSES earlier this year on urinal records. While CHURA has a feminine Clark Kent look it is immediately clear she is the the real axman shedder. What a commanding presence fronting her band. She has a curling stretching vocal range when she wants it. But more often it is her yelps and mumbled croons delivered in perfect syncopation with her guitar fretwork that deliver the killer punch line. There are some really great songs here full of her trademark “emotional collage” TIME 2 GO is an early standout while title track MESSES a is grunged up menacing sea of pain and hurt that somehow in the end delivers acceptance . Penultimate song SPEEDING TICKET is pure song writing genius (if you like your heart wrapped in a bear trap). While her LP may be called a debut album you get the idea CHURA has been writing these songs since her birth Fender in hand.
Headliner JAY SOM fronted by 23-year-old Melinda Duterte take the stage as a 4-piece. They have a striped sunlit sound reminiscent of the Go-Betweens. While Duterte may have written and recorded LP EVERYBODY WORKS in her bedroom studio in solitude it is no Portnoys Complaint. Every song is a novella more in the vein of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Modern life in its enormous challenging entirety put to music and enunciated in a Francoise Hardy or Kirsten Hirsh vocal. Duterte easily makes the transition to full band who put on a dense and dynamic gig full of angular yet atmospheric arrangements. Jay Som open with song EVERYBODY WORKS and deliver a truely beautiful song list of most songs on the new album . They also throw in last years release I THINK YOU’R EALRIGHT to great applause. It’s like they have been around for years not less than a year!
When I initially arrived in NYC I felt I was probably 40 years too late with venues like CBGB’s already closed for 10 years. Tonight catching the L Train home to Williamsburg at 2am my initial thoughts were dispelled having seen three bands that made such a formidable transition from bedroom musical onanism to a full stage sound. I think my ride is right on time this night.