Posts Tagged ‘Melina Duterte’

Pendant is the new project of Oakland based Christopher Adams (calculator, Never Young, Dye). ‘Through A Coil’ is the debut full-length album from Pendant. The album was recorded and mixed by Melina Duterte of Jay Som.
‘Through A Coil’ will release on Tiny Engines in November of 2019. formerly of the noisy rock band Never Young. In a couple months, he’ll release his debut album, Through A Coil, which was recorded with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte.

He’s sharing its title track, a fuzzy blowout that rips and roars and takes over your entire head as Adams’ voice peeks through the layers with spiritualistic mantras: “Oh, the lives we never live/ And the ones we have to come/ Sing and weep concurrently/ In rotation through a coil.” – Stereogum

“Recorded by Melina Duterte of Jay Som fame, Pendant melds tender songwriting with an atmosphere that plunges the listener right in to the heart of the compositions…a muted display of guitar-pop, laced with a poignancy that becomes more prevalent with each passing, somewhat faded hook.” – Gold Flake Paint

Pendant is the project of Christopher Adams (calculator, Never Young, Dye). Through A Coil is the debut full-length album from Pendant. Recorded and mixed by Melina Duterte of Jay Som.
The album will release on Tiny Engines in November of 2019.

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Chastity Belt’s energy is like a circuit, circling around the silly and the sincere. Tongue-in-cheek shit-shooting and existential rumination feed into each other infinitely.

Theirs is a long-term relationship, and that loop sustains them. That’s a creative thesis in and of itself, but isn’t that also just the mark of a true-blue friendship?

The band talks a lot about intention these days—how to be more present with each other. The four piece—Julia Shapiro (vocals, guitar, drums), Lydia Lund (vocals, guitar), Gretchen Grimm (drums, vocals, guitar) and Annie Truscott (bass)—is nine years deep in this, after all. It seems now, more than ever, that circuit is a movement of intentionality, one that creates a space inside which they can be themselves, among themselves. It’s a space where the euphoria of making music with your best friends is protected from the outside world’s churning expectations. It’s a kind of safe zone for the band to occupy as their best selves: a group of friends who love each other.

Their fourth record, Chastity Belt, comes out of that safe space. After a restorative few months on hiatus in 2018, each member worked on solo material or toured with other bands. “So much of the break was reminding ourselves to stay present, and giving ourselves permission to stop without saying when were gonna meet up again,” says guitarist Lydia Lund. “It was so important to have that—not saying, ‘we’re gonna get back together at this point,’ but really just open it up so we could get back to our present connection.”

Their discography is an album-by-album documentation of a manic desire for human connection that invariably leads to the slow unhinging of the ego—and by extension, a constant series of self-destructive choices; this is explored at length on the indelibly sad 2017 album I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. On their self-titled, fourth LP, the Seattle band don’t get any closer to clarity, but they do arrive at an emotional détente of sorts: there won’t be any catharsis, at least not yet, or perhaps, never.

Chastity Belt’s sound has flattened out since their earliest releases, the sonics becoming more insular as the moods became more nebulous. Here, working alongside producer Melina Duterte  the group imbue their songs with a superficial serenity that’s similar in feel to vocalist and guitarist Julia Shapiro’s recent solo record, Perfect Version. The songs on Chastity Belt flow seamlessly into each other, drifting along on an even ebb of gentle rhythms and even gentler vocals; Shapiro has dropped her bellows and spends more time singing in her higher registers.

Chastity Belt’s placid surface is further emphasized by Shapiro’s tendency to repeat platitudes in her lyrics, almost as if she’s talking to herself. “It takes time to really get it right / Let go of control,” she sings on the dreamy “It Takes Time,” her voice hovering lightly over a lazy looping guitar line as the band sinks into the amorphous atmospherics behind her. But the surface-level tranquility serves only to obscure. Later, on the brutally pretty self-critique “Drown,” Shapiro softly confesses what’s been true all along: “Repeated meaningless words don’t work / Speech is pointless.”

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There’s nothing glamorous about the personality crisis happening on Chastity Belt: We’re not drowning our sorrows on a Grecian isle, we’re just going to the bar in a Toyota Rav-4 (“Rav-4.”) This is a record about giving up, with no anticipation of better things on the horizon. But at least we’re among friends. Chastity Belt derive their singular strength from group solidarity, and on this self-titled release they circle the wagons in an even more rigid lockstep, their deepening musical bond offering temporary shelter from the perpetual blues. The generosity between the players on Chastity Belt suggests that, if there is any way to be saved from disappearing completely in a lonely world, it’s through the healing energy of the group hug, or, in this case, the rock band.

Their experience navigating adult life within the strange seasons of the music industry has Chastity Belt orienting themselves towards whatever gets them to feel the most present with each other, in any part of the band grind. With the luxury of spending several weeks in the studio with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte, Chastity Belt was able to experiment. The new self-titled album is the work of the band playing “old songs, and trying new things on top of it,” like adding more dynamic harmonies and violin, says bassist Annie Truscott. Lydia, Gretchen, and Julia all share lead vocals on different tracks on the album. The result is their most sonically developed and nuanced record yet; one that’s not only a product of, but a series of reflections on what it means to take what you need and to understand yourself better.

Many of Chastity Belt’s signature dynamics, from the silly to the sincere, have read as feminist gestures: the Cool Slut DGAF-iness, the shrugging off of the “women in rock” press gargle, the fundamentally punk act of creating music on your own as a woman, and being lyrically forthright. What the making of Chastity Belt reveals is that the band has tapped into a deeper tradition of women making art on their terms: the act of self-preservation in favor of the long game. In favor of each other. In this cultural moment, taking space like this to prioritize the love over the product seems progressive. Chastity Belt’s intentions have resulted in an album deeply expressive of four people’s commitment to what they love most: making music with each other.

Melina Duterte is a master of voice: Hers are dream pop songs that hint at a universe of her own creation. Recording as Jay Som since 2015, Duterte’s world of shy, swirling intimacies always contains a disarming ease, a sky-bent sparkle and a grounding indie-rock humility. In an era of burnout, the title track of her 2017 breakout, Everybody Works, remains a balm and an anthem.

Duterte’s life became a whirlwind in the wake of Everybody Works. After spending her teen years and early 20s exploring an eclectic array of musical styles—studying jazz trumpet as a child, carrying on her Filipino family tradition of spirited karaoke, and quietly recording indie-pop songs in her bedroom alone—that accomplished album found her playing festivals around the world, sharing stages with the likes of Paramore, Death Cab for Cutie, and Mitski.

In November of 2017, seeking a new environment, Duterte left her home of the Bay Area for Los Angeles. There, she demoed new songs, while also embracing opportunities to do session work and produce, engineer, and mix for other artists (like Sasami, Chastity Belt). Reckoning with the relative instability of musicianhood, Duterte turned inward, tuning ever deeper into her own emotions and desires as a way of staying centered through huge changes. She found a community; she fell in love. And for an artist whose career began after releasing her earliest collection of demos—2015’s hazy but exquisitely crafted Turn Into—in a fit of drunken confidence on Thanksgiving night, she finally quit drinking for good. “I feel like a completely different person,” she reflects. Positivity was a way forward.

The striking clarity of her new music reflects that shift. After months of poring over pools of demos, Duterte, now 25, essentially started over. She wrote most of her brilliant new album, “Anak Ko”—pronounced Anuhk-Ko—in a burst during a self-imposed week-long solo retreat to Joshua Tree. As in the past, Duterte recorded at home (in some songs, you can hear the washer/dryer near her bedroom) and remained the sole producer, engineer, and mixer. But for the first time, she recruited friends—including Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott, Justus Proffitt, Boy Scouts’ Taylor Vick, as well as bandmates Zachary Elasser, Oliver Pinnell and Dylan Allard—to contribute additional vocals, drums, guitars, strings, and pedal steel. Honing in on simplicity and groove, refining her skills as a producer, Duterte cracked her sound open subtly, highlighting its best parts: She’s bloomed.

Inspired by the lush, poppy sounds of 80s bands such as Prefab Sprout, the Cure, and Cocteau Twins—as well as the ecstatic guitarwork of contemporary Vancouver band Weed—Anak Ko sounds dazzlingly tactile, and firmly present. The result is a refreshingly precise sound. On the subtly explosive “Superbike,” Duterte aimed for the genius combination of “Cocteau Twins and Alanis Morissette”—“letting loose,” she says, over swirling shoegaze. “Night Time Drive” is a restless road song, but one with a sense of contentedness and composure, which “basically encapsulated my entire life for the past two years,” she says—always moving, but “accepting it, being a little stronger from it.” (She sings, memorably, of “shoplifting at the Whole Foods.”) Duterte focused more on bass this time: “I just wanted to make a more groovy record,” she notes.

The slow-burning highlight “Tenderness” begins minimally, like a slightly muffled phone call, before flowering into a bright, jazzy earworm. Duterte calls it “a feel-good, funky, kind of sexy song” in part about “the curse of social media” and how it complicates relationships. “That’s definitely about scrolling on your phone and seeing a person and it just haunts you, you can’t escape it,” Duterte says. “I have a weird relationship to social media and how people perceive me—as this person that has a platform, as a solo artist, and this marginalized person. That was really getting to me. I wanted to express those emotions, but I felt stifled. I feel like a lot of the themes of the songs stemmed from bottled up emotions, frustration with yourself, and acceptance.”

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The title, Anak Ko, means “my child” in Tagalog, one of the native dialects in the Philippines. It was inspired by an unassuming text message from Duterte’s mother, who has always addressed her as such: Hi anak ko, I love you anak ko. “It’s an endearing thing to say, it feels comfortable,” Duterte reflects, likening the process of creating and releasing an album, too, to “birthing a child.” That sense of care charges Anak Ko, as does another concept Duterte has found herself circling back to: the importance of patience and kindness.

“In order to change, you’ve got to make so many mistakes,” Duterte says, reflecting on her recent growth as an artist with a zen-like calm. “What’s helped me is forcing myself to be even more peaceful and kind with myself and others. You can get so caught up in attention, and the monetary value of being a musician, that you can forget to be humble. You can learn more from humility than the flashy stuff. I want kindness in my life. Kindness is the most important thing for this job, and empathy.”

Released August 23rd, 2019

Jay Som (aka Melina Duterte) is releasing a new album, “Anak Ko”, on August 23rd via Polyvinyl Records. Previously she shared its first single, “Superbike,” via a lyric video for the track. This week she shared another song from the album, the dreamy “Tenderness,” . Weird Life produced and directed the video.

In a press release Duterte says “Tenderness” is “a feel-good, funky, kind of sexy song” that is in part about “the curse of social media” and how it affects relationships. “That’s definitely about scrolling on your phone and seeing a person and it just haunts you, you can’t escape it,” Duterte adds. “I have a weird relationship to social media and how people perceive me-as this person that has a platform, as a solo artist, and this marginalized person. That was really getting to me. I wanted to express those emotions, but I felt stifled. I feel like a lot of the themes of the songs stemmed from bottled up emotions, frustration with yourself, and acceptance.”

Anak Ko is the follow-up to 2017’s acclaimed Everybody Works, also on Polyvinyl (among most bloggers Top 100 Albums of 2017). Duterte was based in the Bay Area, but relocated to Los Angeles prior to recording the new album. She recorded Anak Ko at home as the sole producer, engineer, and mixer. A previous press release pointed out that “in some songs, you can hear the washer/dryer near her bedroom.” Although it wasn’t a completely solitary affair, the album also features plenty of guests, including Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott, Justus Proffit, and Boy Scouts’ Taylor Vick, as well as her touring bandmates Zachary Elasser, Oliver Pinnell, and Dylan Allard.

The album’s title is pronounced “Ah-nuh Koh,” which means “my child” in Filipino. It was inspired by a text message from Duterte’s mother, who often addresses her as “anak ko.” “It’s an endearing thing to say, it feels comfortable,” Duterte said in the previous press release.

In the press release Duterte said the album is about the importance of patience and kindness and that those concepts have helped her growth as an artist. “In order to change, you’ve got to make so many mistakes,” she said. “What’s helped me is forcing myself to be even more peaceful and kind with myself and others. You can get so caught up in attention, and the monetary value of being a musician, that you can forget to be humble. You can learn more from humility than the flashy stuff. I want kindness in my life. Kindness is the most important thing for this job, and empathy.”

For “Superbike,” Duterte’s aim was to merge Cocteau Twins and Alanis Morissette for a song that she said lets “loose over swirling shoegaze. I came up with the vocal melody while chopping onions during a rare snowstorm in Joshua Tree, definitely one of my favorite memories from making the album.”

The album is due out in North America on Polyvinyl, in Australia/New Zealand/Asia via Pod/Inertia Music, and in the rest of the world via Lucky Number.

Back in February Jay Som also shared a brand new song, “Simple,” that was released as part of the Adult Swim Singles series. That song is not featured on the new album. Last year Jay Som teamed up with Justus Proffit for a collaborative EP, Nothing’s Changed.

Jay Som’s new album, Anak Ko, out August 23rd, 2019.

Melina Duterte aka Jay Som, photo by <a href="https://www.lindseybyrnes.com/">Lindsey Byrnes</a>

Melina Duterte, the artist better known as Jay Som, has announced a new record called Anak Ko (“my child” in Tagalog). The follow-up to 2017’s Everybody Works is out August 23rd (via Polyvinyl Records). she’s shared the record’s first single “Superbike.” It arrives with a video that features a behind-the-scenes look into the making of Anak Ko.

Melina Duterte recorded, produced, engineered, and mixed Anak Ko at her Los Angeles home. It includes contributions from Vagabon, Justus Proffit, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott, and Boy Scout’s Taylor Vick, as well as her Jay Som bandmates Zachary Elasser, Oliver Pinnell, and Dylan Allard. According to a press release, the title was inspired by a text message from her mother, who often tells her, “Hi anak ko, I love you anak ko.”

“Superbike” hops and skips across the shoegaze spectrum, starting out jangly and pretty before winding up in a gauzy drone. The result is intoxicating, with all eyes on upcoming album  Anak Ko.

“Superbike” is taken from Jay Som’s new album, Anak Ko, out August 23rd, 2019.

This week Jay Som (aka Melina Duterte) announced a new album, Anak Ko, and shared its first single, “Superbike,” via a video for the track. She has also announced some tour dates.

For “Superbike,” Duterte’s aim was to merge Cocteau Twins and Alanis Morissette for a song that in a press release she says lets “loose over swirling shoegaze. I came up with the vocal melody while chopping onions during a rare snowstorm in Joshua Tree, definitely one of my favorite memories from making the album.”

Anak Ko is the follow-up to 2017’s acclaimed Everybody Works, also on Polyvinyl Records . Duterte was based in the Bay Area, but relocated to Los Angeles prior to recording the new album. She recorded Anak Ko at home as the sole producer, engineer, and mixer. A press points out that “in some songs, you can hear the washer/dryer near her bedroom.” Although it wasn’t a completely solitary affair, the album also features plenty of guests, including Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott, Justus Proffit, and Boy Scouts’ Taylor Vick, as well as her touring bandmates Zachary Elasser, Oliver Pinnell, and Dylan Allard.

The album’s title is pronounced “Ah-nuh Koh,” which means “my child” in Filipino. It was inspired by a text message from Duterte’s mother, who often addresses her as “anak ko.” “It’s an endearing thing to say, it feels comfortable,” Duterte says in a press release.

In the press release Duterte says the album is about the importance of patience and kindness and that those concepts have helped her growth as an artist. “In order to change, you’ve got to make so many mistakes,” she says. “What’s helped me is forcing myself to be even more peaceful and kind with myself and others. You can get so caught up in attention, and the monetary value of being a musician, that you can forget to be humble. You can learn more from humility than the flashy stuff. I want kindness in my life. Kindness is the most important thing for this job, and empathy.”.

Back in February Jay Som shared a brand new song, “Simple,” that was released as part of the Adult Swim Singles series. That song is not featured on the new album. Last year Jay Som teamed up with Justus Proffit for a collaborative EP, Nothing’s Changed.

“Superbike” is taken from Jay Som’s new album, Anak Ko, out August 23rd, 2019. via Polyvinyl. 

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Jay Som’s “Turn The Other Cheek” technically came out in May of 2017, as part of the Our First 100 Days compilation, a collection of 100 songs from 100 artists that were released following President Trump’s first 100 days in office. All profits raised from the project would go to benefit causes that, even then, were threatened by Trump’s policies: the climate, women’s rights, immigration and fairness.

“Turn The Other Cheek” is now widely available for streaming, and it offers a jarring chance to reflect on how much worse things have gotten since those first 100 days. It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when the depravity of the administration could still surprise us, before the knowledge of child detention camps and apocalyptic climate policies and overwhelmingly illegal campaign activities were commonplace.

But listening to Melina Duterte’s tender, slinky little ballad, it feels like it’s broadcast from a different world. In some ways it is—the song comes to us from a time when a small part of the population believed that Biblical ascription of neighborly love could act as a ward against the administration’s cruelty; that they could, indeed, be killed with kindness. The song now feels like a different sort of broadcast, one that warns of the eroding effects of Trump’s unending cruelty. “If you think I’m not scared, think again / I’m just a wreck, I can’t fight, I won’t try,” Jay Som sings. That’s a scarier thought now more than ever.

Jay Som’s single, “Turn The Other Cheek,” originally part of the Our First 100 Days comp

With Valentine’s Day coming up and whether you’re single or coupled the day can bring on complicated mixture of memories, regrets and desires. The latest from Oakland-based dream-pop artist Jay Som depicts a specific kind of romantic encounter in a bright, meandering tune.

“Hot Bread” is featured on Love Me Not, one of two playlists (the other is called Love Me) that Amazon Music has compiled in honor of Valentine’s Day. As the titles suggest, each playlist offers a different take on love. But Jay Som’s track isn’t a gushing ode to romance or a lamentation on lost love; instead, “Hot Bread” deals with tricky, blurry feelings that fall somewhere in between.

Jay Som, aka Melina Duterte, says the song is about having a one night stand with a former lover. In the first two lines, she sings, “Will you dance with me, Jen? You won’t have to see me leave again.”

Duterte’s pleading voice and pensive guitar give the tune a light, vintage feel with a tinge of sadness. About halfway through, whistling and trumpets interrupt the song with a cheery melody, jolting you out of the melancholy chorus. Duterte says that she enjoys making songs with themes or light guidelines and that this track was “insanely fun” to write and record.

“My new microphone arrived just in time to track the song,” she says. “The warm and dry ’70s tone inspired me to make a chill but optimistic arrangement with simple lyrics … I also named the song after one of my favorite things in the world.”

“Hot Bread” concludes with Duterte repeating the line, “You’re always gonna be here,” though it’s not clear whether this means her former lover will forever be the one who got away or if their relationship has been saved. Regardless of the outcome, her ex’s “powerful love” has sunken in once again, leaving the artist feeling as scattered as the piano notes at the end of her song.

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Indie-pop powerhouse Melina Duterte, aka Jay Som, shared more new music this week via Pirouette, a 7-inch featuring outtakes from the “Everybody Works” sessions. She also released the b-side, a lovely jam titled “O.K., Meet Me Underwater.” It opens with a cascading Duterte guitar line that soon drops away, supplanted by her hushed vocals, steady bass and show-stealing percussion. The song transforms in unpredictable and exciting ways, rippling and changing like liquid. “If you’re feeling okay, meet me underwater,” Duterte urges, an invitation to immersion.

The A-side, “Pirouette,” an upbeat rock number with a great breakdown that rides on dreamy guitar arpeggios, has already been available . With the single’s official release Friday, the B-side, “O.K., Meet Me Underwater,” is now out too. The track features a similarly beautiful, but more characteristically laid-back groove, and works as a great compliment to “Pirouette.”

Listen to “O.K., Meet Me Underwater”

Two never-before-released songs recorded during the same sessions as Jay Som’s breakout debut “Everybody Works”, which landed on Best of 2017 lists from nearly everyone this year including Pitchfork, NPR, Stereogum, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, and a slew of others.

Musically, these tracks would have been equally at home on that record, as they highlight how Melina Duterte has “perfected that tricky balance between polished ambition and lo-fi charm.”

“Both of these tracks were made during the spring of 2016 – the first demo stages for Everybody Works. They were fun to write and record but felt out of place on the track​ ​list during the finalization of the album. These tracks remain close to my heart and I’m really grateful they’re finally out in the world.” – Melina Duterte

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