Posts Tagged ‘Melina Duterte’

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Brand new indie rock band Bachelor, the duo project by Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and Palehound’s Ellen Kempner, have given us another preview of their upcoming debut LP Doomin’ Sun with the release of the song ‘Sick of Spiraling’.

“Sick of Spiraling is one of the last songs we wrote and recorded together in Topanga,” the duo say in a press release. “Both of us initially tried to play drums on the song but the groove wasn’t right so we enlisted help from James Krivchenia. He came over for a day and drummed on a few songs on the record, he really brought this song to life with his unique style. Ellen had the riff in her voice memos for a while and had originally imagined it as a slow kinda melancholic song. Once we got together and listened back to the riff we heard it a whole new way as an upbeat driving song. After that Ellen wrote lyrics inspired by driving on tour and the rush and anxiety of being completely untethered and unprotected on the open road.”

The palpable sense of menace is established with the opening lines “Walking alone at night/Clutching a cheap gas station knife/But the danger is in the car/Who couldn’t see me, it was too dark”. The near-death hit and run becomes a metaphor for the anxieties of a relationship where the mutual leaning on someone else leaves both parties scared out of their collective minds. This meditation on codependency comes courtesy of a laid back alt-rocker with a guitar line I swear I’ve heard in an episode of Spongebob. The second I heard it, a synapse fired in my brain that hadn’t been fired for at least a decade.

The band’s previous single’s, ‘Stay in the Car’, as well as their song ‘Anything At All’, along with their newest release. Bachelor is going on our first tour this year IF touring happens (hopefully) supporting Lucy Dacus.

Check out the official audio for ‘Sick of Spiraling’ Doomin’ Sun will be released on May 28th

May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'BACHELOR Ûug"A debut single "Anything At All" out now Lucky Number MULK'

Palehound (Ellen Kempner) and Jay Som (Melina Duterte) have joined forces for a new project, Bachelor, and shared their first single together via Polyvinyl, “Anything At All.” According to a press release, the two musicians began writing and recording together in pre-quarantine 2020, and they wrote, performed, and produced their new single entirely on their own.

“Anything At All” begins with sticky bass lines and steady cymbal hits, met with sparse moments of synth and clever lyrical imagery comparing a menacing adversary to a spider. Later, the track transitions into a swelling moment of head-bobbing instrumentation (in addition to a powerful guitar solo) while its infectious chorus rings out. The duo state in a press release: “We’re so excited to finally share this song with y’all and announce our new band! We’ve been dear friends and huge fans of each other for years and were lucky enough to get to work together in January 2020 before quarantine. We feel that ‘Anything At All’ is an even blend of our tastes and writing styles and to release it feels very hopeful and joyous to us.”

In related news, Palehound has a livestream event, a concert to commemorate the one-year anniversary of their cancelled US tour supporting Black Friday,

The last show Palehound played was at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco on March 11th 2020, halfway through a tour that felt like a blissful dream. Though news of the pandemic shone through our phones and the venue provided hand washing instructions to the lyrics of our songs, we had no idea that night would be the last time we’d play that setlist live. Since returning from tour, Ellen moved to upstate NY and started to work at a recording studio in Stanfordville NY called the Chicken Shack, owned and operated by Nick Kinsey. Back in October, we decided to make a video of us performing the set and decided to do it at the studio so we’d get a great recording of it. We’ve been sitting on it for a minute but it seems right to release it now around the year anniversary of our tour being cancelled. We really miss playing with each other and playing like for y’all and this feels like the closest we can get to that for now.

“Anything At All” is the debut single from Jay Som & Palehound’s new joint project, Bachelor, out now on Polyvinyl Records, Lucky Number, and Milk! Records.


When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott descended into a state of mourning. Her plan had been to join her partner, Jay Som’s Melina Duterte, as violinist on tour, a privilege rarely afforded since both maintain busy road schedules, and for Truscott, the prospect of spending most of the year in a van wasn’t met with exhaustion so much as exhilaration. At long last, she’d be making a living playing music, no side hustle needed. The cancellation of the tour represented a side lined dream.

Routine was born of this disappointment. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Truscott and Duterte’s collaborative project offers a glimpse of the creative possibilities that can emerge from a state of defeat. Written and recorded over the course of a month in Joshua Tree, Routine’s lush debut EP And Other Things finds the couple trying on new roles. Truscott, who plays bass in Chastity Belt, wrote the bulk of the material and sings on the EP, while Duterte, normally a band leader, used the project as an opportunity to, in her words, “Take the backseat,” as accompanist, producer, and engineer.

Duterte describes the making of the EP as “seamless.” In the mornings, Truscott sat outside of the cabin in the not-yet-blazing sun and worked out chord progressions on guitar while Duterte slept in. Staring out at the horizon, Truscott could see a smattering of houses and the sharp outline of a mountain range, but overall the property felt remote, far removed from home in Los Angeles. On long walks Truscott admired the recently bloomed spring flowers and pondered the legacy of friendships and experiences that made her. “I spend a lot of my time thinking about the people who’ve impacted my life,” she says. “Routine gave me an opportunity to explore those relationships through music.”

It was on one of these walks that Truscott began writing Cady Road, a contemplative, country-tinged pop song that urges listeners to sit in the discomfort of the present moment. “Relax / It’s fine / You don’t have to know this time,” Truscott sings on the chorus, reflecting on the un-suredness that gripped her in those early days of the pandemic. Duterte joins in harmony, giving a song about being alone with your thoughts a collaborative dimension. “In Annie’s songs I hear a yearning for something just out of reach, something unachievable,” Duterte says. “She’s such a great singer, so it felt good to just layer instruments to make her vision for it feel fully fleshed out.” That impulse is heard vividly on Cady Road, where an abundant arrangement accompanies Truscott, replete with the spry notes of a banjolele.

A true collaboration requires trust, intimacy, and patience, three elements that cohered almost mystically in the process of making this EP. “Melina is the most calming presence. She’s so good at sitting with silences in a conversation and just observing,” Truscott says. The quality not only makes Duterte a good partner, but also a good bandmate and producer. Calm and Collected is a tribute to that enviable ability to maintain serenity amidst the chaos of experience. Though it was written in Joshua Tree, Duterte and Truscott recorded it in the attic of their home in LA, where Duterte set up a studio in the free time afforded by the pandemic. The song is the quietest of the collection, a gentle ode underscored by atmospheric swaths of synth that swaddle the listener.

“I think of And Other Things as a series of vignettes,” Truscott says. “We aren’t telling one story here, we’re telling a series of short stories that people can hopefully relate to.” Asked how it feels to offer the EP up to the world during a time of major uncertainty in the music industry, Truscott offers only one word: “Cathartic.”

Jay Som mastermind Melina Duterte stars in the Han Hale-directed video as a weary traveling musician (a role she is well-equipped to play!) who, asleep in her band’s touring van, dreams she’s the leader of a group of suit-clad special agents on their way to investigate a mysterious, crop circle-esque pattern that has appeared in the wilderness. “Shifting through the nighttime drive / We’ll be just fine,” Duterte sings, her breathy vocals evoking the blurry state of being in between—sleep and waking, one city and another, late night and early morning—over gauzy guitars, playful bass plucks, and judiciously deployed piano and strings. Meanwhile, the video dives deeper and deeper into her imagination, ultimately uncovering the supernatural truth at the heart of the mystery.

Melina Duterte says that her single as Jay Som, “Nighttime Drive,” “basically encapsulated my entire life for the past two years.” It’s the latest slice of mellow dream pop from her sophomore album, Anak Ko, that came out August .

“Nighttime Drive” is taken from Jay Som’s new album, Anak Ko, out August 2019.

Melina Duterte aka Jay Som, photo by <a href="">Lissy Laricchia</a> for <a href="">INTERVIEW MAGAZINE</a>

Jay Som has announced the new 7″ single, “A Thousand Words” b/w “Can’t Sleep.” Both songs are from the sessions for her 2019 LP “Anak Ko”. The physical 7″ is out May 1st via Polyvinyl Records.

(aka Melina Duterte) released a new album, Anak Ko, last year via Polyvinyl Records. On Thursday she shared two new songs, “A Thousand Words” and “Can’t Sleep,” that were recorded during the sessions for Anak Ko but didn’t make the final tracklist. They will be released as two sides of a 7-inch single on May 1st via Polyvinyl. the quirky “Can’t Sleep” is definite B-side.

Duterte had this to say about “A Thousand Words” in a press release: “This song was made after a year of extensive touring plus a cancelled tour. I forced myself to make a sort of big and jovial song to bring me out of the funk I was in. I also wanted to remind myself that music can be fun! It was heavily inspired by Bruce Springsteen, Elliott Smith, Pavement and that song ‘Alright’ by Supergrass.”

Of “Can’t Sleep” she had this to say: “‘Can’t Sleep’ was made in August or September 2017 while I was living with my parents in between U.S. tours, before I moved to LA. I think I had all my gear packed away somewhere that I couldn’t access, so I used instruments left over in my childhood room: a broken acoustic guitar, chopsticks on a snare drum, a bad hi hat, and my trumpet. Everything was recorded through the laptop mic. I was pretty frustrated with the California heat and the fact that I couldn’t record properly, so this sort of fever dream song was born.”

Anak Ko will be Jay Som’s second full-length; she released her debut Everybody Works in 2017. In October 2019, she postponed her European Anak Ko tour, citing mental health concerns. Those dates have since been rescheduled for Spring 2020.

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.”


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.”


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="">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.