The following night after having seen Nice Try, IAN SWEET, and Frankie Cosmos, I found myself at Rock & Roll Hotel in the presence of yet another killer line-up. The bill consisted of Soccer Mommy, Stef Chura, and Jay Som- three artists that I have had on heavy rotation for the past few months.
Soccer Mommy is the moniker for 20-year old, Nashville-native and NYU student, Sophie Allison. She's been releasing music on bandcamp for the past few years, but released her first mini-EP via Fat Possum, entitled Collection earlier this year. Sophie's music is a blend of melancholic indie guitar music and catchy pop. With lyrics that are wistful and witty, Soccer Mommy knows how to grab your attention. Having just opened for The Districts and now Jay Som, Soccer Mommy is definitely a band to keep your eye on.
Their performance, much like Allison's music, felt as intimate as late-night conversations at 3 am. With fuzzy guitar riffs and hushed vocals, Soccer Mommy really taps into the rush of adolescence and young love. The band has the ability to transport you back to writing a crush's name on your notebook or passing notes in class. Not because the band is immature, but because Allison has flawlessly crafted and produced music that carries emotion in the tone of a secret.
Michigan band, Stef Chura, had a set that was as remarkable as it was human. Seeing them live really emphasized the effort and passion they put into their art, but in a way that feels natural. It was compelling to say the least. Vocalist/Guitarist, and namesake of the band, Stef, has one of the singular most interesting voices in music today. The timbre of her twangy vocals enveloped by the lo-fi murmur of the instruments creates a sound that is infectious and unique to Stef Chura.
I had been listening to the band since last semester, mainly through their bandcamp - which is now the only way to access their debut studio album, Messes. I would highly suggest checking it out and letting yourself get lost in their inimitable and spell-binding concoction of sound.
For the second time, Jay Som completely blew me away with their live performance. I had seen the band 6 months prior at DC9, with them playing for a considerably smaller crowd. Front-woman/complete badass, Melina Duterte, knows how to draw in an audience and deliver. The band puts on one of the best show experiences, with their banter, jokes, and charisma. They discuss things like whether a cheeto is a chip - I voted no, but have not stopped thinking about its categorization since. They also pretend to shoot imaginary basketballs into hoops made with their arms. If they are sounding a lot like you and your childhood best friend, it is because they basically are.
The energy shifts between the danceable, crowd-karaoke songs like "Baybee" and "The Bus Song" to allow for more ambient and heartfelt songs like "I Think You're Alright" and "For Light" to connect with everyone in the audience. Not only do her careful words and hook-filled melodies evoke the uncertainties and thrills of a relationship, but they do so in a way that tilts between the sunlight hitting your left arm on a road-trip and the sliver of moonlight slipping through your bedroom window.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, seeing Jay Som is a spiritual experience. Melina's unnatural gift to churn out such impressive pieces of "bedroom-pop" is an anomaly that I am happy to be witnessing.
Read my review from Jay Som's DC9 performance on 4.1.17 here!