On Melina Duterte's 2017 debut as Jay Som, the 25-year-old was lauded for her intimate experimentation and expansive redefining of bedroom pop.

Jay Som - Superbike [OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO] youtu.be

Everybody Works, which was created in its entirety by Duterte, would at one moment have rolling orchestral symphonies ("Lipstick Stains") and then amalgamate indie-rock with grunge or R&B ("Take It," "Baybee"), all while maintaining Duterte's stark individuality. While the experimentation was overwhelming at times, none of it was fraudulent. Duterte's talent was unhinged, and all she had to do was decide where she wanted the Jay Som moniker to go.

On "Superbike," the lead single off of her sophomore triumph, Anak Ko, it feels like the hedges have been trimmed, and that fog has been lifted. While Anak Ko is more subtly tuned and lo-fi-influenced than its predecessor, it possesses a similar, albeit more refined, charm. "I feel more at peace with myself and I feel like I've done a lot of work mentally," she told London In Stereo. "I think that translates into my music and I just felt more like myself."

Jay Som - Tenderness [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO] youtu.be

Every ounce of Anak Ko is authentically indie rock, with just enough splashes of other genres to keep it interesting. The title track is a layered and beautifully muddled lo-fi slow-burn, with multiple listens unveiling the true breadth of Duterte's eye for detail. On the other end, tracks like "Devotion" and "Tenderness" are warm and charismatic. Yet while both those tracks bounce along effortlessly, Anak Ko's themes are significantly darker than its predecessor. The singer described of "Tenderness:" "[The song]'s definitely about scrolling on your phone and seeing a person and it just haunts you, you can't escape it." Similarly, "I'm sinking in my bed," Duterte sings over the beguiling folk chords of "Nighttime Drive," "so used to feeling numb."

Each song, while vastly different from the others, deals with heartbreak and loss in some capacity. Yet Duterte is never vindictive, only reflective and empathetic about the poor choices of the past, both her own and those of her former lovers. As the album closes out, "Get Well" offers a gratifying final moment of revelation that perfectly captures the final moment of a breakup when the anger finally seeps away. But for a record of only 9 tracks, this final moment comes suddenly, capturing the whirlwind of emotions that come with heartbreak and ending more abruptly than we anticipated. "Get well, I hope you can," she coos, "I've been sick like you, I've had my share."

MUSIC

Sheer Mag's "Hardly To Blame" Is a Cutting Ode to Heartbreak

Sheer Mag is known for revitalizing Classic Rock sounds for modern audiences, thanks to their American rock 'n roll attitude and groovy, no-frills licks.

Marie Lin

Philadelphia's Sheer Mag has released "Hardly To Blame," the latest single and video from their upcoming sophomore release, A Distant Call.

In "Hardly To Blame," the band continues to deliver heavy power-pop and bold convictions, albeit with more intimacy and melancholy than usual. Singer Tina Halladay pines over a collapsed relationship, addressing her former partner about the "landmarks of you" that make a break up that much more painful. The track laments the loss of familiarity and the haunting feeling of loneliness that prevails after heartbreak.

The video, directed by Jonathan Arturo, blends black and white images of a brokenhearted Halladay wandering city streets with in-color footage of the band performing. Guitarist Matt Palmer reflected:

"'In 'Hardly To Blame' we see the psychic landscape of Philadelphia transformed by the collapse of [vocalist Tina Halladay]'s relationship with her partner. The streets they used to walk together, the bars they used to drink at, and the friends they used to share have all been tainted by the lingering memories of their time together...'Hardly to Blame' gives us a glimpse at someone who thinks they've hit bedrock, unaware that the bottom is about to drop out."

Sheer Mag is known for revitalizing Classic Rock sounds for modern audiences, thanks to their American rock 'n roll attitude and groovy, no-frills licks. As with previous single, "Blood from a Stone," the band's upcoming record promises more of their signature scuzzy tunes, '70s riffs, and Halladay's raspy, soulful vocals.

A Distant Call is out August 23 via Wilsuns Record Company.

Sheer Mag- Hardly to Blame www.youtube.com



MUSIC

Fresh Music Friday: 10 New Songs To Beat Summertime Sadness

New releases to heat up your weekend!

TAYLOR HILL/GETTY IMAGES

Fresh Music Friday is here to give you a breakdown of new singles, EPs, and albums to check out as you make your way into the weekend.

Get ready to jam out with some of our favorite up-and-coming artists, plus celebrate new releases from those you already know and love.

1. Lil Nas X - "Panini"

Lil Nas X isn't stopping anytime soon. In anticipation of his forthcoming EP, the country-rap pop sensation released a new single called "Panini," which incorporates Nirvana's "In Bloom."

2. Mark Ronson - "Pieces Of Us" Feat. King Princess

Mark Ronson's new album, Late Night Feelings, is out this week and features an impressive list of features from artists like Camila Cabello, Lykke Li, and Miley Cyrus. The legendary producer tapped singer/songwriter King Princess for the soulful, atmospheric single "Pieces of Us."

3. Spoon - "No Bullets Spent"

Everyone's favorite indie rock band, Spoon, is gearing up to put out an album of greatest hits called Everything Hits At Once that will feature 12 classics, plus a new song entitled "No Bullet Spent." The new track harnesses much of the same laid back, melodic energy that made the early Spoon records so lovable and compliments the early Spoon catalog well.

4. Devendra Banhart - "Kantory Ongaku"

Devendra Banhart recently announced that he has a new album in the works entitled Ma, and this week he shared the first single from the new collection, "Kantori Ongaku." It's a quintessentially mellow Banhart track with lackadaisical vocals to match and, according to the singer, it's an homage to Japanese musician Haruomi Horsono. Ma is out September 13th on Nonesuch.

5. Sheer Mag - "Blood From A Stone"

Philadelphia shredders Sheer Mag are back with the first glimpse of their upcoming sophomore album, A Distant Call, by sharing a blistering new single called "Blood From A Stone." Relentless and riff-heavy as always, "Blood From A Stone" is a promising glimpse of Sheer Mag tapping into their unbridled potential on the forthcoming record to secure their status as one of the most exciting rock bands in the game. A Distant Call is out August 23rd on Wilsuns RC.

6. Caroline Polachek- "Door"

For the first time, Caroline Polachek (formerly of Chairlift) has released a new solo song under her full name. The new track is called "Door" and showcases Polachek's signature airy falsetto, which floats through a bright, chirpy hook uplifted by scuttling synthesized beats. The song is accompanied by a seriously enchanting music video co-directed by Polachek and Matt Copson.

7. Beeef - "I'm So Sorry" (featuring Sidney Gish)

Allston indie rock quartet, Beeef, teamed up with DIY juggernaut Sidney Gish to put out a new single called "I'm So Sorry." It's a breezy but heartfelt coming-of-age track helmed by Beeef's jangly melodic sound and Gish's bittersweet vocal delivery. "I'm So Sorry" is Beeef's lead single from their upcoming sophomore LP entitled Bull in the Shade, due out July 26th.

8. The Ocean Blue - "It Takes So Long"

Dream pop legends The Ocean Blue are back with their first new album in six years––Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves. "It Takes So Long" is the last single from the LP and it hearkens back to the band's '80s new wave sound while presenting a fresh spin on nostalgic indie pop. "It Takes So Long" weaves Schlezel's effortlessly emotive vocals with the band's jangly guitar melodies awash in warm tones; the result is a dreamy, seraphic tune. Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves is out now via Korda records.

9. HUNJIYA - "give it/what i get"

HUNJIYA aka Alice Kim's latest offering comes in the form of a new single called "give it/what i get," the follow-up to her 2017 EP, Lineage. On the new song, the 21-year-old artist deftly creates an atmospheric soundscape by combining soulful vocals with her enticing production skills.

10. REYNA - "The Way I Loved You"

If you're craving some more sugar rush pop and have exhausted listening to the latest Carly Rae Jepsen album, you might want to look to REYNA. The Milwaukee-based Mexican-American sister-duo is back with another glossy, '80s-inspired electro-pop song. Their new track "The Way I Loved You" continues their string of infectious, glimmering pop following previously released singles "Cool With It," "Baby Forget It" and "Heartbeat." Here's what Reyna had to say about the song: "TWILY is about wanting to love someone new with that same intensity, without caution or fear. But it's almost impossible because every new relationship you're more and more guarded. It's almost like you're protecting your heart instead of letting yourself fall in love."


MUSIC

The Future of Rock Is Female

Before rock n' roll died, frontwomen helped shape the genre's golden age. Now these rising indie acts could revive its glory.

The Ringer

We can reconcile with the facts: rock is dead, hip-hop is America's most popular music genre, and Twenty One Pilots won't stop making music.

With Panic! At The Disco's shrill techno and Imagine Dragons' synthesizers claiming multiple top 10 spots on Billboard's rock chart, "it's clear that people don't know what rock is anymore." But where are the aspiring female rockers chasing the legends of Patti Smith and Linda Perry? With only one female artist claiming a spot in what Billboard calls its top 50 rock songs, today's bastardization of rock music is also a bleak boys' club.

Courtney Barnett - Charity youtu.be

Spot the women artists topping the charts these days, and at first glance, there's reason to celebrate the "female pop prodigies taking the world by storm." Look at today's most influential female music icons: Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga– they're almost exclusively relegated to the pop charts. Rock music is not a means of commercial success for modern female artists. But even with rampant misogyny infecting the music industry at large, female rockers enjoyed a golden age just decades ago. Gaining momentum in the 70s and 80s with frontwomen like Stevie Nicks, Debby Harry, and Joan Jett, rock's cultural legacy of punchy rebellion and artists' nonconformity was shaped by female rockers well into the 90s, which ushered in the likes of Kim Gordon, PJ Harvey, The Breeders, and Courtney Love.

Far from rock's innovative roots in blending genres to create disruptive new sounds, today's pop music works by formula. Now we have Ariana Grande placed on the same shelf of music history as The Beatles after she invaded the pop charts' top three slots with three consecutive singles. The pop diva's music utterly lacks creativity or unique style, but that's the secret to dominating the industry. To quote Brooke Johnson, "the indistinct nature of her music is one of its greatest strengths: in sounding like nothing, it sounds like everything, perfectly tapping into the algorithms streaming platforms use to promote music to listeners."

Snail Mail - "Pristine" (Official Lyric Video) youtu.be

Currently, Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O is the only modern female artist represented in rock charts' top 50, with her and Danger Mouse's mellow track "Turn the Light." We're clearly nostalgic for the female rockers of the past, with Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" re-entering the charts in fourteenth place. The 1977 track is one of only a few songs credited to every member of the band, including Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie.

Looking toward the future, female rock has lost the momentum of the early 2000s when the mainstream embraced Florence Welsh as the front woman of the English indie rock band Florence and the Machine. But in the last five years, there have been stirrings of hope in the indie rock circuit. Female and non-binary acts like Snail Mail, Courtney Barnett, Palehound, Cherry Glazerr, and Sheer Mag evoke the golden age of rock n' roll with growing acclaim. When The New York Times published that "women are making the best rock music today," they gathered 25 bands "working just below the mainstream" who "are making music about tactile emotion, rousing politics, and far more," including misogyny, abortion, and the rock n' roll staples of sex and heartbreak.

SHEER MAG - Fan The Flames (Official Video) youtu.be

Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan thinks of her style simply: "I have a lot of self-awareness and not a lot of shame." Sheer Mag's Christina Halladay described modern audience's responses to seeing female rockers on stage: "Teenage boys are very upset." That very shake-up of the genre could be the key to recovering its glory. If women break onto the charts and into the boys' club of modern rock's facsimiles (thanks, Greta Van Fleet), the resurrection of rock could be female.


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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