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Archive for the ‘Jay Som’ Category

[CANCELLED: September 9, 2021] Bachelor

indexBachelor is the lockdown-inspired collaboration between Palehound’s Ellen Kempner and Jay Som’s Melina Duterte.  Their song “Stay in the Car” is one of my favorites this year.  I was excited to see both of these great women in a small venue like The Foundry.

Then on Friday August 13th, they sent out this message.

Unfortunately, the Event Organizer has had to cancel your event.

With this follow up on their Instagram

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Bachelor will no longer be hitting the road for the following shows. However, Ellen will still be supporting @lucydacus as @palehound on the first leg of her tour. Tickets for our headline shows will be refunded at point of purchase. Please get vaccinated and stay safe.

So that was a bummer.  Hope they can rebound and do more shows next year.

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[ATTENDED: October 29, 2019] Jay Som

A few years ago, I listened to a podcast on All Songs Considered, in which they talked about Jay Som, Japanese Breakfast and Mitski as being similarly-minded songwriters.

I made a point to try to see all three of them and Jay Som was my third.  I feel like her songs might be the most commercial-sounding (I mean, “Superbike” is awesome!) and yet she played in the smallest venue of the three.  But the fans were really into the show!

Jay Som is the creation of Melina Duterte.  She came out last after her band set up and checked out to make sure everything was cool.  When she came out on stage there was much applause and she thanked us for coming to her show while Sum 41 was playing downstairs.  he said that she and the band checked out a few songs before their set started.  Actually their set was so short, they could have easily gone down afterward and heard more.

Up on stage with her were Oliver Pinnell on guitar, Zachary Elsasser on drums and Dylan Allard on bass and keys.  There was also a fifth person on stage.  A woman.  And that’s all I really know about her.  I’m sure she was introduced, but I never caught her name.  And, because of the position of the keyboard rack, I literally never saw her face.  She played keys and bass.  When she stood in front of the keys, the upper keyboard blocked her face and when Dylan played keys, he totally blocked her.  So, apologies, unknown band member. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 29, 2019] Boy Scouts

I had heard a song by Boy Scouts on NPR and I was pretty happy they were going to open for Jay Som.

Traffic was a little heavy and I feared that since another band [SUM 41!] were playing in the main part of the building, that it would be tough finding parking. But I got a spot and made it up to The Foundry with no problem. I wound up right behind a short person who was against the fence.

Boy Scouts is basically the creation of Oakland-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Taylor Vick.  She writes delicate, harmony-laced folk and sings in a gentle tone.

I really enjoyed that the songs were simple but not obvious.  There was usually something unexpected in the song that kept it from being monotonous.  Whether it was an unexpected pause before a beat or just the way she stretched out a chord at the end of a line.

She also played some unexpected chords–or at least unexpected high on the neck of the guitar. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: JAY SOM-Tiny Desk Concert #634 (July 10, 2017).

I’d heard Jay Som’s “The Bus Song” and one other song from a few years back.  There was much I liked about the song.  I like the way the whole band chants “but I like the bus” during the second verse but more impressive is the way the chorus soars to great high notes (even more unexpected is the high notes that come from drummer Zachary Elsasser.

But aside from that I didn’t know much about Jay Som

Jay Som is the project of 23-year-old Melina Duterte, who has been creating music for the past 10 years or so on a multitude of instruments, from guitar to trumpet. Though she played every instrument on her newest record Everybody Works, her touring band here at the Tiny Desk gave a rougher edge to some of the more premeditated sounds on her wonderful album.

I know “The Bus Song” from All Songs Considered and that’s because:

Of the three songs they chose to bring to the Tiny Desk, one was a personal favorite from Everybody Works: “The Bus Song,” which is a perfect swirl of stream-of-consciousness:

Take your time
Won’t be long till our car breaks down
Your hands in mine
Feel like a firefighter when I take off your shoes

Before concluding with a thoughtful nod to her partner:

Take time to figure it out
I’ll be the one who sticks around
And I just want you to lead me
And I just want you to need me

It’s lyrics like this, alongside the comfy, no-frills directness of Duterte’s delivery, which make Jay Som feel so welcoming and refreshing.

Even though Melina is the leader of the band I was surprised to hear that the lead guitar work comes from Oliver Pinnell–she adds some great, interesting rhythm chords.   But mostly she focuses on singing. Her voice isn’t amazing or noteworthy, it’s just very nice and gentle (and tuneful).

“Baybee” opens with some fast high bass notes from Dylan Allard and then a soaring guitar line from Pinnell that sounds kind of like a synth.  Melina plays interesting chords to support him.  There’s cool moment when everything kind of slows down and grows woozy before resuming again.  The song is a little slick, but I like it.  She and Oliver play little solos off each other at the end.

Before the final song she says she’ll “wet my whistle,” and then says “well, it’s the end of the road. This is the last song ever.  We’re going to be gone forever.”

Oliver then chimes in, “I’m picturing the You Tube comments now, just like uhhh.” [I have no idea where he’s going with that].  Melina jokes, “Why are the so sweaty?”

Opening “I Think You’re Alright” she plays a chord, Oliver plays the same chord and then Dylan plays it.  It’s a smooth almost sultry song–again not what I expected from her.  Oliver sings high backing vocals.  The song feels like its coming to and end with Dylan scratching along the bass strings and then she and Oliver plays some slow chords that sure sounds like it’s going to end. And then she sings the slow final verse which ultimately ends pretty abruptly.

The set is pretty surprising given that the other song I know from her “1 Billion Dogs” is really fuzzy and almost shoegazey.  I’m curious to hear more from her.

[READ: May 10, 2017] “The Guide Dog of Hermosilla”

This is a fascinatingly told story translated by Martina Broner.

A man on his regular route sees a homeless man under a bridge.  The man has a dog.  The man doesn’t beg or really do anything.  And the dog seems to have infinite patience (the narrator is impressed with the dog–“his understated style was interesting.”

Then there’s this sentence:

One day, things were going well–I wasn’t getting laid off, not yet–and I wanted to show that I was grateful.

It’s the “not yet” part that I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be forecasting or concern.  But it hangs over the story like a cloud. (more…)

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