jay som

“Have you heard Jay Som?”

“Did you check out the new Jay Som??”

“You need to listen to this.”

Reminding me so much of that way Alex G songs got passed around two years ago, San Francisco’s Melina Duterte aka Jay Som, has been having news of her bedroom pop creations whispered amongst friends like well kept secrets, and there has been imminent promise of a larger piece of work. 

Recently, that promise came true – casually writing “uh oh Spaghetti-O” on her Facebook page, Melina released Untitled, a self-described collection of 9 finished and unfinished songs. Incomplete or not, it’s an incredibly strong release, and puts the songwriting prowess of Jay Som on display. There’s a huge range of emotion and moods at work, where playful, power poppy garage hooks are pitted against somber, lush soundscapes. Opener “Peach Boy”‘s effected leads and additional percussion recall the dance-y tendencies of Melina’s highschool band, Summer Peaks, while Untitled’s second track is immediately a darker, denser slab of bedroom pop.

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Melina’s voice is the thread that ties together the variety of sounds and timbres on this collection, making what could be awkward production juxtapositions, but instead are instead charming recording artifacts.  Untitled appears as a sort of collage of everything that Jay Som has been up to while honing her craft, clearing out all the songs that have been floating around and making way for the next piece of work, perhaps her first ‘official’ release. It’s a casual, low pressure effort, and is magical in that way. It has all the charm of bedroom recordings – the odd sounds and natural chorus of layered guitars and vocals, thick layers of overdubs, and distorted keyboards recorded out of an amp and played sitting on your bed.

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Leaving herself plenty of asides as to why the record might not quite capture her vision, she makes sure to mention her lack of proficiency behind the drum kit, but rather than hinder the songs, the reserved drumming only serves to further highlight her talents. 2016 is looking to be a bright year for Jay Som, and rumor has it she’s got a live band together. Luckily, Melina’s got a whole bandcamp of demos and tracks to pour over after you’ve listened to Untitled in excess. Check out “Forget About it Kid” below.

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