On her first proper album as Jay Som, Melina Duterte, 22, solidifies her rep as a self-made force of sonic splendor and emotional might. If last year's aptly named Turn Into compilation showcased a fuzz-loving artist in flux—chronicling her mission to master bedroom recording—then the rising Oakland star's latest, Everybody Works, is the LP equivalent of mission accomplished.

Duterte is as DIY as ever—writing, recording, playing, and producing every sound beyond a few backing vocals—but she takes us places we never could have imagined, wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk.

And while Duterte's early stuff found her bucking against life's lows, Everybody Works is about turning that angst into fuel for forging ahead. "Last time I was angry at the world," she says. "This is a note to myself: everybody's trying their best on their own set of problems and goals. We're all working for something."

Everybody Works was made in three furious, caffeinated weeks in October. She came home from the road, moved into a new apartment, set up her bedroom studio (with room for a bed this time) and dove in. Duterte even ditched most of her demos, writing half the LP on the spot and making lushly composed pieces like "Lipstick Stains" all the more impressive. While the guitar-grinding Jay Som we first fell in love with still reigns on shoegazey shredders like "1 Billion Dogs" and in the melodic distortions of "Take It," we also get the sublimely spacious synth-pop beauty of "Remain," and the luxe, proggy funk of "One More Time, Please."

Duterte's production approach was inspired by the complexity of Tame Impala, the simplicity of Yo La Tengo, and the messiness of Pixies. "Also, I was listening to a lot of Carly Rae Jepsen to be quite honest," she says. "Her E•MO•TION album actually inspired a lot of the sounds on Everybody Works."

Golden Drugs

"If you’re plugged into the Bay Area music, you may remember Twin Steps, who put out a few killer releases, including a 7″ for Oakland’s 1-2-3-4 Go! Records, and then promptly disappeared. And it was like…come on. Why.

I think the answer might be in the first song off of Golden Drugs‘ first release “In the Midnight Sun or Stubbornly Persistent Illusion”. Drew Pearson, vocalist from Twin Steps, has opened this new project with a song called “Appalachian Blood“. It’s a fuzzy, buzzy, frenetic track, covering a lot of territory in it’s 5:52 life span. The second verse begins with the line “each night as I fall asleep I see 1,000 faces/and each one tries to yell at me for all the years I’ve wasted”. Coming off of Twin Steps genre bouncing approach, it’s tempting to read it as a little ironic, a step removed from reality. But the atmosphere of Golden Drugs (the band, this band) gives it weight, and I definitely hear it as an honest statement. Which is why I think it’s the answer to the earlier question. The lyrics, the music, and the context all make it seem like Drew Pearson is antsy as shit to get things done.

And it’s a great thing! The new band is great, and they seem to be doing well, with music videos for three of the six songs. There’s a dreamy quality throughout, but the music is never stagnant. It’s the dreamy haze of a 10 hour drive, where you can find calm at 80 miles an hour. The songs tend to journey, rarely staying in the same vibe for more than 2 minutes. It makes for a lot of unexpected turns, staying interesting on repeat listens and showing off the versatile, creative band." --Oakland Indie Mayhem


Oakland's Tanukichan is Hannah Van Loon, formerly of Trails and Ways.

'Van Loon succeeds at combining that somber, deadpan brilliance we all love about guitar-heavy Stereolab cuts with shoegazey Wall-of-Sound in the vein of My Bloody Valentine. But what sets Tanukichan apart from a band like MBV is that her voice is at the center, and comes in loud and clear.' --Bay Bridged


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