Music Mondays: Jay Som, Laura Marling, and The Shins 2 comments

Jay Som, Laura Marling, and The Shins

There were plenty of interesting listens this week, but I thought I would feature the distinctly different styles from Jay Som, Laura Marling, and The Shins. Two of the three artists I’ve never heard before… and then there is The Shins.

Jay Som: Everybody Works

Jay Som: Everbody Works

Melina Duterte, AKA Jay Som, released her debut full-length album Everybody Works. I haven’t found a great deal of information about the artist other than she’s something of a Bandcamp sensation. According to a Spin article last year, she played all the instruments on this album and did everything but the mastering. The album begins with a calm, almost meditation-like number called Lipstick Stains before launching immediately into the catchy The Bus Song. The album features plenty of chorused guitar, so much that it sounds a bit jangly. Her vocals are difficult to describe. They’re subdued enough that they almost blend into the musical background, but that’s not quite it. It’s as though she treats her instrumentation in purely democratic fashion with everything, including her voice, being equal. It somehow works.

For you Spotifyers:

Laura Marling: Semper Femina

Laura Marling: Semper Femina

Brit Award Winner (Best British Female Solo Artist ), Laura Marling, released her sixth album, Semper Femina. The title draws inspiration from a line from Virgil, “varium et mutabile semper femina.” It translates to “variable and changeable woman is ever.” I’m certainly no expert on Virgil and have seen the varium translated to fickle. What emanates from the album is both introspection and commentary on women in society. Originally, she considered writing from a male perspective, but opted instead to stick with her own viewpoint. Unlike Everybody Works from above, this album focuses on a more minimalist vocal and instrumentation. While there are a few songs that introduce another instrument or two, most are Marling and her guitar. There’s a pervasive, wonderful intimacy.

For you Spotifyers:

The Shins: Heartworms

The Shins: Heartworms

Heartworms is the fifth studio album by The Shins. The first thing to understand about Heartworms is that it features much more electronica flair than past albums. So if you’re thinking you’ll get songs like A Comet Appears, think again. At first, these bits of electronica seem to detract from the whole, but repeated listenings soften that feeling. The opening track, Name For You, is a downright bouncy and infectious tune a la XTC. On this opening track, James Mercer, now the only member of The Shins, croons to his daughters about the present day and future female roadblocks. This album is grower, so even if you aren’t overly impressed at first, give it another listen or two.

For you Spotifyers:

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2 thoughts on “Music Mondays: Jay Som, Laura Marling, and The Shins

  • K

    You’ve heard of Laura Marling. I linked a previous album (I think it was Short Movie) to you several weeks ago and you basically called it a yawnfest…
    Anyway, glad you liked this one.

    • Peter Calderone Post author

      Ah yes,

      haven’t been grabbed by anything yet
      that last song was okay… everything I’ve heard so far is musically flat
      I don’t mean the notes
      I mean her style is like driving across Kansas
      her voice stays about the same in each song
      the tempos are very similar
      I don’t recall hearing much difference in the instrumentation
      not trying to pile on, just providing support for my Kansas drive opinion

      It’s funny how time and mood play into my opinions.