Out there in the sea of DIY self-starters, perhaps no artist shines as bright as bedroom pop musician Jay Som (Melina Duterte).
After releasing a loose batch of songs that became her debut album Turn Into in 2016 and the more fully formed Everybody Works in 2017 (both to widespread critical acclaim), a lot has changed for the Bay Area native. Now based in Los Angeles, Duterte has been hard at work collaborating with a new batch of local artists (see: last year’s Nothing’s Changed EP with Justus Proffit) and releasing one-off singles in the meantime (“Pirouette”, “OK, Meet Me Underwater”, and “Simple” for the Adult Swim Series). This past week, all of that culminated in the announcement of her third album, Anak Ko (“My Child” in Tagalog), out on August 23rd via Polyvinyl Records.
“Superbike”, the first taste of Jay Som’s newest offering, is a refreshing reminder of why she’s so great at what she does. “Superbike” is filled with those dreamy, glowing moments that defined her first two albums–fuzzied guitars, a twinkling disposition, and smudged, yet charming, production. Duterte’s lyrics, which have since become known for selling you a feeling rather than about any defined object (the exception probably being her other vehicular themed song, “The Bus Song”), paints a more slightly vivid image this time around. “Now you’re waiting in the light / Patiently to my surprise / (Somebody tell me) / I pick up the superbike / Going 80 in the night,” she sings over a lush cascade of guitars. Her view of speeding down a highway is warm, liberating, and perhaps one of the more romanticized depiction of motorcycle living released in recent memory.
Out here in the rising LA heat, “Superbike” is a perfect accompaniment to the changing seasons. When Anak Ko gets released later this summer, hopefully she can keep that glowing feeling going.
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.