Scully, Emily Reo
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002
Doors 9:15 PM
This event is 18 and over
Stef Chura's debut studio album Messes, is born of her years of experience playing around the Michigan underground, setting up DIY shows in the area, and moving around the state-nearly 20 times. "Right when it starts to feel like home / It's time to go," she sings literally on its opening cut, "Slow Motion," a twisty, dim-lit guitar pop song where she curls and stretches every word. There are worlds of emotion in the ways Chura pronounces phrases with twang and grit, alternatingly full of despair, playfulness, and abandon. Chura calls her music "emotional collage," eschewing start-to-finish storylines in favor of writing intuitively about feelings, drawing from experiences and references related to a certain sentiment.
Originally from Alpena, Michigan, Chura moved to the Ypsilanti area in 2009, where she began playing shows before ultimately moving to Detroit in 2012. Chura has been home-recording and self-releasing her songs for six years, playing bass in friends' bands as well. With a trove of demos and 4 -track home recordings, some of which she'd released on small runs of cassettes over the years, Chura says she wasn't sure what to do with her life before heading into the studio. "One of my best friends passed away and I thought, what do I have to do before I die? I have to at least make one record."
"Faded Heart" is an ode to that friend. "I thought I saw you standing on that little cloud / How did you get so loud," she sings. The second verse references something she heard Joni Mitchell say in a documentary- "If you hold sand too tightly in your hand, it will run through your fingers." Like Joni, Chura favors finger-picked guitar, a style she's been honing for over 10 years, drawing inspiration from other folksingers such as Leonard Cohen and Buffy Sainte Marie in addition to Cat Power and 90s feminist punk.
Later on "Thin", she sings, "Thin like the skin on a lottery ticket / Tried you on for a bit just to see if it's fitting / I forgot who I was." A song written about her old job cocktail waitressing at a strip club, she recalls "It's funny because it sounds like a folk song, but it's more about the disgusting feeling I would have when I would come home from that place. And I was just like, who am I? I am not this person, I'm just in a weird place in my life right now. I feel like everyone has done that. You try something different just to be someone else."
Messes deals with these sorts of internal anxieties: power struggles, friendships falling apart, even one song about a conflict with a landlord. "It's more about pain than anything," she says. "A lot of these songs are a cathartic release of overwhelming emotional stress. "On and Off For You," for example, deals with being gaslighted and controlled by a lover. "Putting in overtime to get my revenge on you," she sings. "When I look back on that time period I obsess about how I should have left or done better for myself or been a stronger woman. It's the emotional or mental overtime I think a lot of people endure."
She recorded the entire album with Fred Thomas (Saturday Looks Good To Me) throughout 2015. Thomas plays bass on most of the record, and a bit of guitar and drums. Drummer Ryan Clancy of Jamaican Queens and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. adds the bulk of the drums. Through intricate guitar work and warm, textured production, Messes finds her trying to make sense of life's ups and downs. "It's about emotional mess, not physical mess," Chura says. "The title track is about knowing that you are going to do something the wrong way, but you're doing it anyway because you want that experience. I've had to do a lot of things the wrong way in order to figure out how to live my life."
Scully came together as a meeting of minds from the ashes of Oakland California based sunshine rippers The Splinters. As time passed The Splinters disbanded. Fast forwarding a few years later, three of the four members, Caroline Partamian (guitar/vocals), Courtney Gray (guitar/vocals) and Lauren Stern (bass/vocals) reunited in Brooklyn to play together for the first time since 2011.
The "No Sense" EP, recorded by NYC engineer Ben Greenberg & mastered by APTBS & Death by Audio founder Oliver Ackermann sees the band expanding on that California sunshine vibe. Adding the grit & summer trash stench of a New York City Summer, sharpening up and infused with a more potent swagger. Although the band's girl-group sensibilities cannot be denied, Scully's music balances heaviness and pop with nods to Brian Jonestown era Psych, early Punk and '90s grunge. The group had previously released a limited-edition split cassette (with fellow Brooklynites Las Rosas) and a 7" split with La Luz on Famous Class’s LAMC imprint.
The "No Sense" EP was the band's Fire Talk debut and was released September 2016 on 7" Vinyl & Digitally. In conjunction, Fire Talk made available digitally several Splinters releases previously only available on limited run physical formats. Scully EP on cassette is available via Burger Records. An additional single was released on Greenway Records 7” in October. The collection of these releases signifies the band’s package of songs presented to the world in 2016.
photo credit: alex kaiser
Emily Reo is a pop musician, producer and engineer living in Brooklyn. Since she began making music in 2008, she's spent much of the time playing self-booked tours throughout the U.S, Canada and Europe and releasing albums and EPs through community minded labels run by friends. Her most recent release, "Spell" was released as a limited edition 10" through Orchid Tapes in October 2016. As an avid collaborator, she's worked with artists such as The Go! Team, Owen Pallett, Foxes in Fiction, Yohuna, Cuddle Formation, and is a touring member of Sad13. She has been inspired by the many places she’s called home: Orlando, Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal and New York. Her live band features Reo on keytar and electronics, Felix Walworth (of Told Slant) on drums and Jack Greenleaf (of Sharpless) on bass.
photo credit: Brian Vu