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The Scarlet & Black

Jay Som and p.morrow to bring some heat to Gardner

Art by Steven Duong @stumpyduong

By Kelly Page

Get ready for a concert that will feel like hot apple cider for your soul. On Tuesday, Nov. 7, DIY songwriter Jay Som and Grinnell band p.morrow will play the Gardner stage. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.. p.morrow will begin their set at 8 p.m. and Jay Som will perform at 9.

Oakland native and core member of Jay Som, Meline Duterte grew up playing trumpet, but by the time she got to college, she left her trumpeting days behind and took classes in music production. Soon afterwards she started writing and recording her own music under the name Jay Som, which came from the online Wu-Tang name generator. Her music is influenced by both Carly Rae Jepsen and Phil Elverum and draws from genres as diverse as funk and shoegaze. In 2015, she released several demos on Bandcamp, which garnered so much attention that she re-released them as her debut album “Turn Into” the next year. This March saw the release of her sophomore album “Everybody Works.”

According to Jay Som’s Bandcamp, Duterte recorded “Everybody Works” in three weeks in her bedroom studio, creating almost every sound on the album by herself. The album is vulnerable and autobiographical, exploring love and intimacy in a way that feels hopeful. In “The Bus Song,” Duterte sings about the comfort of riding busses, feeling “like a firefighter” when she takes off her partner’s shoes, and her sister knowing “that ghosts are real,” just a sample of how she opens up different aspects of her life to the listener with a comforting honesty. No two songs on the album sound exactly the same: “1 Billion Dogs” uses shoegazey guitars, “One More Time, Please” is centered on funk rhythms and “Baybee” evokes R&B. Her set is one of the most anticipated on the Grinnell Concerts roster this semester.

Also playing on Tuesday is Grinnell band p.morrow, composed of students Justin Leuba ’18, Jacob Getzoff ’18, Sylvie Bindas ’18, Victoria Park ’21 and Ian Donaldson ’20. The band formed after many members of Leuba and Getzoff’s band from last year graduated and Leuba wanted to play some of their solo music in a group. Leuba formed p.morrow, which takes its name from Leuba’s middle initial, “p,” and their mother’s maiden name, “morrow.”

“I think we try to go for a real sense of layering, so we try to work with a lot of textures, sort of interweaving melodic lines,” Leuba said. “We’ve got a keyboard player and I play the guitar and Victoria plays the bass, and in terms of the melodic instrumentation, we try really hard to make sure all those are synched up, and then Jacob does a pretty good job of keeping the songs rhythmically interesting as well.”

Leuba has written a lot of songs about their mother, fitting into a community and different types of imagery, always using words in interesting ways.

“Sometimes I’ll have a song where a verse is describing a particular image and that’ll just be a verse. And I feel like a lot of thematic content can be projected onto an image,” they said. “My lyrics rhyme in strange ways. Often there’s not obvious rhyme scheme. I like to experiment with different lyrical form and kind of give myself the space to be heterodox.”

Although their music doesn’t directly replicate any of the bands they listen to, they say they enjoy the work of musical acts like St. Vincent, Iron and Wine, D’Angelo and Solange, and it comes through in their music. p.morrow will be releasing a full-length album next semester. Make sure to come to Tuesday’s concert which will be a dose of warmth on a cold November night.

Art by Steven Duong @stumpyduong
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