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Indie Rock

JessX unleashes primal "Scream" but not before its time

People scream for all sorts of different reasons. Out of fear. Ecstasy. Anger. Exultation. To lose control for a moment. To seize control of the moment. 

But when you hear someone actually let out a hair-raising scream for reals any potential ambiguity usually melts away. Is the screamer in question about to be murdered? Or have an orgasm? Or fly into a rage? Or visit the astral plane? You can usually tell because screams aren't about being subtle. They don’t need words to communicate. 

But notice how I said “usually” and “usually” (critical readers are sensible readers!) because, for starters, some of the most memorable screams in musical history are impossible to pin down and classify. Like for instance take Little Richard’s scream before the sax solo in “Good Golly, Miss Molly.” Or Roger Daltry’s protracted wail at the end of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Or Kathleen Hanna demanding to know “HOW TO LOSE CONTROOOL!!!” with a shriek of defiance and ecstasy and dread all mixed together in one. These are primordial screams. Multiple emotional hues are contained within. 

JessX’s new single “Scream” (an exclusive premiere! for the next several hours!) is a song I’d venture to say falls squarely under the primordial scream heading to the point where it makes me wonder if the band have been studying the works of Arthur Janov or maybe Bratmobile. Either way, band-leading singer-screamer-songwriter Jess Rosa outlines some of the reasons she has for screaming in lyrics that point to family stress, financial strain, romantic anguish, future uncertainty, existential doubt, general boredom and frustration, desire for liberation, and even good ol’ physical release and emotional exhilaration however they may’ve been induced (I’ve had my highs but fuck my lows) so yeah this song is very explicitly about the primordial scream come to think of it.

But here’s the thing: for most of the “Scream” Jess doesn’t scream at all. Instead she sighs and whispers, whimpers, groans, growls, snarls, mewls, moans, murmurs and meows over a new-wavey-bass-guitar-driven groove that gradually builds in intensity with layers of wire-y guitar dissonance and intensifying volume building up a delicious tension that reminds me a little bit of Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia” and “Youth Against Fascism” (dated references, yes, but nothing’s dated about fascism these days!) so in other words this is a song that’s about the need to scream as much as screaming itself (I wanna fucking scream so loud…should I just do it?) and the need to release all the fragmentary, contradictory voices that we all carry around inside whether we admit to it or not (I feel so trapped with my friends / I got two of them in my fucking head).

And it’s not just a conceptual thing either cuz you can actually hear those internal voices in “Scream” thanks to the magic of vocal overdubbing (headphones recommended!) first singing in near-unison but soon breaking into an internal dialogue and ultimately into quasi-disarray as the chorus of voices becomes more insistent and starkly differentiated before taking over the song entirely in the breakdown section (warning: subliminal messages ahead!) until the much-anticipated scream finally arrives near the end of the song and it’s equally cathartic and unsettling when it does with the massive collective banshee shriek bouncing around every corner of your brain pan (again, headphones!) like a swarm of vampire bats newly released from the belfry just like in the music video!

But to be clear it’s not all down to vocals (however powerful!) or digital bat graphics (however cool!) because JessX is a five-piece also featuring the musical talents of Avi Henig (guitar/production), Eva Smittle (bass), Matii Dunietz (drums, production) and multi-instrumentalist Bernardo Ochoa a.k.a. Panther Hollow all of whom make their presence strongly felt. And after you listen to “Scream” the Deli recommend you work backwards and check out their full-length LP Baby Faced (2021) because “Scream” merely makes explicit what that defiantly queer debut album is all about and how skilled the kids are (alright, young adults!) at combining emo-adjacent pop-punk, experimental post-punk (e.g., Raincoats, LiLipUT/Kleenex, Slits, X-Ray Spex etc., you get the idea) and glitter-caked glam rock singalongs, all poured into a Cuisinart and set on purée with the occasional ukulele thrown into the mix and by the way Jess Rosa grew up in Hawaii before relocating to NYC a couple or few years ago.

And ever since JessX has served as a sonic diary for her journey not to mention the collective journey amongst its members. Or as Ms. Rosa puts it when it comes to “Scream”: “This song was more of a freestyle with some retakes. I remember recording this with my friends and just feeling safe enough to scream my head off. I feel like out of all the music I have put out, this one is definitely lyrically unfiltered and I had no problem saying what I was feeling in that exact moment. I spoke about everything that was built inside me during those months of 2021. Recording this was the most therapeutic thing to do during the mental state I was in.” And this is a great summation of why everyone should start a band immediately (send the Deli your demo tapes!) but until you’ve taken that plunge you can always scream along vicariously to JessX. (Jason Lee


Better Love “I Wasn’t Ready Then, But I Think I Am Now"

Better Love are back with their third EP, “I Wasn’t Ready Then, But I Think I Am Now".

This is the Indie Pop of Brad Harvey, Jackie Heuser, and Kevin Provencher.


Young Man In A Hurry "potable water system emoji"

Over the last three months Young Man In A Hurry have released a series of experimental, instrumental singles that pull their title's from emojis. The mysterious singles all feature several highly talented local musicians including Macie Stewart, Ben LaMar Gay, Tim Daisy, Emma Hospelhorn, and David Vandervelde.

It is unclear as to how many more songs the band plan to release from this clearly epic recording session.

The latest single in the series was released on May 5th and is called "potable water system emoji"

You can catch Young Man In A Hurry at the Hideout on June 24th with Neptune's Core.

Moritat "Vermilion"

Art Rock trio Moritat have released their latest album, Vermilion. The trio released three singles from the album during the last quarter of 2021 including "Camera", "Ten Swooning Enemies", and "Weapons".

This is the work of Venus Laurel, Konstantin Jace and Corey McCafferty.


Panda Riot "1000%"

Panda Riot has released the second single, "1000%", from their forthcoming album Extra Cosmic which is due out on June 10th.

This is the Dream Pop of Brian Cook and Rebecca Scott with Cory Osborne on Bass and Brian Hilderbrand on drums.


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