Song of the Day: Jay Som – 1 Billion Dogs

photo by Cara Robbins

photo by Cara Robbins

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Morning Show with John Richards, is “1 Billion Dogs” by Jay Som, from their 2017 album, Everybody Works, on Polyvinyl Records.

Jay Som – 1 Billion Dogs (MP3)At age 22, the Bay Area’s Jay Som (moniker of Melina Duterte) has just released her much anticipated, official debut LP, Everybody Works, chronicling a kaleidoscopic journey through dream rock, fuzzy shoegaze, and funky alt-pop numbers that sonically transcend the bedroom genre, but are perfect for late night listens on the bedroom floor. Before Everybody Works, multi-instrumentalist Duterte garnered songs she’d recorded to released her 2016 EP, Turn Into, her first as Jay Som, a nom de plume aggregated from a random name generator, which means “Victory Moon.” Turn Into first caught the attention of Topshelf Records, who released the EP, and then Polyvinyl Records, who’ve re-released it and now offer the full-length, Everybody Works. Others were similarly impressed by her heartfelt tunes, leading to recent opening spots for contemporaries like Peter Bjorn & John and Mitski.

Statement jams like today’s featured song, “1 Billion Dogs”, give a more delicately-inclined 10-track record like Everybody Works a grittier depth and texture, to keep listeners on their toes and awaiting the next genre-lush surprise or intimate gem. Despite Jay Som’s previous past with more “she shreds” gusto, “1 Billion Dogs” is definitely the stand-alone grunge-charged anthem on the record that alludes and appeals to her more distortion-driven dimensions. A few simple chords of fuzzy guitar and thumping bass carry the song across two-and-a-half minutes of cathartic fury while Duterte’s calming, angelic voice melts between measures of the song into a soaring outro, from tone-warped solo to droney decay.

Jay Som is currently on a co-headlining tour with The Courtneys and will hit The Crocodile in Seattle on Wednesday April 12th. You can find out more information about that and other dates on her website and Facebook page. For now, get a taste of Jay Som’s smoother grooves by watching this visually appealing video for “Baybee”, another great song on Everybody Works:

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