boy: s/t demo (Independent, 2005)

by Brent

One of the GOOD things about the internet and the resulting proliferation of artists offering their music is that once in a while you happen upon someone whose music really resonates with you. Cutting through the glut of cookie-cutter garage bands that try to add you on myspace or send you concert invitations through email can be a chore, but occasionally an artist, who’d never be heard by a worldwide audience with the internet, is able to shine through their talent and vision. Such an artist, in my humble and subjective opinion, is boy, from Miami, FL, USA. boy is the moniker of 20 year old musician and singer Alex Sanchez, who is also 1/3 of OutreViolet, an all-female, post-punk, dark trio. Having stumbled across boy’s music on everyone’s favourite website to hate, Myspace, I was immediately drawn to her gloomy and sloppy music rock-shoegaze hybrid. After a few messages back and forth, boy sent me an untitled demo with four songs, and though the demo is at least several months old, it seemed that now was a good time to review it, since boy has just released some new demos on her site…songs that reminded me of just how much I enjoyed her demo CD.

boy is a raw talent at this point, who wears her influences on her sleeve. Obvious comparisons to PJ Harvey and Kim Gordon aside, though, boy shows on her demo a keen ear for writing chilling rock songs, as well as the ability to play slathering guitar lines that quake with intensity. When her emotive voice (again, reminding the listener immediately of a slightly more innocent PJ Harvey) is added to the mix, the result is an effective and even moving demonstration of dirty and moody rock. The demo begins with “The One You Will Never Write”, a song that features a repeating clean guitar line and Sanchez’s heart-broken voice. As Sanchez whispers the line, “Hold me closer. Over and over”, her guitar playing becomes more frenzied and aggressive, before finally crumbling under the weight of the emotion. The song is an introduction to boy’s penchant for writing and recording emotionally naked songs. “At The End OF March” follows, with its funeral-like plodding crashing drum beat and cavernous low-end feedback. Sanchez whispers cryptic first-person lyrics about the last moments of a suicidal girl, and the song quickly ends. Perhaps references to suicide are overwrought in the whole “emo” lifestyle that so many young people flirt with, but “At The End OF March” seems so much more real, due to the lo-fi but highly effective sonics and Sanchez’s half-sung, half-whispered vocals. “Johnny Greenwood”, the third song on the demo, is another slower, moodier song, with layered guitars, and a meandering, almost free-form vocal melody. Towards the end of the song, the guitars give way to subtle and eerie feedback, leaving Sanchez voice on its own to deliver the last lines, “my eyes reflecting red”. The demo ends with the highlight song (for me, anyway): “They had their shock treatments while we breakfasted in our rooms”. The song is the closest thing to a conventional rock/post-punk song on the demo, but that is not to say that the song is conventional. Crashing drums and aggressive guitars with a perfect level of distortion herald the beginning of this track, but half-way through, boy flips everything upside down and inside out with , an section where the drums become effected and low-end feedback drive through the listener. Sanchez’s blood-curdling vocals all the while keep the track buoyant, and the track brilliantly fades in a wash of odd noises and effected vocals.

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that boy is a Latin-American from South Florida who is into “alternative” music (like myself), but there’s something more to the appeal of her music than just that. Perhaps it’s the vision of a solo girl playing these cryptic, dark, and untamed songs that is so fascinating. Whatever it is, the lo-fi songs of raw emotion are just too sumptuous to pass up. It may seem odd that I’ve taken to reviewing a demo CD of an unsigned, solo, unknown artist, but in the end, being signed to a label or having the highest production values does not an artist make. boy shows on her demo and on the other songs that she makes available on myspace that she has a passion for interesting music and talent to pursue her artistic vision. Check out her site, and if you like what you hear, send her a message, download her music, and let her know that somewhere cold told you about her.

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