BOOT & SADDLE

1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Stef Chura

Stef Chura

American Trappist, The Vernes

Wed, March 22, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00

This event is 21 and over

Stef Chura
Stef Chura
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."
American Trappist
"To make one or more significant contributions to American music; to both live with and accurately portray my convictions through my work, with the use of only enough familiar elements that they may serve as a gateway to virgin territories in the work on behalf of the common listener and musician alike. That it might expand their palate and mind, as well as give permission to and create new avenues for all honest creative endeavors; that the world and our race of human beings may better represent ourselves and our vast emotional spectrum and capabilities as productive individuals to the wanting souls of our fellow man, new life that will come to discover the work and it's purpose as well as his or her own purpose long after my own death, and finally to whatever life in the universe that we have yet to discover expressing a hunger of the soul and an interest in the human race."
The Vernes
Philadelphia indie rockers The Vernes began as a basement recording project for singer Mat Gragg. Joined by old friends from California, the five piece band is “part of the welcomed migration of talented, young artists continuing to flow into our City of Brotherly Love.” Gragg’s unique vocal style and introspective lyrics with just the right touches of fuzz pedals and trumpets, synths and drum machines provide a contrast between their chilled-out recordings and dynamic live performances. Their new album, a collection of EPs and singles released throughout their first year, comes out in March 2017.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com