Stranded In Stereo: Band of the Week: Shilpa Ray

Monday, April 20, 2009

Band of the Week: Shilpa Ray

Shilpa Ray as an artist is sexless and blunt. Shilpa Ray as a frontwoman is noisy, raucous, grinding, raw—slurring jazzy vocals while playing distorted and overwhelming notes on a harmonium, an instrument she’s been playing since she was 6. After first entering the music scene with the now defunct garage-blues Beat the Devil, she’s winning over critics and her local New York scene with a syrupy and husky voice that sounds like a punk Ella Fitzgerald.

Her music is as vulnerable as a child would be, but as bold and charming as one as well—the lyrics howl full of regret and longing, not submissively but with the sort of aggressiveness and emotion that would fill a bitter Byron poem. She lacks the kitschy high notes that a woman on stage often has, preferring for her voice to moan monotonously, drifting between notes that don’t pop but drone, fizz and bang. The energy her music has is concentrated not in punches, but
drips between layers.

Her unique sound may be attributed to this sort of non-non-conformist attitude she writes with in her blogs, mocking herself as a “hipster” and writing awful things about her job as a shopgirl in a department store.

Stream: "Beating St. Louis" [MySpace]

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