As a Michigan native, I gotta love Stef Chura, just for stickin’ it out and never pulling roots on the rust belt. There’s a certain kind of malaise and self-flagellation I inherit to living in the mitten and it comes through on her debut record, Messes. She’s landed in Detroit and made the city headquarters to the recording of the album, enlisting fellow Midwest holdout Fred Thomas (Saturday Looks Good to Me) on production and bass here. The record leans into certain ’90s touchstones that anyone coming of age during the era might let warm their nostalgic heart; the distortion pedal punch of noise rising out of the calm chorus, feminist punk prose, and a starkness that feels like Albini might be creeping ’round the cables (alas, he’s not). The sum of the parts, though, doesn’t sound like it’s lost in the past, just keeping the best parts aloft.
Chura packs the album full of doubts, anxieties, stresses and breakthroughs. Its an album about all the shit that life throws as you and coming out, at least somewhat, better on the other side. It’s not about erasing that emotional heap from your slate, just not letting it overwhelm. Perhaps that vulnerability is what really brings the album swimming to the surface out. Chura’s ability to be self-effacing and pack it on top of thick, fuzzed, slightly knotty, and certainly catchy songwriting lets her stand as not just another artist flipping surf, jangle, or girl-group swoon into faded memories and faint touchstones. She’s cheekily mentioned that she decided she’d had to write at least album before she dies, but now that she has, I’m hoping its by no means a solitary creation.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.