denise t's feeling is undeniably charming and evocative.
denise t is the kind of artist whose work loses nothing by seeming juvenile—on the contrary, it gains a rare tenderness that most creators of bedroom pop seek, but fall short of. The sixteen-year-old, hailing from Queens NY, has been releasing beautifully diminutive guitar-driven tracks via Bandcamp since last March, and the self-conscious je ne sais quois that makes her music powerful has by no means vanished as she’s progressed.
Her October release feeling is undeniably charming and evocative. It opens with the self-titled song, a powdery drum machine and tape hiss providing a stark backdrop for her reverb-drenched electric guitar. Nothing could be more simple and effective in showcasing songwriting; Denise's distorted vocals, which laments “the feeling of feeling out of place” in jaunty rhythm, is the highlight of the track. "Feeling" runs just over a minute and needs no more, while the second track “ok” pulls attention immediately after with a narrative about her childhood and the bummer of self-doubt inevitably faced by teenagers these days. “Feeling” doesn’t shy away from tributes to denise t’s influences: covers of “Icehead” by Alex G and “Angelina” by Pinegrove earn their place in the collection by effortlessly adopting the lonely, stripped-down aesthetic that permeates her own original compositions. The meandering bass line of “Icehead” adds a depth that complements her voice; the following song, “i wish i belonged,” is light in contrast; its cavernous vocals create a dream-like effect. At this point in the album, denise t is already taking us home as the lyrical themes of fitting in and feeling tired loop their way through both “i wish i belonged” and “c train,” the latter of which hits hard with the phrase “I wanna stay in this place forever–and I’ll find something better... than looking forward to your call.” The second-to-last track, “worry”, is 46 seconds of breakneck hurt and sadness, and its earthiness in juxtaposition makes the closing cover of “Angelina” even more dreamlike. On “Angelina,” denise t’s trademark melancholy is exceptionally effective: vocal harmonies bloom out on the line “I love you like it’s the old days,” almost surprising and certainly emotional. The album is proof that some music strikes a chord purely through the sheer strength of emotion its performer brings to it. denise t may have a lot of growing to do, but she displays a deft ability to hang on to the vulnerability that makes her early Bandcamp releases stand out.
Listen to denise t on bandcamp.
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Jess is a college student from Nashville living in NYC. She enjoys February, tape hiss, and peanut butter cups. Find her tweeting self-consciously here.