By Quentin Clearly
Image by Lindsey Byrnes
Jay Som releases critically praised Anak Ko LP on PolyVinyl
Jay Som – a.k.a. Melina Duterte, released her highly anticipated sophomore album Anak Ko earlier this week. The follow-up to her breakout debut album Everybody Works, which received countless year-end list accolades in 2017, Anak Ko is already critically acclaimed itself, with early praise from the likes of The New York Times, NPR Music, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and many more.
Pronounced Ah-nuhk Koh, and meaning “my child” in Tagalog, one of the native dialects in the Philippines, this album was completed during a week-long solo retreat to Joshua Tree.
While much has changed both sonically and personally for Jay Som, now 25 years old, in the two whirlwind years since her debut, Duterte still recorded, produced, engineered, and mixed this album herself at home.
However, for the first time, she invited some friends -including Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott, Justus Proffit, Boy Scouts’ Taylor Vick, as well as bandmates Zachary Elasser, Oliver Pinnell and Dylan Allard-to collaborate on additional vocals, drums, guitars, strings, and pedal steel.
In November of 2017, seeking a new environment, Duterte left her home of the Bay Area for Los Angeles. There, she began collaborating with other artists on her own projects, as well as producing, engineering and mixing for the likes of Sasami and Chastity Belt.
In her new hometown, she found a community of likeminded artists, she fell in love, and-coming full circle after drunkenly releasing her earliest collection of demos, Turn Into, on Thanksgiving in 2015-she quit drinking for good. “I feel like a completely different person,” she reflects.
All of this change has resulted in an incredibly elevated, genre-bending new album from Duterte, but one that is still exquisitely and unmistakably a Jay Som record. Anak Ko is out now via Polyvinyl (N.A), Pod/Inertia Music (AUS/NZ/Asia), and Lucky Number (ROW).