Stef Chura - "Degrees" (Track Review)

Detroit indie rocker Stef Chura's songs are wonderful to listen to difficult to pull apart. Her lyrics are cryptic and challenging to follow but her voice is so expressive that you can listen a long time before realizing you may be missing something. Here's an example from her most recent release, "Degrees":

Ex: "Lean on my false hip / glances they're greedy / we're taking them in winter / I've got this sea to be released / glance back at me / reciprocating one million degrees"

I don't know what most of that means, but I didn't even think about it until I looked up the lyrics. Chura sings with such clarity and conviction that it doesn't matter if you understand the lyrics or not. Whatever she sings, you believe her.

Her voice is the guiding light of "Degrees," helping us navigate the murky verses and huge, explosive choruses that erupt like a chemical fire. This is not only due to her assured, can't-miss nasal drawl, but also to the clever production of her old tourmate Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest.

Toledo contributes guitar, bass, and organ, and breaks out some production techniques similar to those heard on his recent re-recording of Twin Fantasy. From chorus to verse, layers of ripping guitars disappear and transform into sprawling notes and slides that trail off as quickly as they come into focus. Toledo has a knack for using sharp dynamic shifts as a narrative device. They break songs up into separate sections that are all the while part of a whole piece heading in the same direction. 

"Degrees" is a welcome sampling of what's to come next from Chura and Toledo, as they are working together on Chura's follow up to last year's underappreciated Messes. It will also be available as a limited edition 7-inch (1000 copies) on Record Store Day on April 21.