Stef Chura’s debut studio album, Messes (out 1/27 on Urinal Cake Records), is born of her years of experience playing around the Detroit, Michigan underground, setting up DIY shows in the area, and moving around the state-nearly 20 times. “Right when it starts to feel like home / It’s time to go,” she sings literally on its opening cut, “Slow Motion,” a twisty, dim-lit guitar pop song where she curls and stretches every word. There are worlds of emotion in the ways Chura pronounces phrases with twang and grit, alternatingly full of despair, playfulness, and abandon. Chura calls her music “emotional collage,” eschewing start-to-finish storylines in favor of writing intuitively about feelings, drawing from experiences and references related to a certain sentiment.
Through intricate guitar work and warm, textured production, Messes finds her trying to make sense of life’s ups and downs. “It’s about emotional mess, not physical mess,” Chura says. “The title track is about knowing that you are going to do something the wrong way, but you’re doing it anyway because you want that experience. I’ve had to do a lot of things the wrong way in order to figure out how to live my life.”
“Chura’s striking vocal presence, each word quivering with power whether whispered, moaned, or fiercely belted out. It’s the sound of a songwriter taking familiar sounds and molding them into her own unmistakable image.” – Stereogum
“Stef Chura sings in a wry, hooded tone somewhere between acidic Liz Phair and eyebrow-raised Chrissie Hynde; her voice is a colorful instrument that hits a lot of emotional nerve clusters at once.” – Pitchfork