As Empress Of (Brooklyn-based "project of sight + sound" by Lorely Rodriguez) continues to seep through various spots around the blogosphere and starts to gain attention from even the most revered of zines, it’s hard for us not to feel bad about not covering her until now, considering the musical output she’s been laying out these past few months has been both riveting and atypical. Her "colorminutes" project of fifteen one-minute-long songs playing in front of a uniquely colored background on YouTube is an unsettling experience of short-attention-span pop music, and makes us think about just how little the one-minute song format has been exploited (or at least popularized) outside the form of three-chord guitar jams - whether it’s through the viscerality of punk rock’s various branches, or the hook centricity of Guided by Voices-style lo-fi.
Rodriguez, though, has claimed these small tracks are only snippets of forthcoming full ones, which just confirms the fact that, as captivating as some of these color minutes can be, most of them do have a sense of incompletion to them. Which is why she developed a couple of these snippets into full 3-minute tracks. Her previous single “Champagne” is an intriguing slice of pop (or watermelon) indulgence, whose unabashed beauty via erratic songcraft delineates very well her self-declared fandom of Cocteau Twins and Deerhoof. On her latest track “Hat Trick,” she appears to gracefully settle on a more traditional approach to song structure and pacing. Featuring a Laura Palmer-esque cover photo that could be a subtle nod to Julee Cruise-style dream pop. Most recent comparisons tend to gravitate towards other contemporaries (St. Vincent) who, like Empress Of, have elegantly conflated the gap between pop and experimentalism.
Her forthcoming bilingual EP Systems is out on Terrible and Double Denim next month.