The Key Studio Sessions: Queen of Jeans

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In a phrase possibly borrowed from Bob Dylan, Philadelphia indie pop four-piece Queen of Jeans has both an album title and a mission statement: Dig Yourself.

It’s a poignant statement of self-love in a time where we’re socially scrutinized more than ever, where constant connection leaves us feeling forever inadequate, where anxiety is a reigning force in our daily lives and the friendships we keep and the music we consume. Some day, decades off in the distance, a cultural historian is going to look at the landscape of the 20-teens, cluttered with dismissive gifs and judge-y Slate headlines, and they’ll put our era of world-weary sad pop into a retrospective sociological context. Or maybe not; they’ll no doubt have their own shit to deal with in the 2080s.

But in the fray of it all, Queen of Jeans’ message is simple: do what you love, love who you are.

The band has been active in the Philly scene for close to three years, their reception was warm and somewhat immediate, and it makes sense why. They write catchy, fun music — from early singles like “Dance (Get Off Your Ass)” and “Rollerdyke,” both performed in their previous visit to the Key Studio Sessions, to the latest and greatest from Dig Youreself — but it can turn on a dime into emotional and evocative territory, as we hear on the slow-burning “Won’t You,” a song from their 2016 debut that opens this week’s performance. The players are rooted in studious skill (Miriam Devora’s soprano on “April Still” gives me chills every time she hits the high notes) but they’re also tremendously entertaining personalities (watch this trailer they released upon signing to New England label Topshelf should you have any doubt).

The head-bobbing “U R My Guy” achieves so many things at once — it’s a super catchy piece of music that you’ll be humming for hours after hearing it, and it puts a sassy spin on the lovelorn desperation of 50s pop. The songs that we’ve been taught to revere as “classic,” and that undeniably have power and importance in terms of composition and melodies, are often mad problematic in their lyrical outlook on gender rolls and traditional morality. Queen of Jeans takes a critical dig into that dichotomy, giving an honest look at the faults of music that they do indeed love while also playing the hell out of it and making you dance.

The band’s Key Studio Session also includes a debut performance of their song “Sick Day,” another tune from Dig Yourself, which is due out March 30th on Topshelf. Grab a preorder of the record here, and check out the band’s Key Studio Session below, where you’ll find a video of “U R My Guy” and a Soundcloud archive of their entire set. Queen of Jeans celebrates Dig Yourself at Underground Arts on Saturday, March 31st; Katie Ellen and Harmony Woods open the show, and you can get tickets and more information at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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