Everyone in Jenny Mudarri’s house knew when she was recording what would eventually become Bedrooms, the six-track EP she self-released last March. They just didn’t know what to expect from it.
“I would close my door and go tell everyone in my house, ‘Don’t come in my room, I’m going to be recording,’” says Mudarri, who created the entire album in her childhood bedroom, on the phone. “I have this MIDI input thing that I plug my guitar into. I didn’t even have an amp or anything, I just recorded everything straight onto my computer. All the frequencies are really low; it was kind of a total mess. But it was really fun to do. My parents knew I was recording but they had no idea what it was going to sound like at all. When they did listen, my Dad would text me like ‘I don’t want you to be lonely. Are you lonely?” I told him, ‘Don’t overanalyze the lyrics,’ but it was a good outlet for me at the time.”
The fuzzy, lo-fi demo quality of Bedrooms was born out of necessity rather than aesthetic choice; Mudarri, who previously fronted Burlington band NANCY and also plays bass with Bent Shapes, was in the thick of “the year between when you graduate college and go get your life started,” living at home to save money and in need of something to do in the hours not spent searching for jobs. The songs that began to develop from that, like “You Let Me Fall” and the closer “Gone Away,” took on that spirit of post-grad ennui musically—a messy but intoxicating mix of distorted vocal harmonies on top of spiky guitar riffs and sounds made with household items—and lyrically, establishing a tone that drifts from stylish apathy to restless anxiety.
As well as that may have worked in recording however, translating it to live performance was a trickier task. After playing several shows solo, she recruited Luke Brandfon (drums) and Rob MacNeil (bass) to join her. Aside from backing at shows, the two new members have also helped bring Mudarri’s sound literally and figuratively out of the bedroom—not too much, but just enough.
“The sound has kind of evolved from the really lo-fi scratchy bedroom sound,” says Mudarri about Feral Jenny’s forthcoming new record. “We tried to record a couple songs for this EP the more traditional way, and we heard them and thought they sounded too polished and clean. So we are going back and recording it half and half; half as it should be done and half as I know how to do it. It’s a mixture between a polished record and sounding dirty.”
It’s the finding of that dividing line that makes Feral Jenny’s continuing evolution a pleasure to hear, warts and all.
“I still want it to be more similar to the older stuff that I’ve done, to keep some of that charm,” she says. “It’s just taking a little bit of what I’ve learned from each of these releases, and I hope the one coming up is the culmination of all these different projects.”