If there's one thing Kelly Slusher knows, it's traveling light. The locally based singer-songwriter doesn't own a car, so getting her keyboard, her guitar and herself from show to show always presents a formidable challenge. It shouldn't be too big an ordeal when she plays The Khyber on Wednesday to celebrate the release of her debut full-length Rocks and Tears (Elefant). But the Madrid label has fallen so in love with Slusher's melancholic indie-pop sweetness that they're flying her out to Spain <for a two-week tour at the summer's end, with a jaunt across the rest of the continent following. We'll be expecting some priceless keyboard-stand-meets-Eurail-conductor stories when she gets back.
During her brief stint as a Philadelphian Kelly Slusher gently wowed audiences at Sugar Town and Red Square with her keyboard-driven electro-pop. Her ghostly voice hovers melodiously over the music like The Softies, but her lyrics have a lot more backbone and the snazzy beats make it all oddly groovy. Aided by a delay pedal, her voice hovers over plucky guitar and the steady snare-taps of a drum machine like a ghost. This is certainly pop music, but you are more likely to swoon than bob your head along with it.
If, like me, you like Kelly Slusher's music, there's a truly excellent live version of the song 'Knee Deep' (track #5 on this album) on the live compilation'Invited to Dinner', released by Red Square Records in 2002. 2002.
There’s a secret smile beneath the heartache in Kelly Slusher’s words. "Maybe we’re over," she sings softly, "but can’t you put up a fight?" On her The Lovely Leave EP, the lyrics are sometimes dark and deep, but they are sung so warmly and honestly, it’ll never drag you under. Her sound often draws comparisons to the Softies, which is fair, but Slusher shares none of that Northwestern duo’s overt, earthbound optimism. Aided by a delay pedal, her voice hovers over plucky guitar and the steady snare-taps of a drum machine like a ghost. This is certainly pop music, but you’re more likely to swoon than bob your head along with it. A Sacramento native and current West Philly resident, Slusher will take the Sugartown stage with Cynthia Mason.
I’m a little more familiar with Kelly Slusher, ever since she worked with Rocketship’s Dustin Reske on a quiet little record a few years ago. Her addition, “Be There,” is the first I’ve heard from her since, except for her work on the Kitteridge Records Homemade Hits compilation with the band Boothby, which I quite enjoyed. Slusher’s vocals make your ears swoon and pine and when she sings, “Let’s go crazy for just one night” so delicately, you can’t help but think about a time when you’ve thought that thought. Her guitars catch up with her anxiousness on the chorus and the fuzz blends into the pretty river of keyboard melody, creating that perfect blend of nostalgia and déjà vu.