B-Sides: “Performer” by Montero

A series highlighting up-and-coming artists that are worth checking out

Each week reporter Jessica Myers finds rising artists that students might want to tune in to.

Who he is:

Australian-born artist and musician Bjenny Montero is a modern day, quirky renaissance man. Montero’s art, both his music and cartoons, take-on feelings of loneliness, coming to terms with oneself and existentialism. 

You can see his physical art on Mac Demarco’s “This Old Dog” merchandise or Pond’s “Man It Feels Like Space Again” album cover. He’s also done merch for popular artists like Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett. 

Montero is known for his countless number of wholesome cartoons, which features his animal friends and sometimes their shmoopies. His ink and watercolor cartoons look light and colorful at first glance, but these characters face real problems that individuals struggle with on a daily basis such as loneliness, self-awareness, heartache and wondering what this, life, is all for.


Montero’s music is psychedelic/cosmic pop and borderline soft rock. His music is similar to psych band Pond, which makes sense because Jay Watson of Pond/Tame Impala/Gum co-produced the album.

Montero’s Bandcamp states that “Performer” was recorded in London and was also co-produced by Montero and Riccardo Damian, a Grammy Award winning engineer. All the instruments played in “Performer” were by Montero himself, Watson and Damian, with the help of a waitress from the studio cafe, who played violin, and an electric piano from Montero’s uncle.

The Album:

"Performer" is inarguably Bjenny Montero – each song ties into one another to create a story of introversion, overthinking things and coming to terms with wanting something more from life. This album feels like you’re on an airplane, a journey, about to fly somewhere cool, lifting off with “Montero Airlines” and slowly making its way, descending into the last and tenth track, “Pilot.” 

The album takes off with opening track “Montero Airlines.’ This retro, soft rock track is the perfect opener for the album. The song unfolds with the line, “Help / It’s not good for me to be all alone / Now / Alone right now.” This song has pilot-esque sampled sounds, playing to the theme of “flying montero” with a “first class ticket.” The track slowly makes its way into a psychedelic rock explosion towards the end, taking advantage of the glorious powers of layered synth sounds. Also, the drums are amazing.

“Caught Up in My Own World” is a light, airy track. “I’ve been caught up in my own world” is repeated throughout the song, making up a considerable amount of the lyrics, this line is sometimes accompanied with layered harmonies. The song sounds like what it’s like to be staring up at the clouds with endless thoughts running through your head. Like a lot of Montero’s songs, the beginning starts out simple and by the end of the track, there are added layers and instruments to the song, like uncovering some internal truth, coming to your senses and everything making sense slowly. Montero uses a sampled old-timey radio voice, with electronic sounds in this track, adding a little pizazz to the tune. 

The second the track “Vibrations” begins, first time listeners know it’s going to be a great song. The track is like an explosion. Listening to this charged song evokes a type of confetti-esque, colorful and revolutionary feeling that comes from songs from the Flaming Lips. It’s an easy track to listen to and feels kind of spooky and fun. The layered vocals in the chorus followed by higher-toned echoing vocals makes this track stand out. The vocals in the verses sounds like a riddle — it's fun and kind of spooky in a good way. This track is undeniably interesting and has many, many levels to it — something Montero proves he’s not afraid of doing in his songs throughout this album.

The track “Pilot” is the descension of a journey and the album. This tune is happy and feels like a cosmic escape. The bass in this song makes it a groovy, pop tune whose care-free sound contrasts with lyrics overflowing with doubt and confusion of life and its endless possibilities. This innocent sounding track is a great ending to the voyage that is “Performer.” 

Favorite Song:

Halfway through the album, the trip that is the track “Performer,” begins with a gentle, repetitive piano, then soon-after is layered with echoey, dreamy vocals. The drawn-out line “It appears to be the right decision in the end" sounds like it could be the cousin of Kevin Parker's of Tame Impala. This psychedelic track is reminiscent of an important theme of this album, coming to terms with life and decisions you have to make. Towards the end of the track, Montero takes advantage of electronic sounds, using an effect on his voice to sound almost robotic. I love this track because the beginning starts out so quiet and simple and by the end, there are so many elements to it all, telling an intricate story that stands out not only through the lyrics, but also the sound and emotions it evokes.

Conclusion:

“Performer” is a psych pop journey, where listeners get the opportunity to fly first-class on Montero Airlines. This 10-song album explores complicated themes of loneliness, overthinking and coming to terms with oneself, while never ceasing to keep up the good vibes through it all. 

Upcoming shows:

No upcoming shows



Reach the reporter at jlmyer10@asu.edu or follow @jessiemy94 on Twitter. 

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