Jamaican Queens Not ‘Trapped’ in Detroit

Jamaican Queens live at Glasslands, 1/16

A first listen to self-proclaimed ‘trap-pop’ act Jamaican Queens hints
at a band sprouted from Pitchfork’s petri dish. After all, their two
singles are beat-dominated tracks with fuzzy, distorted vocals and a
likeness to Diamond Rings or maybe Yeasayer.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll find a duo from Detroit which grew out of
Prussia, a catchy, art-pop act which disbanded just a year ago. This
past summer, lead singer Ryan Spencer and his partner/guitarist Adam
Pressley shaved their act down to a duo and got more dance-y.

Since then, they’ve quickly taken all the stops towards internet buzz:
incessant touring, features in influential music publications Nylon and
Noisey, their debut album, “Wormwood,” out in March and dates lined up
for SXSW in Austin.

Locally Amped caught them at Glasslands in Brooklyn last Wednesday,
where they played their short set to a smaller crowd than anticipated.
Their songs showcase Spencer’s airy, seemingly apathetic songs about
much harsher subjects — “Kids Get Away” talks about some kids in a bad
neighborhood slicing up a friend’s face.

The duo were best when Spencer’s wavy, reverb-y voice was meshed with a
stripped-down guitar/drum combo. Although not a particularly memorable
set, a friend put it best. “Detroit’s such a shit hole, I admire them
for [their sound].”

Even in this internet age, place does matter and they do have that on
their side.  If these guys continue playing their cards right — or maybe
exaggerate their southern rap influences, they could be opening for an artist on the scale of Washed Out down the line. Locally Amped sure wouldn’t mind seeing
that bill.


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