PLAYING DETROIT: Stef Chura “Slow Motion”

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video still for “Slow Motion” filmed by Molly Soda

There’s something unidentifiably exciting about Stef Chura. It would be an easy out to say her warbled, playful vocal contortions are the key to her aforementioned excitability, which are undoubtedly fearless and perfectly flawed. Last month, I referred to her vocal playground as one crafted by Karen O meets Johnathon Richman, but with the recent release of “Slow Motion” off of her up and coming album Messes, I can see how I quickly generalized her aesthetic. Chura creates space and fills it with confessionary uncertainty. What Chura is doing is entirely all her own.

“Slow Motion” encapsulates personal frustration and manages to make a lo-fi cry for clarity anthemic for anyone who has ever wanted to control the speed of their own reality. The lyrics “you bottle/me in your pocket and explode/give me something/and I don’t know what it’s for/and right when it starts/ to feel like home/it’s time to go” paints an universal exploration of impermanence in feeling comfortable with ourselves as individuals, as well as our comfortability as a piece of our respective social quilt. With Ryan Clancy on drums and producer Fred Thomas on bass, Chura’s vocals are practically framed by the jumpy, hazy rhythms allowing her to use her beautifully tortured voice to maim and repair parts of the song at her leisure.

The video, which is a desaturated Microsoft Paint snack party in Detroit’s UFO Factory bathroom (inarguably the most popular bar bathroom for selfies) poses Chura as an unenthused guest of honor surrounded by balloons, toilet snacks, and a listless oversized stuffed bear. Shot by internationally acclaimed digital artist and Detroit implant Molly Soda, “Slow Motion” is a vivid collaboration between wanting to feel part of a whole and wanting to fall apart, whisked together with whimsy and an old screensaver from the 90’s. The party gets tripped out and psychedelically rambunctious as the guests go crazy with silly string and happy face balloons that seem melancholic in context. The video is a play on party culture and for Detroiters, gives a voice to an iconic space while touching base with those deep-rooted sad girl vibes, that need someone like Chura to portray with sincerity and unapologetic malaise.

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