PREMIERE: Daphne - Last Believer

Laura Kerry

A note on Daphne, AKA Jordan A. Martin’s Bandcamp page for her new EP reads, “The following poem should operate as both a description of and a companion to the record:

a total beTween ~ 
an orchid blooms on youtube ;) 
~ I die a lesbian . . .”

Martin, an artist who lives in Brooklyn but hails from Columbus, Ohio, writes poetry and creates visual art. Her musician bio reads like a museum blurb, citing performances and work shown at the Columbus Museum of Art, Wexner Center for the Arts, La MaMa Theatre, Dixon Place, and other venues in Ohio and New York. The themes listed on that bio read like a graduate thesis, including, “Desire, Pedagogy, and Institutionality as they intersect with race, class, age, and queerness.” Art seems to be the lens through which she approaches the world, thoughtfully and seriously broaching the most pressing of social issues.

Like its accompanying poem, though, Last Believer feels much lighter than its themes suggest. A collaboration between Martin—who sings and plays guitar—and friends Sivan Silver-Shwartz (bass), Sheena McGrath (drums), and Henry Ross (sax), the EP and its seven songs resemble good, old-fashioned alt-rock with an infusion of pop, jazz, and the just plain weird. The music tends towards a looser feel, but one thing is certain: Martin can shred, both on her instrument and in her vocals. And from the lively opener “All in All” to the slow arpeggio of “Alice,” shred she does.