For a video in which not much actually happens, Daphne’s “Crooner” is unexpectedly intriguing and confrontational. In the Zach Teplin–made work, a woman (played by Liz Kidwell) sits draped over a couch, smoking a cigarette while wearing only a fur jacket and old-timey bangs in her hair as she stares at the camera. Surrounded by a white frame in the shot, the scene emulates an old, elegant, black-and-white porn film, crackling with distortions on the screen as the woman smokes and stares, stares and smokes.
Minimalistic and retro, it’s the kind of video that allows the music to speak for itself. And in the case of “Crooner,” that’s a great quality. Off of the artist’s debut EP, Last Believer, the song sounds like the Pixies if they graduated from art school in New York recently and made poetry, visual art, and music in Brooklyn. Daphne, who is really Jordan Martin and a rotating cast of her collaborators, did and does all of those things. On Martin’s website, “music” sits alongside other categories of artwork, including poetry, prose, and videos, among other mediums—but she clearly has enough talent to go around. Like its video, the song “Crooner” does a lot with a little, harnessing driving guitar, light percussion, and accents of yelps in the vocals to pack a real punch. It’s more than enough to tide us over until the rest of the EP comes out at the end of the month.