Hometown: Fun Fact: Why She's Worth Watching: For Fans Of: Lissy Trullie always slips a cover into her live sets, but pairing her new-wave instincts with garden-variety “girl with guitar” material doesn't interest her.
These eclectic sensibilities spill over from Trullie's nights spent spinning techno, hip-hop and punk as a DJ at New York's Beatrice Inn. But for all of its blog-buzz potential, the Hot Chip adaptation takes a backseat to five worthy originals that fill out her debut EP, Self-Taught Learner (out Feb. 17 on American Myth Recordings). "A lot of people think it's is a love song, which it is, in a way," Trullie says of the EP's title track, calling from a van carrying her band and manager to a date opening for the Virgins in Chapel Hill, N.C. Buried in the song's catchy melody is a message for a departed friend, which builds to the bridge of Trullie singing from the bottom rungs of her vocal range, "Oh, I want to die with you/ and can I join you?"
But even at its bleakest moments, the EP never betrays a commitment to chugging through with a robust beat intact. The songs were recorded at a pair of New York-area studios last year after a while in developmental limbo; annoyance resonates in Trullie's voice as she describes a producer she worked with early on who tried to peg her sound too closely to “'80s girl punk or '60s girl bands.” “I don't want to be in any specific genre,” she says.
Although the EP is mostly a four-piece rock statement—with an array of post-punk riffs courtesy of guitarist Eben D'Amico, scarcely nodding to his past gig as bassist for emo-rockers Saves the Day—Trullie itches to eventually fatten up the sound of her eventual full-length album with piano, horns and possibly xylophone. ("It's great for a little bit of icing on your cake,” she says.) For now, as she experiences an uptick in touring, she's is working to preserve her signature, cigarette-charred voice. Her new vocal preparations have been—wait for it— self-taught via an instructional DVD. “The first step is sleep a lot, don't smoke and drink,” Trullie says. “Aw shit, I'm doing this all wrong.”