Bachelor, the new project from Melina Duterte (Jay Som) and Ellen Kempner (Palehound), is not a band, it's a friendship.
In January of 2020, the duo packed the entirety of Duterte's recording equipment into two cars and headed to a rental house in Topanga, CA where over the course of two weeks, they wrote and recorded their debut album Doomin' Sun. In this space, Kempner and Duterte hybridized their individual songwriting talents, producing a collection that slips between moods with ease and showcases their lyrical prowess. On the bass-heavy rock song "Stay in the Car," the duo paint a yearning portrait of a woman in a supermarket parking lot, a barely-contained desire oozing out of cotidian descriptions like: "She burns out of the market/ Plastic bags digging into wrists/ Blood stuck in her fingertips." The heavy bass makes another appearance on "Anything At All," a track with a chorus so playful it could be a schoolyard taunt, defying the darker lyrical themes heard on the verses.There was a lot of pain that went into the record, especially around themes of queerness and climate change inspired by the red skies and wildfires subsuming Australia at the time. However, when the duo did shed tears during the creative process, they weren't tears of sadness, they were tears of laughter. When Kempner and Duterte look back on those weeks, what they remember first is shortness of breath and the inability to track vocal takes without falling to the floor howling. They couldn't remember a time they'd ever been so delirious with creativity, so overwhelmed with joy.