Thursday, August 18, 2016

Up and Coming: PERL

Artist: PERL

Style: Alternative / Indie

From: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY

Formed: July 2016

It should be said: Bulletproof Stockings could have been the start of a revolution.

Not because they proved you can totally make quality rock music while  still adhering to the restrictions of kol isha (hi, band that's been around since the '80s), or even by playing to all-female crowds at Webster Hall and Arlene's Grocery like it was no big deal. No, the revolution of BPS was that they had all the ingredients to cross over simply on the strength of their music. Instead of talented-but-gimmicky artists like Matisyahu and the Maccabeats making the talk show rounds, BPS could have been the first actively Jewish band - an all-female one, no less - to be playing Lollapalooza and showing up on alternative stations like any other rock band, just because their music was that good. With a well-received first EP and a Kickstarted album with two very promising singles, we could have been on our way to the start of a credible Jewish rock scene.

Unfortunately, the band broke up back in April before their album could get a full release, but apparently frontwoman Perl Wolfe didn't like the idea of getting a day job because she waited all of three months before starting a new band. PERL, composed of 3/4 of Bulletproof Stockings (minus drummer Dalia Shusterman, but what are you gonna do?), made its debut last month with a rooftop concert at the Manhattan JCC and is already getting press from The Jewish Week and The Huffington Post. Reportedly, PERL has a much more stripped-down and nuanced sound than their predecessor, with more plain-spoken lyrics and varied instrumentation like violin and saxophone; Wolfe told the Jewish Week, "In some ways, it’s more pulled back than the Bulletproof Stockings music, but it’s also more easily relatable. I feel like I’m finding my voice." 

At this writing, however, the only video on the band's YouTube channel is a live demo of a song called "Subside" (see below), which does indeed seem to be darker and more somber than the often loud and dramatic Stockings.

The Jewish Week article also mentions plans for an album before the year is out, so it will be interesting to see if PERL can recreate or even surpass the momentum that BPS had before their demise.

PERL can be found on Facebook at

So this will be the section where I talk about new Jewish artists that, for whatever reason, don't have an album yet. Again, please let me know in the comments if there are any new artists you'd like me to cover. Remember, anything from Shwekey to Zorn is fair game!

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