Release Date: Mar 31, 2017
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic
Argentina-via-Brooklyn singer-songwriter Tei Shi's debut album has been several years coming -- her buzz-garnering 2014 single "Bassically" now feels like a distant memory, and it seems plausible that Valerie Teicher may have wanted to put some space between that single and her latest release, Crawl Space. Those hoping for a series of variations on the sumptuous power pop of "Bassically" aren't going to get it on Crawl Space, but that's not a criticism in the slightest: the album demonstrates Teicher's range with flair, all the while managing to remain cohesive. Teicher's silky-smooth vocals, often foregrounded, are a vital linchpin to this.
A product of Argentina, Colombia, Canada and Boston's Berklee College of Music, as a child Tei Shi would force herself into a crawl space to conquer her fear of the dark. Overcoming obstacles remains a theme on her seductive debut album. Tarantulas stud the video for Keep Running, a slice of breathy R&B pop. Previously known for her 2015 single Bassically, Tei Shi isn't technically an indie artist any more, but her bijou brand of left-field R&B shares space with Chairlift or Little Dragon.
Crawl Space is the full-length debut of Tei Shi, the performance alias of N.Y.C.-based singer and songwriter Valerie Teicher, an alum of the Berklee College of Music. Known to some for earlier EPs and singles like "M&Ms" and "Bassically," she incorporates layered vocal tracks, sometimes looped, into a slinky, efficient indie electronic sound. The album's title refers to a childhood habit of willing herself into the crawl space of her family's home for a moment each night when she found herself developing a fear of the dark.
Of all the things you’d expect Tei Shi to do, naming her record after a cramped, musty basement intended for accessing pipes is perhaps not one of the first things to spring to mind. Then again, Valerie Teicher has spent a good few hours lying in her house’s own crawl space during bouts of insomnia in her time, and four years in the making, there’s a sense that ‘Crawl Space’ puts in the graft, laying down those vital, considered foundations. It’s also a debut which took a fair amount of time to construct, as she let the initial buzz of her breakout single ‘Bassically’ pass her by, conquered her fears, and grappled with her artistic path as a whole.
Living in the moment requires more effort than you realize. Situated at the crossroads between the past and future, the present places you at the pivot of experience and your expectations, where dreams become actions. This juxtaposition constructs each person’s everyday reality, and forms the basis for Valerie Teicher’s, aka Tei Shi’s, debut album, Crawl Space.
The content of 'Crawl Space' is as bold and brazen as the cover art which depicts a tarantula moving across Tei Shi's face. The follow-up to 2013's 'Saudade' and EP 'Verde' (2015), this LP sonically takes a brighter path yet still manages to maintain a sense of introversion and apprehension, as highlighted by 'How Far', which addresses relationship struggles and the complications of being in one. "Is this a part of the game of the game?" she contemplates.