Twenty-seven-year-old singer Stephanie Stolorow says she comes from a hip-hop and soul background. Before starting the indie outfit Phonofly, she was better known as emcee Bublrap – an alias that actually fits Stolorow to a T. The fashionable, San Francisco-based, self-professed yoga aficionado would light-weight flow over tracks provided by her beat programmer boyfriend. She became known for having a cute cabbage patch doll voice – just a little less nyah-nyah-cute than Gwen Stefani or Deborah Harry, and a little less coochie-coochie-coo than Corrine Bailey Rae.
But you can’t really hear the hip-hop influences in Phonofly’s debut album What You Seek, on which Stolorow sounds more new wave than anything else. Her lyrics, which often dwell on bad-relationship themes like seduction and temptation (“Nasty Habit”), or getting turned down (“Big Red Booth”), add a kind of disarming tartness to what might otherwise be a garden-variety rock-funk band. Fortunately, Stolorow also benefits from the individual talent within her well-rehearsed rhythm section. Guitarist Doug Major and bass player Justin Miller , who collaborate on most of the arrangements, obviously share a solid jazz and rock background – the basslines, in particular, sound more studied than what you’d expect to hear from a local multi-genre outfit. Drummer Jayme Arredondo, whose MySpace page is replete with, uh, quaint little Jamaican sayings, shines most with the drum fills on “Pick Up” and the ska-driven “This Is Not Goodbye.”
Phonofly will hold its release party Thursday, April 26 at Mojito in San Francisco. The event starts at 9 p.m. and costs nothing; DJ Cyan (Soulstream, Grime City) will spin downtempo, hip-hop, and dubstep. Click here to hear Phonofly spinning live.