Kindred spirits: Best Coast, Chvrches,
Show: With Smith Westerns on Monday
at the 9:30 Club. Doors open at 7 p.m.
202-265-0930. www.930.com. $20.
She’s only 21, but Sky Ferreira has been churning in the music-industry machine for half a decade, much of it as a problem child for major-label minders who weren’t sure what to do with the awkward rock singer who looks like a model.
Rather than let her angst-filled, teenage pop songs sit on the shelf until she was too old to embody them, in 2012 Ferreira leaked her own single, “Everything Is Embarrassing,” a blippy pop track time-warped from 1988. The music media took notice, anointing the tune one of last year’s best.
Ferreira, finally seeming to hold the reins of her own career, hasn’t squandered the opportunity. Her much-delayed debut album, “Night Time, My Time,” released late last month, is a collection of grungy ditties that are surprisingly solid, a fun ride even if they do add up to a handful of disparate thoughts rather than a masterpiece of an album.
Hints of Best Coast, Garbage and old Siouxsie and the Banshees creep into the fuzzy, distorted tracks, but lyrically, Ferreira is as plain-spoken as a rock-and-roll Taylor Swift. On album opener “Boys,” she sings, “You put my faith back in boys,” and on the defeated breakup tune “You’re Not the One,” she’s just a teenage girl with plenty of guy problems. Even the album cover makes a calculated tug for your heartstrings, with Ferreira photographed topless and wet, not sexy but rattlingly vulnerable.
In September, just as Ferreira was scheduled to go on tour with Vampire Weekend and play Virgin Mobile FreeFest, she was arrested on drug and other charges with her boyfriend, Zachary Cole Smith of shoegaze act DIIV. Coupled with the album’s myriad delays, it could have been Ferreira’s undoing. Instead, “Night Time, My Time” serves to normalize the singer, and might even have listeners rooting for her.