Tei Shi is the alias of Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Valerie Teicher, and the music she makes is deceptively simple. It always starts out quietly, a single idea trembling over a refined palette of sound, frequently stripping back to harmonies and nothing else – but as it builds, always with total mastery and never giving away too much, it touches so squarely on the feelings of nostalgia and melancholy hinted at by its title that it's almost painful.
Here at Dummy Tei Shi first caught our ears with her pretty ode to a lost love, M&Ms, but it's only now in the context of the full range and depth of her EP that the double-edged blade of her talent is obvious. The creepy-cute refrain of "he wants to see my insides" among the vocal tangles of Adder(f)all and the compliment "you were sickasfuck…you were like a pill" delivered in a high-pitched harmonised round like an otherworldly schoolgirls' choir on Sickasfuck are just two examples of how Tei Shi uses her voice and her words to make hers listeners conflicted, springing the unexpected on them.
Nature vs Nurture, the penultimate track, jerks suddenly into life with an insistent kick drum around halfway in, before rounding off the EP with a sharp left turn into the acapella shiver that is Heart-Shaped Birthmark, firmly underlining this artist's ability to keep you guessing, and moving, just when you think you've got her figured out. Stream this phenonemally individual debut release in full below, and if you're in New York, get tickets to see her lve on the 4th December.
Tei Shi released 'Saudade' on the 12th November 2013.