The day I met Blushed in South Philly for this interview, it was pouring rain. And the bar we had agreed upon was closed, unexpectedly. Bassist Alyssa Milman and I huddled under an awning, frantically texting the group chat, trying to stay dry while we chose a new meeting spot. I’m glad we settled on the Pope, or Pub on Passyunk East, because ultimately, I couldn’t have imagined a better setting for our chat. The Pope is a South Philly classic dive, complete with old wooden booths, neon bar signs, and the ultimate draw: half-price happy hour drafts. It wasn’t the beer that kept our conversation flowing, however. It was this group’s generosity and boundless passion.
What I was most surprised to learn about Blushed is that, from a technical standpoint, these musicians are new to their craft. Blushed is the first project in which Paper Scissors Media founder Matty Klauser has ever played drums, and that Kississippi guitarist Alyssa Millman has ever played bass. It’s Missy Pigeon’s first time ever fronting a band, and Dan Leinweber’s first experience contributing lead guitar on a band of this scale. Matty sums it up best by saying “no one is on their main shit.”
Listening to their most recent release, I Love You So Much It Hurts, one could never tell these musicians weren’t born with their individual instruments in their hands. Blushed casts aside traditional songwriting for something more intuitive and organic. What they lack in technicality, they more than make up for in ingenuity. Their music is the visual art equivalent of modernism: a rejection of what’s been done before in the spirit of creating something more visceral and pure.
Most of Blushed’s songs are written by Missy, who brings the shell of a song to the band to fill out. The process is wholly collaborative at that point. Alyssa, Dan, and Matty all have classical music backgrounds, but tend to cast aside the rules when writing for Blushed. The spirit of the band’s songwriting comes from Missy’s “intuitive simplicity,” as Matty describes it. Alyssa writes their bass parts by ear; they say they “move it around, slide it until I like how it sounds.” Dan is also an unconventional lead guitarist in the sense that his solos are humble but striking. “Dan’s solos are like a few well-placed notes and an apology,” jokes Matty.
Since forming in 2016, Blushed has been on a steady upward trajectory. They all remember what it felt like to play empty rooms--there was once a gig so small it didn’t even have its own PA or drumset--but those days are now far behind them. Their EP release show on February 13th at Boot & Saddle was full of fans eager to hear new music. It’s also not uncommon to tune into WXPN’s local show and hear a Blushed tune. In 2019, the band reached a local music milestone: recording a Key Studio Session with John Vettese. The future looks bright for this powerful foursome based in South Philly. You can stream I Love You So Much It Hurts produced by Good How Are You Records on Spotify and Bandcamp now. And do yourself a favor by coming out to one of their upcoming Philly dates. Stay tuned to @blushedband on Instagram for details. Also, @cherryveenzine because we sure won’t miss a chance to see these friends do their thing.