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Moor Jewelry | True Opera

Moor Mother & Mental Jewelry present a desperately raw slab of post-punk power.


Two heads are etc. Especially when the noggins in question sit atop the shoulders of Camae Ayewa (aka Moor Mother) and Steve Montenegro (aka Mental Jewelry). On this desperately raw slab of spontaneous post-punk strum ’n’ clang, the former supplies her trademark politically poetic lyrics, urgent delivery and dangerous guitar slashes, while the latter keeps the whole affair lurching and lunging forward with his furiously pounding beats and subterranean basslines. It ain’t opera by a long shot, but it couldn’t sound much truer and more raw and real.

THE PRESS RELEASE:True Opera is a full-length collaboration between producers Moor Mother and Mental Jewelry. Moor Jewelry’s 2017 EP Crime Waves was a work focused largely on electronic instruments and computer-based composition. On True Opera, the duo took a different approach — exploring the visceral, physical punk music that the duo grew up listening to. The tracks were improvised in the recording studio during two sessions. Mental Jewelry played drums and bass. Moor Mother performed guitar and vocals. Later, they were joined by drummer Philip Price (Kayo Dot). “We grew up going to punk shows and playing in punk bands,” explains Steve Montenegro (Mental Jewelry). “We missed the energy of playing instruments live together. On a computer everything is accounted for. This has all of the imperfections and flubs — it’s more of a direct conduit. I think — at least for me, for people my age — there was a shift away from punk rock. At a certain point, you started getting into other music,” he says. “Now I’m like, ‘Crass was right about everything’.”