In the bitingly loquacious “Once & Twice,” Cherry Chrome’s lead singer and songwriter, Xenia Bleveans-Holm, says a lot of things a sophomore in high school shouldn’t be saying, if only for lack of the life experience on display throughout the song. By the time she drops an F-bomb, she instantly sings, “I’m sorry.”
“Everyone is so ambitious, I’m just feeling sad and vicious, I cannot bring myself to care, I’m wishing to be anywhere, anywhere but here.” These seem to be intuitive sentiments gleaned from the third side of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville (which until recently she wasn’t allowed to hear the rest of) or the menagerie of music made by her parents Melanie and David while Xenia was a glimmer in their eyes.
“I attended Bigfoot shows in the womb,” Bleveans-Holm said of her parents’ band.
Yet despite her lack of lived experience and the short lifespan of the current configuration of Cherry Chrome—Mick Martinez on guitar, Amina Adesini on bass, and dad, David, on drums—there’s a weight to the music they are making that is just as heavy as their peers. It’s reminiscent of the rustic melancholy of Waxahatchee and locals like All Dogs and our city’s patron saint of pissed-off, broken-heart, shit-kicking, Lydia Loveless. The current CD102.5 constant “Velvet” is as poised and confident as the aforementioned “Once & Twice.” So much so it could even render some of their ilk insincere.
“I don’t feel like there’s much competition really, because there are about 2O different bands made up of the same 1O people. We’re all out to just make music and accomplish the same things.”
The immediacy, or inherent foundation, makes sense. Go back and listen to Bigfoot’s 1999 under-heard and underappreciated Columbus classic Dark Old Days to understand how daughter Xenia was passed the torch. She wrote her first song in the fourth grade, and though you’d think the first thoughts of a teenager would be finals and summer break, Cherry Chrome are curious to know if they’re playing ComFest this year (unfortunately, they’re not—shame on ComFest!) or listening to the Strokes “over and over again.”
Dad is the anchor, or as he prefers, “coach,” and in that role provides sizable guidance for Cherry Chrome, both inspirationally and professionally. His connections and experience landed the girls in the studio of Mike DiCenzo earlier this year. There the band recorded 14 tracks for a future release, and in the process, found the band as whole was more than capable of adding a sonic depth not originally present in Xenia’s first renderings.
“Mike had a lot to say as far as how to get certain tones and coming back in and overdubbing new parts,” David said. “What he did really made the guitars sound gigantic. For me, that was more like working with a producer more than anything else I’ve ever done. He helped a lot.”
With music in the family bloodline, Xenia and Dad can pinpoint their very first collaboration, an elementary school jingle called “Sicky Bag,” but it wasn’t until Xenia started attending ACPA (The Arts and College Preparatory Academy) that there was a drive to start a “real” project. She met Martinez at Instaband, a high school battle that was hosted by Groove U last summer, and has known Adesini since they were in pre school. The music programs at ACPA and Columbus Alternative School, which Adesini attends, with myriad after-school clubs and classes simply titled “Rock Band,” have certainly proliferated the number of teenage bands drawing sizeable crowds and significant buzz around Columbus. The girls rattled off a handful of groups—including Echolation, Christopher Robin, and Martinez’s last outfit, Underground Magic—that have all emerged from the same nucleus.
“I don’t feel like there’s much competition really,” Martinez said, “because there are about 20 different bands made up of the same 10 people. We’re all out to just make music and accomplish the same things.”
How Cherry Chrome’s first physical release will come to fruition is still undecided, though a number of titles and scenarios were thrown about. The only thing concrete is the songs. The music is there. When asked if Kickstarter was a viable option for the girls, who, without many paying gigs under their belt, sit with a band fund totaling $65, the answer was simple and humble.
“We should take advantage of our age,” Xenia said. “There are people out there who want to give us their money.”