Jazmine Mary likes to take their time. Their plaintive indie folk songs possess a quietening stillness, stopping the world around you for a few minutes. Redolent of Florist or Shannen Moser, they perform softly, carefully, allowing their words to unfold organically.
They’re also someone who can sing, “So get your wet mouth / And put it on me,” repeat the lyric, and imbue it both times with some sense of profundity. It’s a neat skill to have at your disposal.
That line features on Mary’s second single of the year, “Wet Mouth”, which opens wistfully: “I thought I’d never get out / Alive / I’m from a small town / But I’ll take the romance out.”
Born in Australia, Mary grew up in the Victorian rural region of Gippsland, and eventually found a community in Aotearoa. One of the people they met was Annabel Kean – one-half of Auckland filmmaking crew Sports Team – who co-directed the music video for “Wet Mouth”, which is premiering on Rolling Stone AU/NZ today.
On a quiet road, a wayward bagpiper plays the clip in (it’s unclear if their inclusion was planned or they are the type of bagpiper who probably haunts lonesome country roads when they think no one else is around). Beside them, Mary sits atop a motorbike in a bright yellow suit, looking like a forgotten Tarantino character. Mary proceeds to travel alone down the road as solemn strings and ponderous lyrics surround them.
Where are they going? It’s probably not back to rural Australia, but Mary is all too keenly aware of the perilous dishonesty one’s memories of their younger years can hold.
“The memory is a liar and a thief – I find that nostalgia is wildly rose-tinted and I have painted these pictures of my past and self that are completely fabricated,” they explain. “There is a romance to being from somewhere no one you love has been – but the reality is like sand stuck in my teeth.
“There is a grounding and hope I’m exploring here. I can come back to my body and sensation and love and some kind of earthly spirit shit, wet mouth dah.”
It’s a dangerous notion for anyone who has left their homeland: to imagine everything was comfortable in the past, that the small town you grew up in was peaceful, and the fractious relationships you endured weren’t as broken as you thought they were.
“Wet Mouth” arrives in ideal time at the beginning of NZ Music Month, and is further proof that Mary was a deserving winner of the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut at last year’s Taite Music Prize for their debut album, The Licking of a Tangerine.
Mary’s new single will feature on Dog, the much-anticipated follow-up to their debut album, which is set for release on June 2nd. “Wet Mouth” also follows their first single of the year, “Seagull”, which performed well on Student Radio Network.
Following the release of Dog, Mary will tour New Zealand in support of the album, stopping in Auckland, Wellington, Lyttelton, Dunedin, Raglan and Tauranga throughout July (see full dates below).
Jazmine Mary’s “Wet Mouth” is out Friday, May 5th.
Jazmine Mary 2023 New Zealand Tour
Tickets available via undertheradar.co.nz
Saturday, July 8th
Hollywood Cinema, Auckland
Thursday, July 13th
San Fran, Wellington
Saturday, July 15th
Thursday, July 20th
Friday, July 28th
The Yard, Raglan
Saturday, July 29th
Jam Factory, Tauranga