Cover Story: On The Underground: Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas

Ella Luna

Finally! I get to tell the world (or, you know, my readership, which I have to admit is huge) about one of my top ten favorite bands, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. I love this band, but, apparently, no one else does! Well, it’s not that no one else likes this band, it’s just that no one seems to know who they are. Though JHD are somewhat inactive, their music is so beautiful and so much fun to listen to.

I found them a couple of years ago, when one of my mutuals on Tumblr was promoting their cousin’s band, which ended up being Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. Liking the album art, and because judging a book by its cover, in my eyes, is valid, I checked out the band’s featured single, Demons. They’re from Detroit, with some of the most killer music videos I’ve ever seen, for an undergound group. Unfortunately, they don’t really have that many songs on their YouTube repertoire, but they did come out with an album called Secret Evil in 2014. Also, they released a pair of singles in 2015 that were featured in an Adam Scott/Jason Schwartzman movie, The Overnight. I suppose this is a plus; as in, with the release of new music every couple of weeks/months to battle the chronic American state of what I like to call GIVE-ME-MORE-itis, a quality over quantity approach sometimes feels like a lost art. However, the phenomenon that long hiatuses creates (though torturous) is increased demand. In other words, distance makes the heart grow fonder in the case of Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas.

The lead singer’s sultry voice places them in the pop/soul genre. Her singing is pleasant to listen to, based on how low and strong it is. Excluding the genre differences between them, she gives strong reminders of Marina Diamandis (of Marina and the Diamonds, of course). The instrumentals, however, are loyal to the pop and alternative genres, mirroring bands with powerful rhythms sections like the Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, The Neighbourhood, Everclear, Chastity Belt, etc.

Not only do their lyrics fit in with the poetic slash ‘doesn’t-make-sense’ nature of the alternative genre, they’re also fun. And, as every good band does, JHD avoids the cookie-cutter mentatlity. Their more alternative songs are beautiful, and elusively hard to pin down, with amazing metaphors and imagery, but they still have lyrics that pack a punch that appeals to listener’s more comedic side; for instance, on Demons, in which Hernandez sings, “taking everything / store it like a hoarding man / ‘cause you can’t let things go”. Of course, one of my favorite songs of theirs, Sorry I Stole Your Man, also has its more poetic moments. A good example occurs on the bridge of this song, where the narrator tries to level with the target of the song in a kind of confusing way: “If you keep your small arms loaded /I‘ll wonder what you get.”

I could say a lot more about why I like this band’s music. I could say it meets a very certain aesthetic, one that’s both fun and full-bodied. I could say that their relative obscurity, and unavailability (because they don’t have shows anywhere nearby, cry) is alluring and seductive. However, the most truthful reason is that their lyrics make killer Instagram captions. I’m not even kidding! Their songs have so many Instagram-worthy taglines that I’ve never even used one; it’s simply too difficult to pick one. Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas is simply a great underground band to have in your back pocket. Their name is killer, like a cool garage rock outfit from the ‘80s, and their music is highly entertaining, but not nearly as insipid as much of the entertaining music on the radios today.