Houston Music

Summer Crush: Mandy Kim Clinton of Pearl Crush Talks Latest Release

Mandy Kim Clinton of Pearl Crush is indie-pop at its best.
Mandy Kim Clinton of Pearl Crush is indie-pop at its best. Daniela Galindo
Mandy Kim Clinton’s new project Pearl Crush is sweet, saccharine indie-pop at its best. Her latest 7”, featuring tracks “First Blush” and “Semiprecious Stone,” is marked by shimmering guitar and lulling vocals while laying the indie-pop on thick. “Semiprecious Stone” is a song that registers in that beautiful retro haze complete with distorted guitar solos, and the track “First Blush” lends itself to coy harmonies that call to mind first foolish loves and crushes. Clinton’s sun-baked vocals fuse with psychedelic dream pop that makes for a great summer soundtrack we’re currently crushin’ on.

Clinton, who was born in South Korea but grew up in the Lone Star State, spent her childhood playing music, but it wasn’t until her high school years that she really started to test her skills in songwriting. Clinton did the DIY thing and taught herself to play basic chords and wrote songs on the guitar, but it wasn’t until the past few years that Clinton took music production to a more serious light. “I’ve always been a musician and I’ll never be able to not want to write songs, but it’s only been within the last few years that I’ve started seriously writing music with the intent of performing, recording and releasing it. And Pearl Crush is my first whack at producing and arranging music.”

Clinton began performing as Pearl Crush late last year and has been working intensely to produce the 7”. Clinton recalled the process for producing “Semiprecious Stone” and “First Blush” in her interview with the Press. “After writing these two songs, I knew I wanted to record them myself, so I spent the next several months learning basic recording techniques and how to use Ableton. I produced, recorded and mixed the tracks entirely on my own. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it all and having a 7” pressed of these songs was a way of documenting that experience.”

As for the future, Clinton is currently a core member of the local booking collective DAMN GXRL, which works to amplify marginalized artists, especially women, non-binary and queer artists of color. She says, “I’ve started exploring electronic music and synth pop most recently, and that’s kind of the direction things are headed now.” Clinton currently performs with the band Clare, has an electro pop EP in the works and plans to release it on the independent label she co-owns with her partner called Poison Moon Records.

Pearl Crush performs at White Oak Music Hall on July 1 with Children of Pop, DJ Kona FM, and John Allen Stephens, $10.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Veronica Anne Salinas is a writer and sound artist. Her sound has been featured at Gallery E.V.A. (TX) and Art League Houston (TX). Her writing has appeared in the Houston Press as well as several other publications throughout Texas.