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The reggae variant of ska has seen many treatments, from the laidback, beachy mode to the zoot-suited, lounge-lizard sort. Both sides get covered in Phonofly's snappy songs. Crisp rim shots come direct from the Caribbean, but thrumming bass lines and tremulous vocals beg to differ. -

Thu Apr 19, 2007

Twenty-seven-year-old singer Stephanie Stolorow says she comes from a hip-hop and soul background. Before starting the indie outfit Phonofly, she was better known as emcee Bublrap - an alias that actually fits Stolorow to a T. The fashionable, San Francisco-based, self-professed yoga aficionado would light-weight flow over tracks provided by her beat programmer boyfriend. She became known for having a cute cabbage patch doll voice - just a little less nyah-nyah-cute than Gwen Stefani or Deborah Harry, and a little less coochie-coochie-coo than Corrine Bailey Rae.

But you can't really hear the hip-hop influences in Phonofly's debut album What You Seek, on which Stolorow sounds more new wave than anything else. Her lyrics, which often dwell on bad-relationship themes like seduction and temptation ("Nasty Habit"), or getting turned down ("Big Red Booth"), add a kind of disarming tartness to what might otherwise be a garden-variety rock-funk band. Fortunately, Stolorow also benefits from the individual talent within her well-rehearsed rhythm section. Guitarist Doug Major and bass player Justin Miller, who collaborate on most of the arrangements, obviously share a solid jazz and rock background - the basslines, in particular, sound more studied than what you'd expect to hear from a local multi-genre outfit. Drummer Jayme Arredondo, whose MySpace page is replete with, uh, quaint little Jamaican sayings, shines most with the drum fills on "Pick Up" and the ska-driven "This Is Not Goodbye."

Phonofly will hold its release party Thursday, April 26 at Mojito in San Francisco. The event starts at 9 p.m. and costs nothing; DJ Cyan (Soulstream, Grime City) will spin downtempo, hip-hop, and dubstep. Click here to hear Phonofly spinning live. -Rachel Swan - East Bay Express

July 12, 2006
Elbo Room
San Francisco, CA
The Elbo Room was packed for a Wednesday night. Local four-piece Phonofly began the night's live music with a simple lineup of guitar, bass, vocal and drums. Singer Steph Stolorow led the band through a sort of R&B, funk and pop set. Drummer Jayme Arredondo's reggae-inspired drumbeats gave the band the swagger and danceable rhythm needed to support their sound. A simple set of loungy songs about nasty habits kept the crowd pumped and ready for Finless Brown... -Matthew Johnson - West Coast Performer Magazine

Stevenson alum heads up-and-coming Bay Area soul and rock band, Phonofly
March 29, 2007
By Marc Cabrera

In her own little way, Stephanie Stolorow has been preparing for a life as a hip-hop-inspired, funk/rock soulstress for some time now.

"I grew up with music," said the 27-year-old Stevenson School alum, who heads up the San Francisco-based soul rock outfit Phonofly. "I took tons of classes growing up, tried all kinds of instruments. I took classes in school and was in an a capella group in college."

Phonofly will make a rare appearance close to Stolorow's home when they perform Friday night at The Attic in Santa Cruz. The show starts at 7 p.m. Phonofly will open up for bands Bag of Toys, Don McClosky and Slackstring.

Phonofly's members include Doug Major on guitar, Justin Miller on bass, Jayme Arredondo on drums and Stolorow on lead vocals.

Stolorow formed the band about two years ago, after engaging herself in the Bay Area's hip-hop scene and experimenting with turntables and beats.

"It was just a private thing, I wasn't letting anyone hear that," Stolorow said. Soon, she was performing in front of crowds with a backing CD. The vibe felt good, but not good enough.

She sought out other musicians to jam with, recruiting band members through the Web site One by one, she put the pieces of the puzzle together.

With Stolorow's hip-hop inflected lyrics, the band started out as a "hip-hop rock hybrid." That sound has varied a bit to what Stolorow now terms "soul rock" - a mix of funk, rock, R&B and reggae.

Phonofly's first album, "What You Seek," is a testament to that sound blend, with many of the songs mixing various musical elements for a unique pop music experience.

"A lot of the music was formed from songs I had written over the past year or so. We would just take that structure and all of the musicians would add their own parts to it," said Stolorow. "The guy that joined most recently is our drummer, and he comes from a reggae background, so now it's really changed."

Stolorow said she still has some hip-hop influences in her lyrics and the band does get booked for hip-hop shows from time to time.

"I still have those influences in some of my lyric delivery," Stolorow said. "But the influence is a seed of the past that is not completely present now."

Stolorow's hip-hop lyricism is everpresent on the song "Nasty Habit," where she sings her raps to a pulsing wah-wah funk groove with some ska-infused guitar picking.

On the song, she laments: "You're a nasty habit, I thought I was done with you/but you always show up when when I can't resist you/And you make me do things I'd never do, with your voodoo."

Stolorow is coy about who or what the song is referring to.

"The lyrics could be based on a few things still going on in my life. It's nasty habits, so it could be referring to a person or imbibing something else," she said. "It was definitely based on things going on both relationship-wise and lifestyle-wise. I tried to make it seem like it's kind of a mystery."

Other songs, like the album's title track, display a knack for catchy hooks and pop vocals. Stolorow's voice rides the jittery rhythm before the hook lifts through and catches a dreamy flight.

Stolorow hopes the band can catch flight in the competitive Bay Area music scene, where bands seem to grow out of the cracks in the ground.

In the meantime, she looks forward to coming to the Central Coast and performing close to home. She's also proud that she found something she didn't necessarily plan on getting into - music.

"It's been like kind of a wild ride. If you asked me three years ago what I'd be doing, I'd probably say this wasn't part of the plan," Stolorow said. "I found something I thought I was good at and really enjoyed and gave it a shot." - Monterey Herald

I think it's hard to come up with a fresh and funky new sound. Phonofly has done just that and has succeeded in capturing a relaxed groove that's hard to peg down: it's soulish, it's guitar-driven rocky, and even a bit electronic-y. Stands outs include the title track "What You Seek" with its fast-slow approach and pining lyrics. The gleeful and biting "Nasty Habit" tells a significant other that they just aren't significant enough. And the ethereal "Heaven" conjures up a smooth sound with outstanding vocals and a fun faux rap. Overall, this teaser EP forecasts great things to come from this new band. -Jerry Diego - iTunes


What You Seek, 2007



"Phonofly's first album, 'What You Seek,' is a testament to...sound blend[ing]... The album's title track, display[s] a knack for catchy hooks..." -Monterey Herald

"The reggae variant of ska has seen many treatments, from the laidback, beachy mode to the zoot-suited, lounge-lizard sort. Both sides get covered in Phonofly's snappy songs. Crisp rim shots come direct from the Caribbean, but thrumming bass lines and tremulous vocals beg to differ." Editor's Review

"[The] creative arrangement [of the album's title track, 'What You Seek,' features] intriguing transitions...keeps the listeners on their toes, so to speak." -TAXI

If you're looking for a band that fits the mold, you won't find it in Phonofly. One of these things is not like the other - each member of the San Francisco-based four-piece possesses a distinctly different musical background and none of them feels the need to bend their style to fit Phonofly's sound. So what are they - rock, neo-soul, ska? Well, a little bit of each, culminating in what the Monterey Herald calls a "unique pop experience." Singer/lyricist Steph Stolorow formed the band in early 2005 with the initial idea of combining rock and urban sounds, in part influenced by her stint as DJ BubLRap - thus electric guitar and sampling coalesced into a backdrop for Stolorow's varied delivery in the early stages of the band. Her delivery still varies - "smooth, grooving, lush vocals" ( that can go from ethereal melody weaving to sultry lounge singing to rhyme spitting all in one set - indicative of the varied styles which embody the group as a whole. But, Phonofly's sound has evolved into something that no hybridized genre can peg down, and the diverse lineup boasts just one of the original lineup's members besides Stolorow - Doug Major's unique progressions and impressive solo work continue to texture Phonofly's soundscape, and his writing collaborations with Stolorow have produced some of the group's most popular songs, such as the single "Natural Disaster," set to release in early 2008. Justin Miller's driving bass lines have been described as "more studied than what you'd expect to hear from a local multi-genre outfit" (East Bay Express) and his background in funk and R&B shines through in being just that. Miller also takes credit for recruiting drummer Jayme Arredondo, whose reggae-inspired backbeat provides the "swagger and danceable rhythm needed to support [Phonofly's] sound" (Performer Magazine). Phonofly's music, in a sense reflective of the vibrant population of their Bay Area home base, is refreshingly rich in its creativity and can be heard on their debut album, "What You Seek." If you like your rock "with a twist" (, this you will find in Phonofly.