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West Palm Beach Electronic Teen Duo Jude Is Taking Over the Internet

Local bands meet, create music, and start playing shows to establish themselves. Then down the line, they hope to get into the studio and walk away with a shiny new record full of their original jams. But a new generation of music-makers is taking a staunchly different approach.

Meet Jude. The stage name for West Palm-raised Kevin Neal and Sydney Morris, this electronic duo has been making waves on the blogosphere without ever playing a show. Their approach to creating music is to use the internet as their main vehicle, and it's working. The success of this flip-flopped method might have a little something to do with their age. Morris is only 17, Neal is 18, and no, neither one of them went to Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

Neal describes Jude's sound as "minimalistic pop," and their savvy songwriting will make you say "Lorde!" It's on full display on their breakout single, "Crystals." But who are these local teenagers? How did this happen?

Neal and Morris met through a mutual friend and were just acquaintances until another friend suggested they should work on music. "We met up one day," says Neal, "and made 'Crystals.'"

What happened next is a pure 21st-century approach to music. "We decided to put 'Crystals' up on SoundCloud kind of randomly." says Neal. "So I put together a small website, and we just threw it up there, and I sent it out to a couple of blogs, and the blogs picked it up, and from there, more blogs picked it up. People liked it, I guess."

It's the simplest way on the planet to make sure more people than just your mom hear a track, and yet we don't see this strategy being used nearly enough around town. In Jude's case, the music speaks for itself, but the Lorde comparisons came out swinging. How do they feel about being called out for sounding like the pop star? "It gets a little old after a while, but at the same time, we are being compared to a millionaire who has won two Grammys in the past year and is incredibly successful, so we take it as a compliment."

When asked if an album is in the works, it seems like that isn't even a concern to these fresh music-makers. "We are going to put out another single really soon," says Neal. "To do an album would be kind of cool, but at the same time, it's almost like, 'Why bother?' It's all on the internet, and people are just downloading. It's easier to do all singles and throw them up there." These teens create 90 percent of their music in either Morris' house or Neal's room before finishing vocals at a studio in Wellington where Neal also does sound engineering and production part-time.

Though the pair has caused a fury of online commotion and repeat plays, they play their first gig on July 25, at Propaganda in Lake Worth, along with established locals Civilian and the Jeff Rose Band for the Rivers CD-release party. The show will be minimalistic, with just Neal and Morris taking the stage.

"For the rest of the summer and fall, we are going to play as many shows as we can," they state. An exciting change of pace for the two who are the first to admit, "It is really like the internet made us." The next generation of music has hit West Palm.

If you can't stand the clicks, get out of the internet.

See Jude live for the first time July 25 at Propaganda, located at 6 S. J St. in Lake Worth along with Rivers, Civilian, and the Jeff Rose Band. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and comes with the new Rivers CD. Visit the event page.

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Dana Krangel