The sight of Rafa and Roger (or Becker and Lendel for the older set) criss-crossing forehands and backhands over the well manicured lawns of the All England Tennis Club do not instantly call to mind bubble gum indie-pop, so why name your band after such a strangely pristine sport? Perhaps it’s because what the husband and wife duo* behind Tennis want to evoke is a playful and joyous sense of bliss and reverie? I mean after all “tennis” is a quaint sport. We watch grown adults run across grass, clay, or asphalt in the steaming and scorching sun for hours using only wood and string (and the occasional audible grunt or child-like tantrum (yes, I’m looking at you McEnroe)) to employ their craft and entertain. Oh wait sounds a lot like musicians in a way… Well regardless of the rationale or intent behind the name, Tennis’ newest album Young & Old is a pleasure ride of British-soul infused pop evocative of London’s swingin’ 60s mixed with an upbeat surfer rock vibe. Fronted by the dreamy vocals of Alaina Moore**, this album provides a gorgeous background for a dull and dreary day or the perfect way to celebrate the start of spring. Young and Old reminds me a lot of a cross between the down-tempo pop of England’s St. Etienne (if you don’t know them check out Foxbase Alpha) or the backwards looking doo-wop, soul stylings of Duffy (whose “Distant Dreamer” still brings smiles to my ear). And for the non-Mel Gibson Patriots in the (reading) crowd, Tennis are American bred hailing from Denver, CO, so don’t fear you won’t be dubbed an Anglo-phile for enjoying these guys. Hear the full album here. Favorite tracks: “Origins” and “Take Me to Heaven”.
* interesting how many great husband and wife duos there are and have been, Mates of State, the Handsome Furs, John and Yoko, the Carpenters ;), Thurston and Kim of Sonic Youth (for a long time), and, we can never forget, Sonny and Cher (“…and when I’m sad, you’re a clown”, now that’s love!). Perhaps the next thematic playlist will be composed of husband and wife tandems? If so, let me know in the comments.
** I’ve said this already but the ladies are really rocking out this year! Woo-hoo!
In other news….
- Calling all Nerds, “The Nerdist Podcast” is coming for a live show/recording to Chicago at the Vic Theatre, April, 14th. Come join me by purchasing tickets here. Don’t know them? Download the shows for free via this link.
- Last night saw the Head and the Heart at the Vic and what a truly beautiful show. Clearly these guys and gal love to perform together because they play like a family of musicians. Plus, the crowd was so into the show singing and dancing along, such wonderful sight. (Many of my friends have heard me decry how frustrated I get at concerts when a bunch of still sentinels stand in front of me. It’s called Rock and Roll because the music makes you move, so move it people!) If they are passing through your city or town, please go see them you will be very pleased. Tour info and sounds here.
- If you like dancing on the ceiling or anywhere you can, get tropical with Andrew Bird.
Cover you up in my love – one great cover and one amusing cover of classics:
If you like purchasing albums, the new Andrew Bird and Magnetic Fields records are out!!!
Oh and if you have nothing to do tonight, join me for the Lower Dens at the Subterranean!
I can’t reach my destination, cause it’s still a world’s away,