Thursday, January 6, 2011
Dirty Mittens on Magic Marker Records
If I know Magic Marker Records this is going to be the indiest of indie pop and Dirty Mittens is right in line with their curated vision.
That name, Dirty Mittens could really go either way... literal and really cute or more abstractly dirty sounding noise. Something about those two words...
The confusion could have continued on the The A-Side, with "Row", it's from a dudes point of view, (I'm a gentleman) and then delivered in a high, breaking, female falsetto. I almost questioned if this isn't an indie Jimmy Scott situation, until I saw their promo stuff...and it's not a cover either according to the liner notes. I guess they just want to keep you guessing. What were they digging around in to get those mittens dirty? What's the point of expectations if you can't mess with them? The same goes for her range of vocals, coming in high and fluttery or touching on low growl. It borders on twee and brooding at the same time with a weird accent there...I could be convinced they're from Montreal and not the even indier Portland. But Portland would foster this...I know it's probably like Brooklyn in a lot of ways, minus the snow, and snobby competitive scene sometimes. I hope they have a long career of writing this Drums style super pop....bringing a little bit of Too Pure to Portland. It really makes perfect sense...and so does Magic Marker for the same reason.
Is Portland already overrun with jerks who read it was the #1 city in Time magazine? I hope not...cherish your days Portland...and if they're nurturing bands like this then it still must be alright.
What keeps Dirty Mittens from being too precious (I guess there can be such a thing) is the chances she's taking with her vocals...allowing for the imperfections of a take where the vibratto turns angry, but don't get me wrong, I'm going on about it, but it's very very subtle...we're not talking Bobcat Goldthwaite or anything.
A backing horn section melody makes this feel huge at points, you've got this intimate vocal over the rest of the instrumentation in full production mode. Bells chime in behind an acoustic guitar and it's going to be sunny...not the beach fuzzy reverb sun, but a inland wooded day, even if this track is about rowing to the place you call home. It's probably a landlocked pond where days like that are unusual and you try to make the most of it. Those other jerks can go to the beach every single day. It's just another day in a series of nice days... one running into the next. You see why you'd want to kill yourself. Count me out.
The B-Side, "This here year" has a '50s inspired pop bassline, at least to me I'm picturing the sock hop, and Shannon and the Clams are headlining. She's got a similar voice as well...you can hear the ability, but then she's holding back a little....like the sunny days ...so you appreciate it. There's a pretty epic lifelong narrative unfolding on this one...small towns, the boredom...all the way into old age. But they manage to hide this sentiment under the catchy pop chorus. THIS HERE YEAR. You have to dig a little deeper to catch them actually holding a grudge.
It's just a classic indie single; two sides of crafted pop and they are dancing very very seriously.
This pure pepto pink vinyl is housed in a heavy cardstock sleeve, so think they printed the name and tracks on the spine...nice touch.... available from the fine fellows at Magic Marker Records.
Get a preview this from their bandcamp page.