Sometimes I accidentally get things right.
I wrote up some first impressions about this single from Imaginary Pants before even checking Rok Lok Records and putting the final post together. I wrote some things about how it reminded me of other guy girl duo's like The Yips or Kitchen Floor combined with The Softies. I even read the back of the sleeve that listed the members as 'Jon and Rose' but didn't put it completely together until reading this description from Rok Lok:
Words don't justice to describe the great emotions I feel about being a part of this release. For starters it feels great to document more of the great music that my friend Jon Manning (Sandy City, Blanket Truth, Lost Sound Tapes) creates but it feels even greater knowing that I am also helping document music that the other half of Imaginary Pants, Rose Melberg, has created. To put things in perspective, as of this writing I am 35 years old and I have been listening to music the Rose has written/recorded with her various projects (Tiger Trap, The Softies, Go Sailor, Gaze, as well under her own name) since I was a 16 sixteen your old indie rock kid in highschool. If a past version of me got knowledge from the future about this release he (I) would be freaking out. Fanboy nonsense aside, it feels great to simply document great music by people such as Rose and Jon who have an impeccable track record of being a part of some of the best indie pop music my ears have ever been fortunate enough to hear.
Of course. I have a section on the record shelves that's grouped together by records I used to listen to nonstop in high school and still are great (and a lot that didn't make the cut). Records from The Cure, Pixies, The Smiths, Morrissey, Dead Milkmen and two from The Softies, Winter Pageant and Holiday in Rhode Island. Mind you I listened to them on CD or on mix tapes but I found myself picking these up years later because I missed them. Later I managed to get their singles and go further back to Go Sailor and Tiger Trap. It was the gold standard to measure other unpretentious music with feelings and it's great to randomly come across this latest from Rose without even have tried.
A-Side's "Channels" features warm acoustic with hints at The Polyphonic Spree or Sufjan with a twee element, just acoustic and centered on the vocal. Jon and Rose's high register unassuming vocals that work at getting the harmonies just right. Before I realized this was THE Rose, it always surprised me when I would listen to The Softies and it would always hit me that there's no percussion and here it is again, nothing but the slight echo in the vocal and this mellow electrified acoustic...or just an electric? Calming indie pop that soothes in a melancholy way. I always found her vocal to be sad without even trying. Bunnygrunt, The Swirlies, Bearsuit...all of these are coming back with Imaginary Pants lyrics about the shore, summer, the channel that runs out to the ocean; lofty, epicly sad sentiments from a back porch or lazy days in the screened in porch. You had it pretty good before winter started to set in. We're left with this salt stained stack of Hipstamatic prints all stuck together.
"Seacliff" picks things up which I guess is unusual for a B-Side, but the A-Side was so perfect, here's a jangly buried electric twanging away, franticly strumming in a pretty serious rhythm. The great mix of loose carefree sound of Jon's higher vocal...an introspective bedroom Mates of State. They get into this chorus of chanting and the whole thing is a little loose and surfy sounding with barely an effect on the vocals like the Besties with odd choppy rhythms of Dog Day that they make work completely with sheer creation and layered harmonies. It's a specific style but one that's closely associated with DIY and cooperation and not stomping the shit out of each other in a warehouse like assholes. There's room for a nicer scene like this. Instead of mean Mr Rollins yelling at Calvin. I always hated that story...reminds me how much more punk this is because it isn't trying to be punk to the point it can be actively hated? Ugh, forget all that, I'm glad to hear this...a great new release and I'm going back now through her catalog thanks to this single.
Pick it up from Rok Lok Records. Another label that seriously cares - the most important thing.