July 29, 2013
Listen To Tennis
Welcome to Bands You Should Be Listening To. My goal here is to bring an artist to your attention, whether you’ve heard of them or not, and convince you to give them a listen. My hope is that you end up finding some tunes that you love! Let’s get started.
Tennis never planned on any of this happening. The central duo of the indie pop group from Denver, happily married Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, were too busy working on philosophy degrees, sailing around the world, and being carefree, to even consider careers as musicians. But after sevens months sailing down the east Atlantic Seaboard, Riley and Moore were inspired to start a group, gave it a silly name based on an inside joke, and begin down their road. Their throwback charm, sunny guitar tones, and earnest desire immediately gained them a following in the independent community. And they became workhorses, playing shows for every small club, radio station, and music blog that came their way.
I first heard Tennis through a single from their first record, 2011’s Cape Dory, called Marathon. It was poor quality, like it was ripped from a grainy radio. The vocals clipped, and the mix molding together into a dull wall of sound. But to me, this almost made them more appealing. The sweetness was sincere, but it was also raw. Just as raw was their power, employed sparingly and wisely. This wasn’t polished music, but it was never meant to be.
So, once the band gained notoriety and was granted a higher budget, I’m glad to see that the best aspects of that old sound are still there. Moore’s sweet vocals could have been tuned to razor sharp perfection. But they were left a little bit softer, almost like they were underwater. And that only lends itself more to the quaint, sweet vibe that Tennis is getting at here. In the past year or so, Tennis has gained experience. They’ve improved beyond belief, and their charm has only brightened. The band has even employed a drummer – he adds a much needed energy and jitter, especially on their new single My Better Self.
There are few musical projects that fit the term “old school” and “throwback” quite like Tennis. Listening to “Marathon” is a unique experience; we’ve all heard a pleasant voice, some lo-fi recording quality and chorus of sweet backup singers. But Marathon also had a unique energy and drive to it that few of these other twee-pop bands had accomplished. These guitars didn’t just shine; they caught fire. And Moore’s vocal fit with that fire perfectly.
Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley are interesting people. In conversation and in performance, they’re guarded, but kind. They hint of being intensely intelligent. And they’re content to tour the world playing music, then take off half the year on a sailboat. And thank goodness they are, because otherwise we would never have this treat of a band to listen to.
Thanks for reading! If you end up listening to the music from this article, let me know how you liked it! I always love to hear your opinions, even (and especially) if they differ from my own. You can tweet at me @RobinCopple1, or contact me through my email. Don’t be shy! See you next time. Keep listening to music!
Image Credit: Tennis