Another short song for you this week. Not many chords this time either. Easy to fit in around your pre-holiday hubbub: you can listen, and get on with it. And hey, you get a lot of sound for the time invested here. I mean, check out the fuzzed-up bash of background noise that Earthquake Party churns up, and that heavy, decisive “mi-re-do” downward riff that anchors the song. Everything immediately feels buzzy and overheated, like someone’s pinned the recording levels too high.
Then front man Justin Lally comes along and just kind of speak-sings against the noise, neither shouting to be heard nor being drowned out by the sludge; it’s a balance I find counter-intuitive and appealing. (Note that this is a phenomenon singularly available to recorded music, not live music.) Even more appealing: when keyboardist Mallory Hestand adds harmony in the chorus, and their two voices seem to ricochet away from each other B-52s-ishly. The melody they somehow describe between them is richer and deeper than the one either of them sings. And bonus points for the pithy lyrics they sing, full of both mystery and implication: “All I want’s a pretty little hand/That’s full of pills and candy.” I like how, in the end, this song feels like pop, despite all the fuss and noise. It’s amazing what a good chorus can do for you.
Earthquake Party is a trio founded last year in Boston. “Pretty Little Hand” is one of three songs on its debut EP, vs. Pizza, that the band released on a so-called cassingle (yup, a cassette tape) last month. And I do mean self-released: they bought 200 blank cassettes for $100 via mail order, put the music on them, and then made the inserts and labels, all by themselves. You can listen to all three songs and buy the cassette and/or downloads at the band’s Bandcamp page. The cassette will come with the download codes, so you don’t really need to have a cassette player, although all the better if you do. MP3 via the band. (And don’t worry about the generic-looking URL; this is a legitimately free and legal download.)