Fresh Stream

Homeshake — In the Shower

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It feels like underground pop-rock’s shackles have, in a widespread way, been off again for a while now. At some point in the past ten years of Internet-binge post-punk and experimental odd/off-key melodic exercises (often paired with affected vocals) have become a very viable method for making underground pop music. Bands as diverse as ARIEL PINK, RYAN POWERS, UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, DAVE LONGSTRETH, GRASS WIDOW, ZACH PHILLIPS, WHITE FENCE, Vermont’s own CHRIS WEISMAN, JIB KIDDER, Boston’s QUILT, and even MAC DEMARCO, and to different extents labels like CAPTURED TRACKS, SACRED BONES, NNA, FEEDING TUBE, and OSR, have trafficked in pop music for a new ear. An ear that knows pop music but wants more, wants to hear new and evolving sounds amid the rhythmic and melodic twisting.

MAC DEMARCO’s (apparently, now former) guitarist, a guy named Peter Sagar, has been active in his own pop way for several years now. His band (he plays everything) is called HOMESHAKE. I wrote about the HOMESHAKE TAPE a few years back. Sagar’s pop approach is heavily soul-music infused—but maybe not the strain of soul that you immediately think of. We are talking an AL GREEN in Memphis backbeat holding down a big batch of stellar songs that warble, and bend, and just kind of get weird. For me, that early ’70s AL GREEN output is just a high point in human song. This is laid-back music. Feel that beat? I could just sit here chilling all day.

HOMESHAKE is great. AL GREEN I cannot say that he is, but I wouldn’t criticize an iguana for not being a dinosaur either. Especially not in this day and age. Yes, HOMESHAKE is just fantastic. And his quirky pop causes AL GREEN-loving neuron chains to blow up all up in my head. IN THE SHOWER is the latest release for Sagar, out now on SINDERLYN/BAD ACTORS INC. Ten songs of only some of the best pretty and strange pop that you can go about hearing on the North American continent (Sagar is Canadian—Montreal!).

“Doo Dah” conjures some kind of Brazilian BUDDY HOLLY thing mixed up with that sleepy, deceptive Memphis beat. I mean, are you reading the comparisons I’m making? They’re lofty and ridiculous, but—and maybe it’s just me—I think this guy’s music is really wonderful.

“Making A Fool Of You” gets way down. Lazy-as-shit bass, shambling along. Damn. Tongue is in cheek the whole time here, but both tongue and cheek are very serious about the whole thing, and the face that houses them is wearing a very serious expression also. That wah-wah-funk lead guitar dances with one of HOMESHAKE’s strengths, Sagar’s sweet falsetto, which also lifts another song, “Chowder,” up into the stratosphere. Chiller pop music from Canada, but with major sound-roots extending much further south. Been trying to get HOMESHAKE down here for a while. One of these days.

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