I like this band’s first single, “Sleepyhead”, so much that it fills me with dread. To love something is to put yourself at risk of terrible loss. And I’m fearfully anticipating the moment where I realize I have killed this gem of a song for myself by overplaying it. The seven week itch, maybe, of obsessive pop-music replay. Until then, however, I’d like to gleefully celebrate my recent find (thanks Spin magazine!), as today’s great thing.
74. Passion Pit
Like a glorious mash-up of M/A/R/R/S, MGMT, and the sample-heavy Australian outfit The Avalanches, this group gives a blip of a brainwave back into the comatose genre of electronica.
Though their name reminds me of a fruity smoothie, it’s actually old slang for a drive-in movie theatre (because the teens used to use the giant parking lot as a make-out haven). Here’s the official answer from band leader Michael Angelakos (as collected from the Limewire blog):
I just thought it was hilarious. I was in this American fashion class and for each specific era the teacher would hand out a list of slang terms. Passion Pit was code for drive-in movie theater where people would make out. But really what it meant had little to no impact on me. I just really loved the way it sounded and rolled off the tongue. And, you know, when I started the group it was far less serious than it is now. It sounded like a side-project name.
It’s always interesting how band names come about. Usually, there’s not a whole lot of attachment, is there? Isn’t it just a turn of phrase that you think is catchy? I’ll think of one right now. The Clockwatchers. There, that’s my band. It means nothing but I like the sound of it. Not good enough? How about The Watchclockers? I could do this all day. Check out the many band name generators available online.
Born in Cambridge Mass, the band consists of Michael Angelakos (lead vocals/keyboards), Ian Hultquist (keyboards), Ayad Al Adhamy (synth/samples), Jeff Apruzzese (bass) and Nate Donmoyer (drums). Though it’s a five piece now, it started just with Michael tinkering with some compositions as a very belated Valentines Day present to his beleaguered girlfriend–a musical apology of sorts. When it got shared around his University campus–leading to a bit of buzz–he recruited the other four musicians so he could play live shows.
Here’s the video for their single “Sleepyhead”. I’m not crazy about it. The beardy cube spinning round and round isn’t particularly appealing (you’ll see). The whole think kind of looks like an ad for Sky HD. But, at the very least it’s a way for you to listen to the song.
I think a good electronica/dance music outfit is only as good as its collection of samples and while Angelakos lists The Beatles and The Beach Boys as two of his influences, the sample from this song is from the song “Oro Mo Bhaidin” by County Sligo harpist Mary O’ Hara. Obscure!
This reminds me of another of my favorite-ever songs “Sleepy Maggie” by Scots-Canuck Ashley MacIssac.
What’s the connection here? Why all the Gaelic lethargy? How come so many songs about sleepy Celts? The answer, my friend, is prolly at the bottom of a bottle of whiskey.
Another reason to join the ranks of Passion Pit fandom is that on their myspace page, under the ‘sounds like’ section, they have a picture of The Jeffersons. Kooky!
The EP “Chunk of Change” is out now (featuring super-track “Sleepyhead”).
With an LP of all new material due out in early summer maybe I won’t have to worry too much about the fatigue of overplay. I wouldn’t want this tender romance between me and Passion Pit to end. My dreams are that upon the release of their LP, I’ll find ten new reasons to love them.
I think this outfit has a lot of promise. Let’s hope they don’t disappoint. I don’t want to break up with them.