Tennis covers underrated greats: Broadcast, The Zombies

Alaina Moore & Patrick Riley of Tennis performing at Bottom of The Hill, 12/11/11

Minimalist pop band Tennis have developed a knack for crafting covers of unexpected musicians like The Zombies and Broadcast, selections eclectic enough to make a record store clerk proud.

Tennis is husband-wife duo Aliana Moore (vocals & keyboards) and Patrick Riley (guitar), collegiate philosophers who formed the band after a seven-month sailing excursion down the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard. (Can’t make this stuff up, folks!) Unsurprisingly their debut album Cape Dory featured major nautical elements, with titles like “Seafarer” and lyrics like “Take me out baby, I wanna go sail tonight” (from the title track). James Barone on drums rounds out the group, who just released their second album, Young & Old on Fat Possum. Their sophomore production features a richer sense of instrumentation, buoyed by the sharp production skills of Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Key tracks: My Better Self (bizarro retro-chic  music video directed by Lilliput), and first single “Origins”… I adore the ski/spy caper premise of the video:

I saw Tennis perform last December at Bottom of the Hill, shortly before the release of Young & Old. I found their stage presence to be warmly affable, and it was refreshing to see a group display genuine enthusiasm in these sarcastic, ironic times. Moore even made an oh-so-mainstream reference to Sex and The City, joking about “not being a Carrie,” even though she resembles the curly-haired, diminuitive fashion plate.  Also, just take a look at their official website (you can play Minesweeper on it, for real!) Tennis came off as resoundingly likable people who just dig hanging out on boats and playing sweet ’60’-influenced pop songs, what’s not to love?

The Zombies are best known as the least prominent of the ’60’s Brit Pop explosion. Don’t discount their mildly-dark baroque pop, which contains intriguing depth within its sunshine-y exterior. I first heard the Zombies on the Life Aquatic soundtrack, with the “The Way I Feel Inside,” a hypnotic whisper of a song. (Side note: Digging the soundtrack for Moonrise Kingdom, featuring chanteuse Franciose Hardy and sultry track “Le Temps de L’Amour”.) The Zombies’ 1968 album Odessey & Oracle was ranked as #80 on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Best Albums of all time, featuring some of their best work, including their well-known hit “Time of the Season.”

“Tell Her No” is a jaunty refusal of a track, here’s the 1964 original by the Zombies:

Tennis spun their own surprisingly faithful rendition of “Tell Her No”:

Broadcast was a captivating, enigmatic British band which burned brightly, but far too briefly. Trish Keenan fronted the retro-futuristic group, frequently compared to sometimes-collaborators Stereolab. Keenan’s honey-sweet vocals contrasts the almost staticky, electronic instrumentation, creating a unique sound that feels simultaneously warm and cool. “Tears in the Typing Pool” is a 2 minute song on their the 2005 album “Tender Buttons,” their final album which was titled after a 1918 poem by Gertrude Stein; it’s a hauntingly lovely song that I can’t help but play on repeat.

Broadcast’s original (I may have already posted this song on this blog but I DON’T CARE because it’s so good):

Tennis’ cover doesn’t quite capture the psychedelic crispness of the original, but adds a slight lo-fi haze, a gauzy finish.

So, thanks for the awesome covers, Tennis! Now, can you come pick me up and we can go hang out on your boat?


playlist 02.11.12- ’90s Warp Records inspired

Listen to this (slightly amended) playlist on Spotify!  Good in a weird way… beautiful with a touch of stomach-churning.

The show was largely influenced by London-based Warp Records, famed for their pioneering electronic catalogue, ranging from ambient to acid house to techno (genres frequently described as ‘intelligent dance music’ (IDM)). Their offerings range from  experimental legend Aphex Twin to CANT, the 2011 side project of Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. This playlist also chronicles my continued infatuation with melodic, melancholic Broadcast (also off of Warp!). I gave away a pair of tickets to Sleigh Bells at Noise Pop… congratulations Pedro, have an ear-splittingly good time!

BROADCAST corporeal- tender buttons

RADIOHEAD little by little- the king of limbs

BOARDS OF CANADA sunshine recorder- geogaddi

THE RADIO DEPT never follow suit

GIL SCOTT HERON i’m new here- i’m new here

ZOMBY alothea- dedication

DCFC codes & keys yeasayer remix

CRYSTAL CASTLES 1991- crystal castles

FLYING LOTUS zodiac shit/ computer face- cosmogramma

MOUSE IN MARS stereomission- iaora tahiri

SQUAREPUSHER theme from sprite- hello everything

APHEX TWIN xtal- selected ambient works

BROADCAST tears in the typing pool- tender buttons

JON BRION phone call- eternal sunshine

TUNE-YARDS real live flesh- real live flesh

GANG GANG DANCE chinese high- eye contact

CANT the edge- cant

BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW forever heavy- dandelion gum

HUNDRED IN THE HANDS  dead ending- the hundred in the hands

SLEIGH BELLS tell ’em- treats


TY SEGALL my head explodes- goodbye bread

GRIZZLY BEAR two weeks (fred falke remix)

TYCHO a walk- dive

BROADCAST come on let’s go- the noise made by people

PORCELAIN RAFT talk to me- gone blind

BONOBO light pattern- dial m for monkey

KSCU 103.3 FM // // every other Saturday 1- 3pm

playlist 01.28.12- interstellar grooves

I went for a futuristic but throwback vibe on this show, featuring artists like Can, who sound progressive and forward-thinking today although their work was produced 40 years ago (!). A little bit of that cold, icy space feeling. I was also inspired by the show I went to last night, Lagos Roots at Elbo Room, self-described as “unfiltered, deeply-grooved Nigerian Afrobeat music performed live by a 15-piece afrobeat orchestra. Prepare to dial in on the dance floor and sweat to the beat of the Kalakuta Republic!” Needless to say, it was a fantastic show, busting with contagious feelings of elation. Although these two themes may seem incongruous, it all melded together through that perfect hybrid of sci-fi and psychedelic beats: SUN-RA! Space is the place, don’t you know…

STEREOLAB neon beanbag- chemical chords

METRONOMY everything goes my way- the english riviera

SBTRKT atomic peace [originally self-released in 2009, more of an ambient vibe than his current stuff! quite nice…]

BLOUSE they always fly away- blouse

CAN vitamin c- broken embraces soundtrack

THERAPIES SON touching down- over the sea [a bit of a george harrison feel, don’t you think? exceedingly pleasant]

ATLAS SOUND te amo- parallax [Elated that atlas sound is performing at this year’s Noise Pop Festival on February 25 at Bimbos. Tickets are not sold out yet, don’t miss your chance to see Bradford Cox in the flesh!]

Check out this blog for more German retro futuristic illustrations-->

MOONDOG bird’s lament [please click on the video link just to see Moondog’s futuristic Santa Claus-esque gear]

CAN spoon

RADIOHEAD lotus flower (jacques green remix)

JANKA NABAY AND THE BUBU GANG eh mane ah- bubu king

MULATU ASTATKE yegelle tezeta- new york- addis- london 1965-1975

GENE AUSTIN everything’s made for love- beginners soundtrack

AMADOU & MARIAM sabali- welcome to mali

THE BUDOS BAND chicago falcon- live at CMJ 2007


SUN RA door to the cosmos

ATLAS SOUND criminals- logos

PINK FLOYD  wots uh the deal- obscured by clouds

GIRLS love like a river- father son holy ghost

CANT the edge- dreams come true

YOUTH LAGOON posters- youth lagoon

FUTURE ISLAND walking through that door- the evening air

BROADCAST i found the F- tender buttons

CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG paradisco- stage whisper

CRYSTAL CASTLES magic spells- crystal castles

playlist 10.8.11- 60’s inspired dark pop

New Show Time!  Saturdays 11 AM- 1 PM (every other week)

ATLAS SOUND FEAT LAETITA SADIER (of Stereolab) quick canal- logos

BROADCAST come on let’s go- the noise made by people

BEACH BOYS hang on to your ego- pet sounds

ST. VINCENT cruel- strange mercy (check out the just-released creeptastic video for “Cruel”… it was partially inspired by the 1987 Goldie Hawn/ Kurt Russell kidnapping-is-fun flick Overboard

PURITY RING lofticries (so. so . so obsessed with this jam. please play on LOUD speakers)

WU LYF heavy pop- go tell fire to the mountain

FEIST how come you never go there- metals (what do you think of Feist’s new album? i give it a ‘meh’)

SEAWEED kid candy- four (in-studio request from KSCU veteran DJ Naven, here for alumni weekend)

MALE BONDING dig you out- endless now

THE ETTES you never say- wicked will

SEBADOH dreams- bake sale

PAVEMENT it’s a rainy day, sunshine girl (KCRW 1997 version)- brighten the corners (cover of krautrock band Faust) 

CAN paperhouse- tago mago

STEREOLAB french disko

THE WAR ON DRUGS best night- slave ambient

MATTHIEU SANTOS silly thoughts- masssachusetts

OREGON BIKE TRAILS deep sea diver (I randomly stumbed on this band on youtube, pretty good! They are actually from Santa Monica, interesting they went with an Oregonian name… Check ’em out on their Bandcamp)

ATLAS SOUND te amo- parallax (Bradford Cox– te amo! ‘Parallax’ will be released next month from 4AD)

JENS LEKMAN waiting for kirsten- an argument with myself (This song is about Kirsten Dunst going to Jens Lekman’s show in Sweden, but not getting in because “in Gothenburg we don’t have VIP lines”)

BEIRUT the rip tide- the rip tide

LYKKE LI i know places- wounded rhymes

SEAPONY blue star- go with me

CULTS walk at night- cults

MORNING BENDERS promises (star slinger remix)- japan echo ep

HERE WE GO MAGIC hands in the sky- january ep

Thanks for listening guys, this show was so fun! I’ll be back Saturday after next— 103.3 FM