Mon October 14, 2013
Smooth Sounds From The Twin Cities
As he does every Monday, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson is here to freshen our playlists and recommend a new song for us.
This week, Thompson bring us a band from the Twin Cities called Poliça.
Thompson describes Poliça’s sound as “very cool, sleek, kinda slinky music.”
He singles out Poliça’s vocalist, Channy Leaneagh.
“It’s not just that she has a lovely voice, which she does — it’s what the band does to it,” Thompson told Here & Now. “They run her through all sorts of filters and Vocoders, and she’s not really articulating super-clearly to begin with, so her voice becomes almost like another machine in the mix,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s favorite song on the band’s new album, “Shulamith” is called “Smug.”
“It’s a strangely, for lack of a better word, sexy song, but it’s largely unclear what it’s even about,” Thompson said. “The sexiness of it isn’t driven by someone’s words or personality or phrasing, so much as the overall effect created.”
ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:
It's HERE AND NOW.
And it's Columbus Day, but no holiday for the song of the week. And NPR music writer and editor Stephen Thompson is here to recommend one. Stephen, what have you got for us this week?
STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I've got a band from the Twin Cities called Polica, which makes very cool, sleek, kind of slinky music. Thanks to the vocals of Channy Leaneagh. It's not just that she has a lovely voice, which she does, it's what the band does to it. They run her voice through all sorts of filters and vocoders, and she's not really articulating super-clearly to begin with. So her voice becomes almost like another machine in this mix. So the band's got a new album called "Shulamith." And this is my favorite song from the record. It's called "Smug."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMUG")
YOUNG: Reminds me. I've got to get me a vocoder.
YOUNG: But what is she saying?
THOMPSON: I have no idea.
THOMPSON: Really, it's very hard to tell. You try to pick out a single word she's saying. The effect of all that processing on her voice is that she's, I think, rendered entirely mysterious and intriguing. It's a strangely, for lack of a better word, sexy song, but it's largely unclear what it's even about. The sexiness of it isn't driven by someone's words or personality or phrasing so much as the overall effect created. It's a strangely seductive song. With two drummers, Polica's music has this - has a real sway to it, and it makes me want to study it and listen closely for clues, not only, you know, what she's saying from word to word but what any given song is about.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMUG")
YOUNG: So that's "Smug" from the Twin Cities' Polica. And by the way, it's P-O-L-I-C-A. Their new album, "Shulamith." NPR music writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings it to us today. Let him know what you think. Stephen, thanks so much.
THOMPSON: Thank you, Robin.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMUG") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.