It seems to me that there are a few types of musical couples in the world. First, there are the gag-me-with-a-spoon, “why did you have to go and break up the Beatles,” John-and-Yoko type couples. Second, there are the incredibly badass, Jay-Z and Beyonce type, that you just know are poised to launch their plans for world domination at any moment. Finally, there are the type of couples who genuinely form a stellar union in both their musical and personal lives, and end up gifting the world with some awesome tuneage — Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, Carly Simon and James Taylor, Matt and Kim, June Carter and Johnny Cash, and, yes, even Sonny and Cher. Nashville’s own Jared and Kristyn Corder of *repeat repeat definitely fall into this last category… though they are pretty badass, too.
To be fair, Kristyn was a late addition to the band — Jared and drummer Andy Herrin spent about a year working up some songs and demos before their producer Greg Lattimer suggested that Kristyn fill the female singer void. Watching the band perform though, you have to believe that the lineup was always meant to be. Yes, nearly all of the songs are clever love similes (you’ll hear them compare their love to a chemical reaction and a melody, among other things), but the chemistry among all three is tangible and allows the experience to transcend the banality of hearing yet another love song. Jared Corder classifies the band’s music as “surf-rock and shit” (at our two-year anniversary party), or, more descriptively, as “Dreamsurf Candyland Surf-Pop” (from the band’s website), but I’m fine with just calling it straight-up surf-pop. All of the songs are supremely catchy, soda-sweet, rock-solid pop, and the washy surf guitars and thump-y kicks only serve to up the ante even higher. If the bunch of songs from Friday night were any indication of what we can expect from their upcoming album (which, by the way, they just finished recording the day of the show), let me be the first to say that I’ll be phoning in some Lightning 100 lunch-hour requests to make sure this that thing gets some airtime.
My favorite of the bunch was “Chemical Reaction,” the second-to-last song of the night, which sounded more like a fusion between Cake and INXS than surf-rock. The song also features an awesome spoken word-ish bridge to the chorus. I found this video which features Jared singing the aforementioned bridge, though I actually preferred the Friday night version that featured Kristyn doing it. She totally nailed it. Other highlights included “12345678,” the obvious choice for a single, and the band’s cover of “Carrie Anne” by 1960s Britpop group The Hollies. “We don’t do a lot of covers,” said Jared, “but this song fucking rocks.” I couldn’t help but think that this cover choice tipped the band’s hand as to the secret in their formula for success, which is: take songs that are essentially glammy, bouncy, bubblegum-pop, strip them down to their basic elements, and surf-rock them raw.
The band’s next scheduled performance is at The Honest Pint in Chattanooga, so if you’re willing to make the drive to see a cool band at a very cool venue then grab a few friends and make it happen. Also, if you’re going to be heading to Lolla, make sure to catch them at a Lollapalooza pre-party (not sure which one yet – here’s hoping they announce it soon). If you can’t make either, well, let’s just hope “12345678” can continue to tide you over until the record drops.