Along with a few other notable news stories, 2011 was the year of rock and roll breakups. After the splits of indie power couple Ben Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel and noise rock legends Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, romantic music fans have little love to hold on to – if any at all. Though, if there’s any solace in the sea of heartbreak, it’s the music of quirky young couple Cari Rae Woodfield and Jordy Asher, who combined forces recently as Blonds.
“We met a little while back, through mutual friends,” says Woodfield, who sings while Asher provides the instrumentation. “We had similar views on most everything in life, and especially music. Jordy sort of caught me singing on different occasions and insisted we write music together. Jordy has been making music and been in bands his whole life, in multiple genres. This is the first band I’ve ever been in… or does singing in the shower and car count?”
Despite their mismatched levels of experience, the lovebirds were able to write and record their entire five-track EP, Dark Roots, over Thanksgiving weekend (Woodfield adds that Asher is “always writing songs; I catch him singing guitar riffs into his phone at dinner and in the car, no joke.”) Sonically speaking, and perhaps like truly successful couples before them, their tastes and backgrounds made the difference, leading to a sound that is light and poppy, but with somber undertones, and a production style that is as glamorous as it is lo-fi.
“One of our main goals is to take old familiar styles and present them in a way that hasn’t been done before, unique to us,” Woodfield says. “We both listen to all different styles of music (Jordy swears by Kanye West, and I’m the biggest Conor Oberst fan you’ll ever meet) and like that to be represented in our sound. We love the feeling we get from listening to Robert Johnson’s hopeless blues or Nancy Sinatra’s soft, soulful recollections of the past. The end product we want to create is music that draws emotion, whether that’s hopeful, hopeless, or just enjoying the moment.”
The best synthesis of those mish-mashed worldviews and bits of culture is the EP closer “K.O.”, which you can listen to below. The track is clearly put together by two different yet complimentary personalities. Woodfield’s vibe takes over the first half, comprised of a vintage piano, heavy with regret and random points of punctuation from an acoustic guitar, all meant to add to vocals that ache with a kind of sultry regret. Asher’s half flips the script a neck-snapping 180 degrees, with the vocals and music melting together for something much lighter and airier, like a folky Flaming Lips with a dash of Polyphonic Spree giddiness thrown in. Despite the dichotomous nature, the cut is a cohesive blend of sounds that lead to one roller coaster of a listening experience.
“K.O.” was the last song written for the EP. It’s both mine and Jordy’s favorite song on Dark Roots,” Woodfield says. “We originally intended for it to be a soft piano song, but it didn’t pan out that way. Jordy started recording it one morning and when I called him later in the afternoon he sounded very scattered and manic. He said, ‘Uh…This song is taking a crazy turn, I have to go’. The lyrics and message behind the song are very autobiographical and describe my life prior to, and eventually after Jordy and I met. We both really love these lyrics and felt like we had progressed together while writing it.”
Dark Roots is available tomorrow (12/13) on the duo’s Bandcamp page. Blonds are currently at work on its full-length debut, so stay tuned for more on that as it’s announced. They will also be touring early next year, with dates to be announced shortly.