Aural Fixation: Gospel Music

Generic band names are the best. Well, maybe not if you’re trying to search for those bands on Google (good luck with The The), but those unassuming monikers are often a telltale sign of greatness within. Think about it: The BandTelevision, X, all of them incredible groups with unassuming names. Enter Owen Holmes, bassist for loved-then-maligned Jacksonville popsters Black Kids. Yeah, they have a pretty generic sounding name, too, but I guess it’s the exception that proves the rule. His fretwork with Black Kids was plenty impressive, but little could you guess from Partie Traumatic that Holmes had such solo star potential.

Holmes’ own project, Gospel Music is really anything but. On his debut EP, Duettes, Holmes ropes in some of indie pop’s most truly beloved voices for a series of smart and adorable vignettes. The Magnetic FieldsShirley Simms appears on “Gamophobia,” an ode to the rather rational fear of marriage, and Vivian Girl Cassie Ramone gives a sassy performance on closer “Are Your Parents Still Together.” In the middle of the set is Duettes‘ finest tune: “Automobile,” featuring Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura. It’s all sorts of catchy in exactly three minutes.

The most remarkable thing about Gospel Music is how Holmes’ clever lyrics, sunny arrangements and even his voice sound like Jonathan Richman. Where Black Kids’ brand of pop was slick and overblown, Gospel Music’s is messy and heartfelt. It would appear that Black Kids are working on a new album, but hopefully Holmes will find the time to concentrate on this far superior outlet.

Watch: Gospel Music – “Automobile (ft. Tracyanne Campbell)” from Duettes (2010)

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~ by E. on December 30, 2010.

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