Gettin’ Spizzy with it

Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  February 29, 2012

waxtabs_zachjones_main
Zach Jones
• We certainly wax about him a lot, but SPOSE is getting plenty shiny on his own. Dude's new video for "Pop Song" (on YouTube) shows the Wells rapper musing on his less-than-satisfying experience with major labels while makeup artists and costumers do him up like Bieber, Gaga, and a Hot Topic goth. Lyrically, it's one of those Spose songs where he's addressing y'all rather than you specifically. Musically, it's an articulate, rebellious, radio-friendly genre-mashup. It's also evidence that Ryan Peters has a terrific grasp on the art of self-promotion. "Pop Song" employs a trick that could tell us a thing or two about American culture. Indie startup (Spose) borrows a tested formula from big-business logic (writing a song designed to appeal to millions) and completely reclaims it, asserting its own uniqueness by exposing the logic itself while decrying its original subscribers, and meanwhile reaping the benefits afforded to it by the application of the original logic. In other words, it's still a catchy pop song, probably exactly the sort Universal Records was looking for, Spose just feels more authentic singing it. Also, it's really good. The music industry is soul-crushing and evil and Spose is better off without it, but don't think he didn't learn a thing or two along the way. "Pop Song" is from last year's Happy Medium; his next record The Audacity drops in April. If that's not enough, he's also got two mixtapes — the Peter Parker mixtape and Dankonia (a collection of rhymes over Outkast instrumentals) soon to hit datpiff.com.

• Local songwriter ZACH JONES (from As Fast As and Rocktopus) is planning a full-on classic soul record (titled Things Were Better) to follow up his more recent modern rock offerings, 2010's Fading Flowers and last year's Broken Record. The songwriter is running a fundraising campaign at Pledgemusic, where he explains his ambitions through a thoughtful, entertaining video. A proper retro soul record needs a little extra studio TLC, and Jones naturally wants to press Things Were Better on vinyl, too. As of this writing, Jones is about 80 percent funded toward his goal, but check in before the March 12 deadline to see if any of the perks appeal to you, and look for this inspired new joint by early summer.

IN THE AUDIENCE, the Phoenix's defending Best Rock Act, have been astir lately. Their four-song, Ron Harrity-produced EP Terminal was digitally released last December; that and a new song, "American Actress," are more tense and longing than 2010's What Lives. These dudes are still so young, but we like this new murkier direction they're taking. Some shades of "American Actress" are positively Westerbergian.

  Topics: New England Music News , Zach Jones, Zach Jones, As Fast As,  More more >
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