Standout Track: No. 1, “Undreamt,” which—if your dance parties comes with twin moons, winged wolf creatures, and anthropomorphic doorways—is totally your new jam. Over a swirling, tropical pulse and tickly laser beams, “Undreamt” is a mid-budget ’80s fantasy epic-in-miniature. After gazing at stars and offering the song’s character an it’s-up-to-you pep talk, mastermind Allie Alvarado sings in the bridge, “What’s that coming across the wire/burning bright just like a fire/walking with my eyes much wider.”
Musical Motivation: For starters, Kate Bush. Before David Bowie bastardized it, Bush basically invented the whole fantasy-opera-with-synths shtick, and like Alvarado, she’s both a songwriter and a producer. “Undreamt” is something of a tribute to Bush’s The Dreaming, but it’s not stuck in its era. The result is less early-’80s Narnia than late-2000s Brooklyn—which is no accident, as Alvarado was a member of the NYC band Telepathe before it became blog-worthy.
Dream Brother: With “Undreamt” she set out to write an anthem. “I usually stick to music that’s kind of weird or dark,” says the 32-year-old Falls Church resident, whose day job involves curating children’s Web games for PBS. “I’m definitely into that spirit in music, but at the same time I wanted to channel something you can listen to over and over.” For Painted Face, Alvarado collaborated with her brother Marcio, who makes electronic pop as Alvin Risk. She has a background in noise and sound compositions; he comes out of house music. In other words, he brings dance-music efficiency: “I think I’m probably a bit more open to things being loose,” she says. “To not being in the order you would expect.”