Standout Track: No. 1, “You and Me.” The glistening guitar-pop tune opens the debut EP from the Columbia Heights jangle trio, which comprises singer and guitarist Chris Kelly, bassist Tom MacWright, and drummer Sean Dalby. “Wait all day/All day I wait,” Kelly sings liltingly over a few pleasantly languid verses before the song bursts into an unexpectedly soaring finale.
Musical Motivation: “You and Me” came to Kelly one night in a moment of frenzied inspiration. “It’s kind of a sad song,” he says. “It was [just] me writing furiously before that feeling went away.” He says he knocked it out in about five minutes, while taking a break from a more complicated song that was giving him trouble. This one “was one of the easiest to write, so for a while it was annoying that everyone seemed to like that one in particular,” he laughs. “I was like, ‘Man, that one took five minutes to write—it’s the simplest one!’ But then I [stopped] feeling that way because it’s just nice when someone likes your song.”
Cultural Vacuum: “I like pop music that’s really catchy but also kind of sad,” Kelly says, citing The Beach Boys as the masters of this technique. Still, the band doesn’t consciously look to other artists for ideas. “You can’t let [other bands] shape what you want to play.” Plus, he adds, “I don’t think that whatever I’m listening to really affects my songwriting. I’ve pretty much been listening exclusively to Top 40 for the last year and a half.” Still, don’t think that means the guys in Teen Mom are too keen on all-night MTV marathons. Of the sensationalized reality show with which his band shares a name, Kelly confesses, “I’ve actually never seen an entire episode.” —Lindsay Zoladz