Calling to interview a musician and being told that they’re currently looking at your site is a bit like calling a potential date and being told that they’re currently checking out your sex tape… Okay, so that may be a little melodramatic, but it certainly adds pressure. However, Kendall Meade, one half of Anders & Kendall, actually proved to be quite lovely to chat with and not at all intimidating… After all, she did quickly confirm about Philthy, “I really like it.”
Anders & Kendall is the project of Kendall Meade and Anders Parker. Kendall was the leader of indie poppers Mascott, along with making significant contributions to bands like Helium and Sparklehorse, while Anders has made a name for himself in the world of alt-country and folk as frontman for Varnaline and one-half of Gob Iron (alongside Jay Farrar), in addition to a number of solo records. The two have been collaborating as friends since the ‘90s, however, Wild Chorus, Anders & Kendall’s debut (due out this Tuesday, February 19th, on Nine Mile Records), is their first full-length collaboration. Last winter Kendall came to Anders’ Vermont home, on a dare to create an LP.
“We wrote over the course of a year. We had no expectations of what it was going to sound like. We were just excited to have it done. We purposely didn’t put any particular influences in our bio. We didn’t have touchstones of who we wanted to sound like. We had no expectations, to be perfectly honest. I mean, it sounds cliché, but it’s a mixture of both of our styles. I’ve always been a fan of Anders and his writing style. We both brought a few complete songs to the table… His songs are a lot more guitar-driven and mine are a lot more vocal-driven.”
The sounds found on Wild Chorus transcend any traditional genres. They are quite a bit sunny, but also have the chops of anyone with a firm grasp on all the music that’s mattered in the past hundred years. They pop, but in a way that can be appreciated by music snobs. It’s essentially easygoing folk-pop with indie cred. It’s perfect for the kind of people who spent their youth in grimy punk clubs… who now have children… and find Swans aren’t exactly appropriate for soundtracking a family drive to the grocery store. My personal favorite track is “Gettin’ Ready” (“That’s definitely a very energetic song. That’s on that I brought to the table,” Kendall tells me.), a grown-up take on twee of sorts (The band does “follow” Belle & Sebastian” on Twitter.) However, Kendall tells me that she’s most partial to the album’s opening tracks: “I think the first two songs, ‘We’re on Fire, Babe,’ and ‘City of Greats,’ are great examples of us getting on the same page.” The music video for “We’re on Fire” premiered late last year on American Songwriter and has also been featured on AOL Spinner and Rolling Stone and has gained praise from Nylon as “the sonic equivalent of cute kitten videos. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, this is your jam.”
Anders & Kendall will be playing NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall on February 24th and then heading to SXSW for three performances, but they hope to be doing some more extensive touring in the near future, as well. Of the live show, Kendall tells me it will likely be a simplified and casual take on their latest output.
“We’re going to be playing a stripped-down version of the songs. We wrote them to be performed that way… You’ll probably get Anders and I teasing each other… We’re so excited to perform live.”
And if you’re wondering if Wild Chorus is going to be a one-off experiment for Anders & Kendall, Kendall tells me that it definitely will not be.
“There will definitely be more. It’s been so fun. We definitely have a lot more songs in us. Maybe we’d like to do an acoustic record.”