“I think we constantly try to simplify, that’s our goal,” says Chelsea Morissey, and she means it. Her band, Dirty Mittens, while just two EPs into their career, have already mastered the oft-ignored rock-and-roll axiom of “Keep it simple, stupid.”
It’s pop, stupid
“I think we constantly try to simplify, that’s our goal,” says Chelsea Morissey, and she means it.
Her band, Dirty Mittens, while just two EPs into their career, have already mastered the oft-ignored rock-and-roll axiom of “Keep it simple, stupid.”
Loosely associated with the unstoppable creative dynamo that is Boy Gorilla Records, Dirty Mittens have helped facilitate the expansion of Portland’s youth music scene by adding their name to a short list of our town’s most ambitious and creative indie-rockers.
Their songs have a skeletal pop precision recalling The Unicorns or Beat Happening, and even with the addition of bass player Ezra Sandberg-Lewis (of the underappreciated band Hurrah Hurrah), they promise to keep delivering sparse auditory delights.
Their minimalist pop persuasion was conceived when Morissey and keyboardist Noah Jay-Bon began working on songs following the dissolution of the latter’s former band, Ample Sample. Drawing on experience from a wide range of musical projects, the two set about writing songs that could stand on the merit of their decisive arrangements. Then they were given a stronger rhythmic underpinning with the addition of drummer Andy Parker.
The resultant ecstatic pop was quick to arrest the praise of local indie aficionados.
The release of their debut EP followed, to much applause, and when they set about recording their second collection of songs, producer Skyler Norwood was enlisted to further develop the band’s burgeoning aesthetic. Holed up in Norwood’s Point Juncture, Wash., studio, Dirty Mittens recorded the Mid-July EP. According to Morissey, the sound the band wanted was “Lo-fi, but not like we recorded it ourselves and weren’t very good at it.” Fortunately for them, turning over the reins to someone who was very good at recording produced exactly the combination of grit and polish needed to bring out the nuances of their sound.
The Mid-July EP boasts both Dirty Mittens’ remarkably tight songwriting and a palpable exuberance, which is carried gracefully through the record’s production. Dirty Mittens have used their youth as a catalyst to drive the energetic appeal of their arrangements, and this pays off for them in a big way. Balancing their innate energy with calculated song craft has allowed Dirty Mittens to produce music that reflects their age without succumbing to it.
Morissey’s voice–the absolute doppelganger to the similarly named Smiths singer–quavers atop the Mittens’ punchy instrumentation to an immediate effect. It is much “happier” than your typical indie-rock project.
Dirty Mittens’ lively pop has not only gained them attention over the past several months, but has also manifested a slew of opportunities that have been appearing on an almost daily basis. Their next recorded output will be a split seven-inch record, made in conglomeration with two-thirds of the Boy Gorilla roster (expect Eskimo and Sons, Typhoon and other such goodies), and over the next month they will be playing several shows, all of which are available to the all-ages crowd.
Also, Morissey has hinted about a possible record deal in the works, which would allow Dirty Mittens to comfortably tour and widely distribute their material. While details are still a ways off, it can be safely postulated that Morissey and company’s recognition will only continue to grow in 2008.
Dirty Mittens The Artistery, located at 4315 S.E. Division St.Oct. 26 at 8 p.m.$6www.myspace.com/dirtymittensband