Between preparing two solo LPs for release, maintaining a month-long residency at the Raleigh cocktail bar Common 414 and juggling a load of side projects, Jon Lindsay has kept a blistering pace this year.
Appropriately enough, “All Them Houses”—the lead single from the upcoming Cities and Schools, out in early 2016—is a sugar rush of infectious beats, gleaming keyboards and Lindsay’s bell-bright tenor vocals. It is catchy to the extreme.
Eschewing some of the baroque tendencies of his first two LPs, Lindsay sharpened his focus for record number three. Aiming for an ’80s pop feel reminiscent of the clean-toned, layered precision of Jeff Lynne’s work with people like Tom Petty and The Traveling Wilburys, he kept the feel consistent throughout.
“All Them Houses” has some of that Lynne flavor, along with a dollop of A-ha and the kick of early Prince. It was the first song Lindsay wrote for the set, and it shaped the album’s overall aesthetic.
“I had been listening to so much of my favorite ’80s pop that I just really wanted to get into my take on some of those textures and feels,” he says. “I love the blend of organic drums with vintage analog and digital drum machines, like what you might hear on “Got My Mind Set On You” or something. I was really into the organ sounds and keys sounds of tunes like [Pete Townshend’s] “Let My Love Open the Door.”
On first listen, “All Them Houses” simply soars, but undergirding the exuberance is a him-or-me narrative that adds urgency and ballast to the giddy highs. The boy doesn’t get the girl—not in the traditional sense, anyway.
“That balance,” he says, “the light and the dark, blended to the max as intensely as possible, is what excites me the most about pop music.”