Dillo Artist Profile: Porches
By Blake Adler
On April 9th of last year, I went to the Porches concert at The Bottom Lounge. Except, being a black belt in sad boy music, I was only there to see Alex G open for them. As such, I spent much of Porches’ set conspicuously stalking Alex G’s merchandise table until I finally mustered up the courage to tell him “I like your music.” It is with this starstruck and somewhat embarrassing backdrop that I finally walked back into the main venue for the second half of Porches’ set. Needless to say, I was distracted and the only thing I really remember thinking was “I can’t tell if this music is happy or sad, but I kind of want to dance.” Then they played “Xanny Bar.” Aaron Maine asked to turn the lights in the venue completely off and with just the flame of a lighter shining under his face, he ended the show with what became my favorite song for the rest of the year. I came in writing Porches off, and I left knowing I was going to be a huge fan. When it was announced that they were performing Dillo, I finally felt like I could redeem myself for not appreciating them the first time around. I hope this helps keep you all from making that same mistake.
Porches is the New York based, synth pop brainchild of Aaron Maine. While Porches’ 2013 release Slow Dance in the Cosmos focuses on impressive guitar riffs and drum patterns, the album definitely maintains an electronic spice throughout. It is not very surprising, then, that Porches’ 2016 album, Pool, is characterized by the extensive electronic dance beats that energize the album from start to finish. Pool takes a decidedly happier turn in comparison to Slow Dance in the Cosmos. While still opening songs with lyrics such as “In my loner hour, I turn to my twin bed for power,” Maine clearly makes his uplifting electronics the centerpieces of most tracks on the album. There’s a beauty to the way Maine is able to take seemingly melancholy concepts and make them fun and daring. Here are five of my favorite Porches’ songs to get you excited:
This is one of those songs I find myself belting in the car at 2:00 a.m. on a weird Tuesday. While I can’t pinpoint its exact meaning, for some reason the song feels oddly relatable. Not a conventional song by any means, “Franklin the Flirt” is a certified banger. By the time you get to the chorus, you will feel fully immersed in Franklin’s story. With that being said, you will never fully know what Maine is trying to say, and that is kind of the beauty of Slow Dance in the Cosmos, the album this track is featured on. He never gives it to you in full: you’ll never understand who Franklin is to Aaron Maine and that is okay.
I fell in love with this song as soon as Maine sang the opening line: “I couldn’t help from noticing you from across the bar. Hello I’m Ronnie, and I’m falling apart.” Without any chorus, this song is a beautifully simple, love song that embodies the somber themes present throughout Slow Dance in the Cosmos. It is an anthem for any two people who fall in love with each other’s flaws. If I could live in one song, it would be this one.
This is my favorite song on Pool. Something about the juxtaposition between the downer vocals and the energetic beat coupled with Frankie Cosmos’ continuous harmonizing makes this song incredibly sexy. Like the rest of Pool, “Hour” maintains a simple melodic rhythm that allows you to latch onto the beat pretty quickly. Overall, this album’s songs are very minimalist; with only a couple short verses and maybe a simple chorus here and there, you should be able to learn these songs by the time Dillo rolls around.
As Porches’ most recognizable song, “Be Apart” perfectly represents the vibe of Pool as a whole. With a chorus that will most definitely be stuck in your head all day (in a good way), this is probably Porches’ most catchy work. When asked about what “Be Apart“ means to Maine, he responded with “This song is about being in your apartment, feeling antsy or anxious, and just reflecting on the outside world, which in my case is New York.” Again, a simple theme, but when you actually listen and try to decipher the lyrics, there is nothing simple about it. Like the rest of Porches’ work, “Be Apart” complicates the idea of pop music without ever pushing the listener away.
If you’re covering the Strokes, you better not screw it up. Many bands who do try to recreate songs from -hot take- the greatest band of our generation make the mistake of trying to replicate The Strokes’ sound, leading to a lackluster copy of the original. Porches, on the other hand, stays true to its own sound, providing a tribute to the Strokes that retains their own little touch. As I read in the YouTube comments section, if I am being honest, Porches manage to make the Strokes sound “cozy.”