Music

Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles Deliver Love Song With a Sweet Twist Via "House on a Hill" (premiere + interview)

Photo courtesy of Conqueroo

Sarah Borges' songs remind us that simplicity and clarity can be more impactful than clever metaphors and the complicated machinery that accompanies most pop singles today.

Sarah Borges' songs remind us that simplicity and clarity can be more impactful than clever metaphors and the complicated machinery that accompanies most pop singles today. The songs that comprise her latest LP, Love's Middle Name (which finds her reunited with the band the Broken Singles), are a scorching batch of compositions that demand to be played loud, then louder as their hooks sink in, and the listener is given no choice but to sing along at the top of their lungs.

That isn't to say she doesn't track complicated emotions on the collection: there are plenty of meditations on the general trickery of love and the myriad emotions that wade in the waters around it but Borges cuts through the ephemera to deliver the simplest line between pain and its resolution. The single, "House on a Hill", blazes the path for this potent and remarkable collection of songs produced by Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (Del-Lords, Bottle Rockets, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts).

Calling the tune "a rocker with a sweet twist", Borges recently spoke about the single, her upcoming album and getting some help from a witch.

Love's Middle Name releases 12 October via via Blue Corn Music.

When did the material on this new album first start coming together?

It's been a couple of years since I put out a record. The last one was a solo album. This one is a band record. I knew I wanted to do another band record. I took a little break when I had my son, then got back into touring. The songs were germinating. But I'm also one of those people who procrastinates. I do better with a deadline, so I wrote most of the songs in this year leading up to release of the album.

What led to you putting the band back together?

I thought I was done. We had been on tour for about eight years. I was tired. I took time off to get married and have a baby. It became evident to me quite quickly that I wasn't done. I just really missed it. The final piece was putting the band back together and starting over.

You worked with producer Eric Ambel again.

He thinks that I'm better than I am! He's the first producer like that! He gives me a lot of confidence I wouldn't have otherwise. Primarily as a guitar player. That's a task I've relegated in the past to other members of the band or guests. But I've been playing for a long time and he's very complimentary about my guitar playing and my songwriting. Plus he's a badass rock 'n' roll guitar player. It seemed like a logical choice. We have a real simpatico relationship.

The guitar sound is very much like we're in the room with you and the band. I can feel the warmth of the amps.

That's Eric's signature thing. He's been at this for such a long time. He believes in the chemistry of everyone being there in the same room. We tracked the songs live, and if overdubs were necessary we went ahead and did that, but there weren't many. We did the whole thing in probably three or four short bursts, probably eight days of tracking.

Was there a song that sort of began the whole process, the whole album?

"House On The Hill" was a song that I wrote, and no one had heard. I brought it to the studio, and it just jelled right away. That became our benchmark for what the rest of the record should sound like.

Did the song itself come together quickly in the writing process?

A friend of mine was in the process of getting divorced, and I sort of thought about not just what that feels like between two people but a house being a metaphor for the relationship. It used to be this wonderful, welcoming place and now it's not anymore. Once I got that in my head it was easy to take on the persona of someone else and think about what I would feel like in that particular situation.

Where did you shoot the video?

We shot it in Lima, New York which is a suburb of Rochester. A gentleman I knew through Facebook offered to do shoot a video for us. He had the idea for the location. It's this old farmhouse that we used. It was me, the director, a camera person and an actor who played my significant other. We did it over two days. It was a lot of walking through a field! [Laughs.]

The people who owned the home came back halfway through the shoot. Their cat died. So we had this strange thing where they were laying their cat to rest while we were shooting. It was a strange juxtaposition.

My next favorite song on the record is "Lucky Rocks", and I wanted to ask about that song because the lyrics are so striking.

I live close to Boston but also close to Salem. A while ago I wanted the affections of a certain person, and so I went and got a spell from one of the witches in Salem. I asked her to make this person love me. She gave me some rocks to put in my pocket. I had to keep some in my pocket and then cover some in salt water and empty the water by moonlight under a tree for ten days. It was a very involved thing. The song is just the story of that.

Which was more involved: The work of carrying out the spell or the writing of the song?

Well, the person didn't end up coming around, so I don't know if the spell was successful but writing the songs was easy because I already had the narrative in my mind. Just setting it to music was the only thing left to do.

What does the future look like in terms of live dates after the record's out?

I have a seven-year-old son, so my touring is a little bit constrained by needing to be home and be a parent. So we go in short, 10-day bursts, do as much as feels comfortable. But the more you play and the more you play on the road, the better you get, and there's nothing like when you've been on the road for a couple of weeks, and the whole thing becomes second nature to you. I'm anxious to do that.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.

Books

New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.

Music

Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.

Music

Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.

Music

New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Music

Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.

Music

Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.

Music

M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.

Music

Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.

Music

JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.

Music

All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.

Music

Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.

Music

Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Music

Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.