Whoever pointed out that the cover of Tennis's forthcoming Fat Possum debut, Cape Dory, appeared to be an homage to Lisa Hartman's 1979 album Hold On was right on the money. We caught up with Patrick Riley to get more details on the record, and he confirmed as much.
"We decided to re-create the Lisa H cover after Alaina started collecting '70s-'80s female pop artists' vinyl for their cover art -- Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, etc.," he explains. "The Hold On cover was so striking, we had a friend shoot it to use for a press release and ended up liking it so much we decided to make it the cover. It has nothing to do, really, with the album... or maybe it does. Either way, we wanted to get away from the found-vintage-photo trend.
Update: Click through for more and to listen to "Take Me Somewhere"
"And, yes," Riley adds, referencing Bree Davies's earlier assessment, "it totally reminds us of Sweet Valley High. Alaina used to read that series and The Babysitters' Club growing up.
According to Riley, Cape Dory was named after the boat the couple purchased to embark on their now-storied sailing excursion, and it was recorded by Riley, Alaina Moore and James Barone themselves last month at Notably Fine Audio. The record is being mastered by Greg Calbi, who was chosen specifically for his work with a certain quirky, dearly departed Northern California act that the band admires.
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"His entire resume is staggering," says Riley. "Ramones, Bob Dylan, Talking Heads. But he mastered Sophtware Slump, which is one of our all-time favorites, as well as the Walkmen's Lisbon, which is our favorite album of this year."
It was more than just the sound of Grandaddy's album, though, that moved Riley and Moore. "Jason Lytle kind of inspired some of our sailing trip," Riley reveals. "He always sings about a simple life: "Wives of Farmers" and "Go Progress Chrome" are personal anthems of ours. When we settled on the boat we ended up buying, the Cape Dory, it was absurdly small to live on, nothing electric worked, and it had a foot-pump water system. We called it "the grandaddy boat" and knew it was right for us."
After playing a half-dozen dates on the West Coast, Tennis will return to Denver for a show at the Bluebird Theater with Gauntlet Hair on Wednesday, November 24, before heading back out on the road for a short tour of the East Coast.
"Take Me Somewhere" from Cape Dory due out on Fat Possum on January 18, 2011.