TRACK PREMIERE: ORIENTAL BEATLES “SERENA”
If you are an L.A.-area musician who would like to submit unreleased songs or videos of any genre for premiere, email a stream or download link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oriental Beatles is the new outfit fronted by vocalist/guitarist/synthesizerist Stephanie Chan (of Dunes) and filled out by fellow synthesizer wizards/whisperers Marty Sataman and Mark Lee, and “Serena” is their debut single. It’s somewhere between post-punk and synth-pop—maybe like Young Marble Giants and Yellow Magic Orchestra? A little?—and although its got the heart and even vulnerability of a bittersweet b-side pop anthem, there’s plenty of gently experimental knob-twisting in service of subverting expectations, too. It’s like the climax of some cloudy Cold War-era drama, where the moments of clarity cut through the fog and hit you right in the heart. For this song, engineer David Reichardt (ex-Dunes and Abe Vigoda) stepped in with what Chan calls “an awesome staccato guitar part” after lots of studio time spent immersed in old horror movie trailers. (Which might explain the unexpected bloodcurdling scream toward the end of the song.) Says Chan:
“I had the idea for ‘Serena’ for a while and brought it to our first practice. I have a lot of love and compassion for being on the verge of fucking up your life because you’re having too much fun, and this song exists in that space. Marty has stacks of amazing old synths we started experimenting with and it just came together. It was like … how do you make something weird with a lot of layers that’s still just a simple pop song? I was listening to a lot of Plus Instruments so maybe that vibe is in there a little.