In this day and age, there are lots of ways to form a band. Friends become bandmates, networking leads to collaboration, and so on. But one of the most interesting and, indeed, modern ways is via social media. Such is the case for Flaunt, an indie rock/pop duo based both in Colorado and Maine (thanks, interwebz). What brought Justin Jennings and Joe Vitterito, two seemingly disparate musicians, together across such a long divide? The goal of creating song cycles in the era of the single — the devotion to creating art within music.
In that same vein, the pair has released an unheard-of 13 music videos over the past four months, along with their latest album, Rave Noir, released last month. With the accolades mounting (they received an Independent Music Award in 2014 and three nominations from New Music Weekly‘s New Music Awards), and a curious teaser like, “We wanted to make an album that was reminiscent to some extent of what radio used to sound like,” the duo’s throwback vibe is heartening — at least for those of us who like that sort of thing.
Expanding on that statement, they pattern their sound after when radio was more eclectic, “where a Zeppelin tune would be followed by a hit single by the Little River Band and then something by the Gap Band.” We were intrigued by their particular hypothetical lineup, so we decided to ask them for five songs that influenced them both — and we weren’t disappointed in the variety of their picks.
1. “Barber’s Adagio For Strings (Original Version),” William Orbit
“William Orbit has been involved (behind the scenes, for many) in some of pop music’s greatest moments but his own work can stand on its own. This song, his version of a classical piece, is a prime example of a song that moves us to tears… and there are no lyrics. But it is also a piece of music that can be equally at home propelling a workout in the gym. It’s transcendental. Amazing.”
2. “Disposition” (or “Schism”), Tool
“Tool is a very big influence on our sound and aspirations. We love the way they expand (and explode) the “typical” song structure and incorporate heavy guitar riffs. Very big powerful songs.”
3. “If You’d Be Mine,” Shuggie Otis
“When Joseph’s first son was born, he played vintage Shuggie Otis over and over. Then a bit later, Shuggie surprise-dropped a ‘new’ album called Inspiration Information/Wings of Love; the song ‘If You’d Be Mine’ became an instant favorite. It’s got the vintage sound, a bit of Bee Gees phrasing, and just makes the listener sway. We gotta write a song like this.”
4. “Sleep Now In The Fire,” Rage Against The Machine
“A lot of the Rage stuff served as Justin’s first songs he used to learn guitar. There’s a lot of power in the guitar in their songs.”
“Ah, Madonna! Man, there are so, so, so many of her songs that have inspired our album, music, the world! Is there any other artist who has successfully jumped around, provoking fears, shames, stereotypes, etc.? Maybe it is a cliche choice, but ‘Cherish’ is one of those perfect pop songs, yet one that leans on the classic girl-group sound. We could pick many others (‘Justify My Love’ is another favorite, especially since it is a collaboration with another fave artist, Lenny Kravitz) but this song will suffice.”
Take a listen to Flaunt’s “I Haven’t Thought About You Yet” below!