At some point during yesterday’s Super Bowl, maybe while you were up rummaging for another snack, you might have heard an uncanny voice drifting out during the commercial break. “Don’t let me show cruelty, though I may make mistakes,” Nicole Miglis was cooing warmly, a cappella. “Don’t let me show ugliness, though I know I can hate.” The song was “Show Me Love,” the first song from Miglis’s band Hundred Waters‘ breathtaking 2014 album, The Moon Rang Like a Bell. If it helps expose the richly atmospheric Florida-based group to a global it could hardly happen to a worthier bunch, and the inevitability of marketing entanglements aside, they’ve made sure to do it for a cause that’s worthy, too.
Hundred Waters’ slow, steady rise has been unusual even in an era when an indie band such as the National can make its Saturday Night Live debut six albums in, or Future Islands can turn years of hard work into a memeable Late Show with David Letterman visit. “We didn’t really know we were doing an album until we were a bunch of songs in,” multi-instrumentalist Trayer Tryon told EW of Hundred Waters’ similarly impressive self-titled debut. From the start, they’ve been different from their peers in various ways. First, they’re from Gainesville, a city known more for the University of Florida football team than (rightly or not) for its arts scene. Second, they have a sound not quite like anything else, rooted in tradition yet technologically adventurous: a review of their latest album said they “thrive in the place where post-rock meets freak folk.” Third, Hundred Waters are signed to dubstep godhead Skrillex‘s OWSLA label, an improbable connection that already puts them in a unique and unpredictable frame.
Though the challenging economic realities for musicians outside the 1 percent have largely settled the debate over what used to be known as “selling out,” it’s fair for bands to have concerns about what it says about them to be linked with a certain brand; even a charitable campaign can ultimately serve as advertising to improve an unsavory business venture’s image. And, yes, of course, Coca-Cola can be criticized for selling sweetened fizz worldwide at a time of rampant obesity. But here, too, it’d be churlish to fault Hundred Waters’ decision-making. At the very least, the Super Bowl ad with “Show Me Love” aims to promote awareness of a worrisome trend, online bullying (OK, with the somewhat corny “#MakeItHappy hashtag). And anyway, this emphasis on both acknowledging and overcoming our human tendencies toward meanness is a theme that already exists in the song.
More important than the Coke connection, Hundred Waters are also using the commercial as a chance to do something bigger, something that grows from their real-life experience. They’ve released a BitTorrent bundle as a fund-raising initiative for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “In high school, Nicole mentored in a program called Big Brothers Big Sisters, a non-profit that provides powerful, enduring mentoring relationships to children without positive adult figures in their lives,” the band said in a statement. “We are giving this bundle away in exchange for a donation of any amount to Big Brothers Big Sisters.” If sweetened fizz can’t be stopped from contributing to childhood obesity, its dollars, at least, can still be transformed into a platform for helping needy kids.
The statement adds: “When Coca-Cola asked to use our song for an ad campaign promoting positivity online in the face of the internet’s pervasive negativity, we decided to use the opportunity to help defeat what we see as a root cause of bullying: low self-esteem and lack of strong relationships … Here is an easy way to benefit others by simply enjoying music. We realize bullying is a complicated issue with no easy answer. We hope, however, to change the lives of a few who, through circumstances outside their control, either become bullies or their victims.”
As for Hundred Waters’ music, it will have a chance to reach still more listeners on February 11, when the band plays on Letterman. They’ll release The Moon Rang Like a Bell (Remixed) on February 17 via OWSLA. And they’re heading out on tour starting on February 13 in Los Angeles.
Watch the “Show Me Love” ad and an acoustic video for the song below, and scroll down for details on the remix album and tour dates.
“Show Me Love” BitTorrent Bundle
“Show Me Love” (album version)
“Show Me Love (Nicole Miglis Acoustic)”)”
“Show Me Love” music video directed by Alex Warren
Lyric sheet (handwritten by Nicole Miglis)
“Down From the Rafters”
The Moon Rang Like a Bell (Remixed) (February 17, OWSLA)
1. Show Me Love (Nicole Miglis Acoustic)
2. Murmurs (Brandt Brauer Frick Remix)
3. Cavity (Shigeto Remix)
4. Out Alee (Plaid Remix)
5. Innocent (Illangelo’s Confessional Remix)
6. Broken Blue (Dirty Beaches Remix)
7. Chambers (bvdub’s Two Hearts Apart)
8. Down From the Rafters (Huxley Remix)
9. [animal] (Siriusmo Remix)
10. Seven White Horses (Trayer Remix)
11. Xtalk (Kodak to Graph Remix)
12. No Sound (Paul & Zach’s Waltz)
Hundred Waters tour dates
2/13 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theater
2/14 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
2/16 Portland, OR – Branx
2/17 Seattle, WA – Neumos
2/18 Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl
2/21 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
2/22 Kansas City, MO – Record Bar
2/24 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
2/26 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
2/27 Montreal, QC – SAT
2/28 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
3/2 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
3/5 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
3/6 Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
3/7 Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
3/8 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
3/10 Miami, FL – Grand Central
3/11 St Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
3/13 Orlando, FL – Dr. Phillips PAC
3/16 New Orleans, LA – Republic