As Tennis, husband/wife team Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore temper sugar-sweet pop with a scrappy, garage-rock attitude. Their sophomore album Young & Old (produced by the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney) is an irony-free, nostalgia-ready trip, featuring girl-group refrains, Beach Boy-style harmonies, and just a hint of R&B attitude.
Moore credits their shared love of music as a major factor in their romance – even if it took more than a year for them to start writing music together, and even longer to share it with the world. When Riley and Moore met in college, Moore had given up studying music, devoting herself instead to a degree in philosophy. She credits Riley for reigniting the fire that led to them forming a band. “It’s one of the things that I value in our relationship,” she says. “I’d stopped listening to music because I felt really disillusioned…He helped me fall in love with it all over again.”
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Moore gave eMusic’s Laura Studarus the scoop on the band’s favorite tunes to date, including their favorite makeout jam, their girl crushes and the band most likely to cause a spousal spat.
The Fiery Furnaces, “Duplexes of the Dead”
One of the first shows that we went to together was a Fiery Furnaces show. I have a crazy girl-crush on Eleanor Friedberger. I have for a really long time. We got to play Primavera Sound in Barcelona last May. We were backstage the day after our show, just hanging out, and all of a sudden I see her, just walking off in the distance, all powerful and beautiful. I couldn't control myself. I never do this. I found myself running full speed to catch her. My bandmates were like, "Where are you going?" I was like, "Can't talk! Eleanor Friedberger!" Once I got to her, I didn't even know what to say. I was like, "Umm I love you, I love your solo stuff and I love Fiery Furnaces." She was like, "Okay, that's great." I just slunk away! I get completely star struck all the time. For people you wouldn't necessarily imagine. Like Eleanor Friedberger, who has more of a cult following. But that makes it all the more real.
Split Enz, “My Mistake”
They're so underrated. The first time we heard "My Mistake" was when we bought Dizrythmia on vinyl. They have another single from that album called "Six Months on a Leaky Boat," which we've put on other playlists before. Patrick actually found that on a sailing blog. We immediately rode our bikes to a record store, bought the record and found "My Mistake." We loved that one too. Sailing is a very carefully nurtured personal passion of ours. Its influence is folded into a lot of other things.
Spiritualized, “Shine a Light”
That was a choice of Patrick's. His are usually wildcards. We both love, love, love Spiritualized. We have for years. It's not really something you'd notice in our music. I actually discovered Spiritualized through Patrick. But when we first met, like, five years ago now maybe this is TMI when we first started to date, we made out to all of Lazer Guided Melodies. It's a great album for making out to. That sealed the deal for me.
Joni Mitchell, “Help Me”
The first time I heard this song was when we added a fourth band member to our live show (Nathan Pemberton). He's an old friend of ours. I love having him. He has amazing taste in music that completely overlaps with mine. I was falling asleep in the van one night, and he started playing Joni Mitchell. I had only heard the song that goes, "Paved paradise to put up a parking lot." I never really listened to Joni Mitchell ever. He played "Help Me," and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, what is this?" It's like, the most perfect song I've ever heard. I made him play it like 100 times. Since then I've been obsessed[On Young & Old] I try to sing a Todd Rundgren-inspired melody, but it comes across Joni Mitchell-esque. It's an influence that I plan on continuing to cultivate.
Brenda Lee, “Emotions”
I found that song when we were on tour in Europe for the first time. We found this amazing record store in Amsterdam that has everything, ever. It's amazing and it's really well curated. I found this best of Brenda Lee record. That's how I heard "Emotions" for the first time. It's definitely one of my favorite songs that she's done! I wish to God I could sing that way, but there's not enough grit in my voice. My voice is so feminine and almost girlish. I wish all the time I had a different voice. I wish I were a black man, I wish I was Brenda Lee. I'd rather be anything else. Usually. I'm trying to work with what I've got.
Fleetwood Mac, “Mystified”
Right now, it's mine and Patrick's very favorite Fleetwood Mac song. Once again we discovered it through Nathan, our new band member. We tease him that he's our all-music catalogue. He knows everything, it's ridiculous. We're totally obsessed. I respect Fleetwood MacWe only heard it for the first time yesterday. It was the first song that we picked. We were so young and nave back then!
Bee Gees, “Emotion”
I love [Destiny's Child's] cover so much! I almost put that one up instead! It's almost better than the Bee Gees. Well, the Bee Gees' "Emotion" is so good. Once the chorus comes in where they're singing, "Emotion that's taking me over," it's a little obnoxious, even though it's incredible. But I think Beyonc nailed it. Patrick sees my love for Destiny's Child and Beyonc and even Brandy as total guilty pleasures. He won't let me put it on our playlist. I'm slowly trying to wear him down into loving Beyonc. I don't feel guilty one bit about liking Destiny's Child!
Devon Williams, “Revelation”
We toured with him a couple of times when he played in La Sera's band. We seriously love the album Euphoria. It's one of our favorite records that came out last year. Again, totally underrated. We have the song "Revelation" in our head every other day and we completely love it. Most of the musicians we meet are on tour. A lot of times it's so businessy, everyone is working so hard and just drained by the touring experience. It's not always the easiest way to bond. In other instances, every once and awhile you completely click. Devon is an example of that.