Tennis may have been born on a sailboat, but Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley sure have come a long way since their breezy nautical debut, Cape Dory. In the past few years this indie pop outfit has taken things off the water a bit, working with The Black Keys' Patrick Carney on their new EP Small Sound. The release marks a different direction for the band, adding an extra dose of '80s haze and gorgeous, moody harmonies that somehow weave their signature free spirit with a slightly more grownup vibe. So whether you decide to listen at your desk or on the beach, it doesn't matter--it's just as good either way. They're currently touring with Haim, so there's no question that Tennis are going places. We called them on the road to get the scoop from Moore on what the musician couple has been up to.
Tell us about your new single "Cured Of Youth." It's a little bit different than what we're used to hearing from you.
This time I really made a conscious effort to write and suit my own strengths. We first found our sound as a band by trying to evoke a feeling and creating an aesthetic born out of our love for '50s girl group music. But after touring and singing those songs for so long, it just wasn't the type of music I sing the best.
So how did you decide to switch it up?
The last year I worked really hard to find singers and songwriters who I felt were really similar to me. I ended up falling in love with Carole King, Judee Sill, and some others--they were all contemporaries living and working at the same time, all singers and songwriters. There's something unique to each one of them, so I started channeling their voices while writing and it just went from there.
After being on the road for so long, what's your favorite song to sing live?
Every song does something particular to you, whether it's "Marathon" or "Origins" or whatever. And while no song will ever eclipse "Marathon," I get sort of tired playing it every night! [Laughs] So I would have to say that "Mean Streets" is my new favorite.
How did the tour with Haim come about?
We've had lots of coincidental connections over the years with the Haim girls, and we were both working in the same studio a while back. We're so excited to tour with them! We don't get to really share a bill often enough with women, so it's about time.