I know this is an EP review, but I need to start this off explaining to you just how much I LOVE seeing Scantron play live. Playing comes as naturally to them as breathing, and the songs they write are so… RIGHT that they seem like they’ve always existed. Like Scantron picked them out of the universe and are playing them for our happy ears to hear. When you love a band’s live performance this much, the bar is set pretty high for their recorded music. And for years, Scantron has been known for their tight, lo-fi recordings that perfectly capture the energy and vibes of their live show. Their latest EP, Electric City, continues the streak. James Everhart, vocalist and guitarist for the band, talked to us about the new songs that were written during a transitional phase of his life, and what the decision to take the recording session from his living room into a studio.
I love that Scantron songs are about whatever the fuck Jimmy wants to write about. There are so many break-up songs, make-up songs, love songs, what are we? songs etc. But Scantron is all over the place. Jimmy explains, “Scantron EPs never usually have underlying themes simply because we aim to write songs that can stand alone as singles rather than as parts of a whole. With that being said, these tunes were written at a time when I was feeling particularly angsty and vulnerable as I transitioned into a new career and lifestyle after my time on the road.”
"These tunes were written at a time when I was feeling particularly angsty and vulnerable as I transitioned into a new career and lifestyle after my time on the road.”
The EP starts with Dreams, a song about “desire, regret and resilience.” It has such a heavy feel to it, almost like trudging through a difficult time only to break through to a lighter sound in the end. The song transitions into my personal favorite, Tip Top Inn. The guitar riff on the song just makes me feel cool. Jimmy tells us that the song is his own version of Lloyd Price’s Stagger Lee, “I felt [it] deserved a modern twist. It quite literally and metaphorically addressed the back-stabbing nature of show business juxtaposed with the harshness of real life.” I’d say it’s pretty relatable content. Side B starts off with White Linen Sheets, a song that must have been written for me, personally. It is about Jimmy’s greatest challenge: falling asleep. It is “a playful song that serves as my ode to anytime one cannot fall asleep because their mind is restless.” He’s telling the story of my life here. In There, Out There, which finishes off the EP. It’s big, it’s fun, we love it.
"It quite literally and metaphorically addressed the back-stabbing nature of show business juxtaposed with the harshness of real life.”
Until now, Scantron has always recorded right at home, in Jimmy’s living room. This time, they made the move to Drowning Fish Studio, working with engineers, Davis Shubs and Will Donnelly. The change was seamless. The new tunes still have that classic Scantron feeling, just with a little more polish. The decision to leave the living room was mostly business, “Since much of my music is used for television shows like Ozark, The Flash and other Netflix titles, I decided to go with higher production value, but maintained a fully live band performance to capture lightning in a bottle.” They’ve done an incredible job on this one, we’re so excited for you to hear it!
Listen to Electric City here!