On the surface, Pearl Earl and Siamese, two of North Texas’ most innovative rock bands, appear to sail different musical waters.
The women of Pearl Earl traffic in psych-rock with heavy grooves and charging guitars that at times hearken back to late ’60s San Francisco. Siamese make noisey rock, too, but instead filter it through art, glam and shoegaze soundscapes.
Both bands have upcoming albums on the way — Pearl Earl’s self-titled release is tentatively scheduled to drop in May, and Siamese’s The Mesmerist comes out on March 3 — so we’ll be seeing a lot more of them this year. In the meantime, the bands’ lead guitarists and vocalists, Ariel Hartley of Pearl Earl and Teddy Georgia Waggy of Siamese, have recently set aside some time to collaborate. The result is a slinky tune, “Time Is a Circle.”
“Teddy’s bad at hanging out with people unless it’s built on music, so we started linking up to play and get to know each other better,” Hartley writes by email, when asked about the collaboration. Though the two bands play many of the same venues, prior to this collaboration Waggy and Hartley had only admired each other’s work from afar.
“The first time we hung out, we ended up mutually admitting that we had compared ourselves to each other and been jealous of the other’s musical prowess,” Hartley says. “It was refreshing to be so honest with a fellow musician and fellow female, and it was nice to realize we weren’t alone in our faults — or our Facebook stalking. After that we joined forces.”
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Using minimal outside reinforcements, the pair jammed at Waggy’s house, trading vocals, guitar parts and synth riffs, while Hartley handled bass and Waggy managed the drum kit. The DIY aesthetic extended into the production, with Waggy engineering and mixing the sessions into a final product.
“We had a lyrical concept in mind about the behavioral loops we fall into, healthy or destructive, and the struggle to see yourself clearly enough to get control over them, and we wanted to express that in the arrangement as well,” Waggy writes.
The vocals also add to the track’s intrigue, with both artists fluctuating in range and tone for maximum effect. “We drew some inspiration from [David] Bowie and [Freddy] Mercury’s collaboration on ‘Under Pressure,’” Waggy says. “We each have very distinct vocal styles and wrote these two ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ melodies to amplify the different timbres.”
The song’s rhythmic melodies have a cinematic quality that begs for visual accompaniment, so hopefully a music video is on the horizon. Both artists will be busy touring behind their respective bands’ new releases for the next few months, but agree “Time Is a Circle” will be the beginning of something bigger. They say a full album could very well be in the cards.