If you’ve been following JOVM over the past two weeks or so, you may recall that I’ve written about Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably best known for his work with Awolnation, Liz Phair, Kelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, the duo have been thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie Francis, Pasty Cline, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others — but with a subtly modern (and anachronistic) twist that makes the sound seem as though it could have been part of a a Quentin Tarantino film.
The duo’s debut single “Betty” first gained the attention across the blogosphere for a subtly scuzzy, lo-fi-like garage-based guitar rock sound that would make you think of the aforementioned Roy Robison and Buddy Holly the song possesses a similar urgent and swooning Romanticism. The heartache expressed by Marlene’s aching vocals is a heartache that we all have known at some point — being desperately in love with a fickle and thoughtless lover, who you know will inevitably break your heart.
The duo recently released a hushed and spectral alternate version that features Marlene’s vocals paired with a sparse arrangement that includes a subtly Bossa Nova guitar line that makes the song sound as though it were indebted to Patsy Cline — in particular, think of “Crazy” and “Walkin After Midnight.” And as a result, the alternate version aches with a similar desperate loneliness and longing.
Building on the buzz that the band has been receiving since their appearance at this year’s CMJ, the band released an official video for “Betty (Alternate Version)” that features footage of the duo recording the song through Instagram-like filters, which give the video a grainy, old-fashioned Super 8 film-like look.