My Favorite: Tender Is The Nightshift : Part One  12" EP   (HHBTM Records / WIAIWYA Records)

Release date: August 5, 2022

My Favorite - Tender Is The Nightshift : Part One (HHBTM Records / WIAIWYA Records)

Bio: New York cult indiepop artists My Favorite return with Tender Is the Nightshift: Part 1, the first in a series of three evening-hued EPs of imperious new wave and plastic soul—glassine surfaces as two-way mirrors on loneliness, trauma and growing old in the shadow of a dream. With their first extended play release in nearly 20 years, the group scavenge the digital debris of the 20th century to fashion a pre-apocalyptic soundtrack for a millennium’s malaise, a “hard rain in a soft cell.” As sequencers and saxophones swirl, singer/songwriter Michael Grace Jr uses the tragic totems of James Dean, Princess Diana and Major Tom to explore love and loss— remaking/remodeling the dim corridors of memory into bright passages forward.

My Favorite is Michael Grace Jr: Vocals, vocoders, melodica / Kurt Brondo: Synthesizers, piano, drum machines / Gil Abad: Bass Guitar. Joined by Jaime Allison Babic: Lead & background vocals / Joseph Babic: Guitars

Barely out of their teens in 1994 when their debut single “Go Kid Go/Absolute Beginners Again” was spun by John Peel, My Favorite was formed in the archetypal suburbia of Long Island— a floating sliver of dirt where every bad idea of post-war America was instituted. Among the strip malls and subdivisions, five kids formed a half-band/half-art project during their freshman year at state college in Stony Brook. Raised on new wave via the legendary WLIR, while encircled by the local hardcore scene, the band tried to merge ‘80s high-concept pop with the DIY energy of punk and riot grrrl. Grace also had an interest in deconstruction, appropriation, and what was sometimes called "hauntology." He did not want to imitate his heroes; he wanted to exorcise them.

While their songs varied stylistically, at their core was a world of young ideas and old nightmares conjured by the words and melodies of Grace Jr. The group released two revered genre-bending indiepop records in 1999 and 2003. As a Pitchfork guest editor, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Kip Berman named the latter collection, "The Happiest Days of Our Lives," best record of the 2000s. Equally adored and obscured (except strangely in Sweden) My Favorite have been championed by members of Belle & Sebastian, The Magnetic Fields, The Drums, and Choir Boy. Even Morrissey has included them in his pre-concert music. In total, at least two bands, three songs, a blog and a radio show have been named after their songs. Fans stenciled their lyrics beneath overpasses and on the sides of 7-Elevens. They were called “the beautiful losers,” and when they split up in 2005— that beauty was simply lost.

Now rising slowly out of the ashes of The Secret History, Grace’s band with Lisa Ronson (daughter of Mick) from 2008-2014, this incarnation of My Favorite also features synth specialist Kurt Brondo, and bassist Gil Abad along with guest collaborators old and new. The EP was mixed by David Tolomie (Beach House/Protomartyr) and features The Roots’ guitarist ‘Captain’ Kirk Douglas on the sprawling Bowie-esque disco of “Dean’s 7th Dream.” Here My Favorite break all the rules for a single— crafting an 8-minute pop opera from funk to funky, before dissolving it in ghostly ambience. “Blues For Planet X” explores the dark reverberations of inner space, of fantastic voyages that fail to launch. The ballad “Princess Diana Awaiting Ambulance'' is the anti- “Candle In The Wind,” its gated gauze about neither Ms. Spencer nor her death, but rather all the illusions that ultimately consume our hearts. The EP ends with “Second Empire (Second Arrangement),” melding ‘Madchester’ dance with what Grace calls his Xeroxy Muzak— a lush, glitchy ambience like an Orphean glance back at paradises lost. Pleasures unreproducible.