Since her days with the vastly underrated Juicy in the mid/late 90s, Kendall Meade has been a world-class tunesmith: we’re talking Lennon/McCartney, Holland/Dozier/Holland, Aimee Mann-class hooks. Since then she’s played with Helium, the Spinanes and earlier this year in a memorably low-key, more Americana-flavored collaboration with Varnaline’s Anders Parker. In between, off and on, she’s led the irresistibly catchy Mascott. The band name has a backstory as endearing as Meade’s tunes: as her family’s youngest child, her nickname was “Mascot,” and she kept it. Her latest Mascott gig is at the Mercury on Sept 22 at 7:30 PM; cover is ten bucks. There’s also a new Mascott ep out from Jennifer O’Connor’s insurgent Kiam Records, and it’s as catchy as you would expect.
The first track is the bittersweet but ultimately optimistic Cost/Amount. “I’ve seen 52 sadder ways to spend a Saturday,” Meade muses as it rises from a summery pop pulse to a tremolo-picked dreampop swirl on the bridge. Meade has always been a good singer, but she’s never sounded more nuanced than she is here. The way she hits the high note as the chorus of the second track, Our Life, kicks in will give you goosebumps. Underneath the shiimering warmth, it’s third-generation, pulsing Velvets rock. “You listen to the dark side of the moon and I’ll paint the clouds,” she cajoles. The third track, By the Book works a Penny Lane bounce with electric piano and guitar and some droll accents from bass and keys; the final track is Kirsty MacColl’s They Don’t Know About Us, reinvented in much of the same vein as the Velvets’ Sunday Morning. Purist pop chops, wry sense of humor, same old same old: what a fun band!