Checkerboard Floors update classic soul-pop for our TikTok times on their short ’n’ sweet new single and lyric video Hold Me Again — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
The veteran Hamilton indie trio don’t waste a single moment of your technology-shortened attention span on their superb latest release. In less than two magical minutes, they skillfully blend arpeggiated tremolo guitars, a gently syncopated groove flecked with tom-toms, and even understated strings into a jangly, soulful little nugget of vintage-sounding British Invasion pop-rock midway between The Beatles and Guess Who. Then they top the whole affair with warm butterscotch vocals and rich harmonies, sharing a handful of lonesome, lovelorn lyrics that cut right to the romantic chase:
“Well it’s hard, don’t know when
When you’ll hold me again
So hard, don’t know when
When you’ll hold me again
When you hold me so tight
You can hold me every night…
When you hold me from the start
When you hold me with all of your heart.”
“This was definitely a lockdown song,” frontman Derek Palango explains. “I finished my early demo of it in April 2021. Really I was trying to capture something that felt good and hopeful and steep it in vibes from yesteryear. Clocking in at 1:48, it holds the distinction of being the shortest Checkerboard Floors track ever recorded; a song with a stylistic nod to the past, inspired by pandemic blues, done up short and sweet, in the age of reels, shorts, TikToks, etc. Plus, we were fortunate enough to have Loretta Hale (Loretta Hale Big Band, Andre Bisson Band) play cello on it for us.”
Checkerboard Floors’s current lineup features Palango (vocals, guitar), Matt Outerson (bass, vocals) and Kevin Barrie (drums, vocals). The band originally came together in 2009 through work, mutual friends and a shared love of music. They quickly secured gigs in local venues as a cover band, and spent the next few years refining their act, performing a wide array of covers from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Tom Petty, Carlos Santana, AC/DC and more contemporary artists such as The Black Keys, Big Sugar, The Killers and The Tragically Hip.
Their sound might be called alt-pock, though it also includes elements of blues, funk, Motown and jazz. Their most recent EP, 2021’s Music You Dance To, was recorded in isolation as the band sought to remain productive when gigs dried up from the pandemic. In 2023 it still seems a little tough to know for certain what tomorrow will bring: Chaos, total standstill, or both at once. For Checkerboard Floors, no matter what, the music keeps on moving.