Record of the Month: True Blue's "Edge Of" EP - live at Elsewhere on 08.15

Everything about True Blue requires a double-take. A cursory listen of the debut EP from Porches’ bassist turned solo artist reveals a palette that often overlaps with Aaron Maine’s patented brand of throwback electro-pop. It’s on second glance where Maya Laner’s version of pop morphs into uncanny, yet compelling ballads that dig into the flesh of listeners. Using imagery that invokes the more rustic parts of the United States, Edge Of detail filthy characters and depressing scenarios. “Rocky Bottom” is a quaint tune that gallops at a steady pace, but Laner’s chipmunk vocals give this somewhat kitsch song an unsettling sense of reality that is wonderfully uncomfortable. The rest of the EP could also double as muzak from educational videos from the '90s, but it’s the warping of this very distinct vibe into something simultaneously blissful and unnerving that makes Edge Of a release that rewards multiple listens. The artwork perfectly sums up the music of True Blue: a somewhat simplistic pose that reveals something disturbing about its immeasurable size and discomforting beauty. Laner will be performing at Elsewhere on August 15, and you can stream her EP below. -Tucker Pennington