Premiere: Avid Dancer, ‘Landslide’ (feat. POP ETC)

Avid Dancer (Photo by Cara Robbins)

Despite what the name suggests, most of Avid Dancer’s songs would probably bomb in a dance club. Over two albums and a handful of singles, singer-songwriter Jacob Dillan Summers’ milieu has been shimmery love songs and open-hearted confessionals. But Avid Dancer sounds better than Avid Balladeer, so here he is, making bedroom pop to die for.

But the earth moves — and bodies with it — on Avid Dancer new single “Landslide.” The song chugs into the bright lights on a simple guitar riff, electronic beats and some background “woo-hoos,” dropping its groove to slip into an infectious chorus. It bops like Avid Dancer has not bopped before, and even Summers himself seems surprised by the final product. “This song, like many of my other ‘poppier’ songs, kind of took a couple weeks to really settle with me,” he says, explaining that the obvious sonic shift made him question “the labels I put on myself. Questions like, who is Avid Dancer? What is Avid Dancer ‘supposed’ to sound like? Will listeners accept this? Does anyone even care? It’s an internal struggle of identity that I usually have to sort through whenever I choose to release my music.”

Summers did not go this one alone. The song is a collaboration with Chris Chu of POP ETC, whose music has cut a wider swath through various strains of indie-pop. Summers and Chu met early this year when Summers was on tour drumming for Parker Bossley, whose new music Chu was producing.

“We ended up hitting it off really well,” Summers says. “We had a really similar language in the studio as well. … I asked Chris if he’d be interested in writing with me for Avid Dancer, and he was like, let’s make it happen. When I got to Chris’s house a couple months later we immediately settled into a guitar groove and started writing over that progression. The song’s content came from a conversation Chris and I were having about growing up, having kids and trying everything you can to raise yourself to a certain level, but a lot of times falling short, and sometimes hopelessly failing altogether. Finding yourself back where you started, in the middle of the road, which is a dangerous place to be.

“This recording of the song is [from] the original writing session and produced in about five hours on a calm afternoon at Chris’s home in Highland Park. When we got to the chorus we really wanted to have those vocals stand out, so Chris and I sang together on about 10 tracks to give it a feeling of there being more than one person telling this story. Also, Chris arguably has a much better ‘yelling’ voice than I do.”

||| Stream: “Landslide”

||| Previously: “Feels,” “Sharaya”