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By John Norris @jonnynono
We thought it only right that when we caught up with Tennis at this year's South By Southwest, we do so next to a navigable waterway. Apart from offering us a brief respite from the lunacy of Sixth Street, the terrace of Austin's Hyatt Regency also looks out over Austin's Colorado River, which, when you're talking to Tennis, just has to conjure memories of that trip. To be honest, Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore's fabled Atlantic Coast boat excursion that so inspired and informed the band's debut Cape Dory proved to be both blessing and curse: on the one hand it provided an easy narrative that prompted press and opened doors for a charming record; on the other, Tennis became in some minds little more than the band with the seafaring backstory.
So as they tell us in this week's Face Time, part of the goal with album number two, Young & Old, would be a reset on people's perceptions. Helping them to do that was The Black Keys' Patrick Carney, who produced the new record, and helped Tennis be less restrictive about their songs, in Alaina's words, to "do what the song called for". One of those songs, "Origins" inspired a surprisingly dark ski-slopes-and-guns video, which you'll here, and you'll hear Riley's idea behind it. Also on tap: how the late Trish Keenan of Broadcast inspired Moore to write the lovely album closer "Never to Part", how Tennis have expanded from a duo to a trio, with the addition of drummer James Barone, and whether or not a full-time fourth member may be in their future.
A band that's hit the restart button, and in Riley's words, turned out a second album that feels like their first. This week on Face Time, it's music and conversation with Tennis.