Week in Pop: Daddy, Mike Sempert, VA Violet

Sjimon Gompers

The incredible, expansive & introspective bedroom pop world of VA Violet; photographed by Oksun Kitagawa.

Street Joy

Going for a joyride with Street Joy; photographed by Amanda Rose.

Playing tonight, October 27, at San Francisco’s Bottom Of The Hill; we present a listen to Street Joy’s take on Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” that discovers a new electric life from the iconic 80s arena rock standard. Bay Area by Oregon by way of LA’s Scott Zimmerman & Jason Demayo who ratify their retro affinities that turns nostalgia inside with a new relentless energy. With a sound slated for a cover spot on all of your favorite lifestyle mags & big festival circuit spots; Street Joy follow up their self-titled for a new take on boisterous pop centered around school-dazed crushes.

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Beginning with buzzing & bopping electro basslines; Street Joy arrange an electro suite centered around the coming of age clichés that arrive with teenage lust. The iconic super-LA-style Eddie Van Halen guitars are traded for a hodge-podge of nearly any & ever electronic instrument & device that is at the duo’s disposal. The daydream fantasy tale of “Hot For Teacher” is transformed into a cornucopia of fluttering & fleeting synths that bleep to the rapid beats that flash with a ferocity with every reiteration/alliteration of I got it bad, I got it bad…. Street Joy abide by their own rules of pop arrangements & engagements while at the same time raising a glass to the decidedly Los Angeles-style of pointed pop fashions.

Jason Demayo from Street Joy penned a quick essay about the their cover of “Hot For Teacher”:

There was a time in our boyhood when bands like Van Halen and Def Leppard permeated the contemporary alternative rock sphere—a comeback one might call it. By today’s standards, this music and attitude could easily be considered tacky, especially to a judgmental preteen boy who thought he was too cool for school (and just about everything else). But when these bands came on our favorite classic rock radio station, we wouldn’t turn the dial—we would turn it up.

It’s easy to fall in love with those bands as a kid because along with all their badass hard rock qualities, the songs are also fun and naive—almost silly at times (i.e. the schoolboy chatter in the beginning of “Hot For Teacher”). And as a preteen, the sex factor definitely didn’t turn us away. This perfect balance of fun, badassery and sex kept our attention.

We’ve never stopped craving that flair of playfulness, having strived to inject our music with that sense of Are they serious? But it wasn’t until recently that we decided to throw that sex appeal into the mix. As our music has become more groove/dance oriented, the sex factor has naturally come with it. A good beat makes you want to groove, and a good grooving makes you want to…well, you know. So when a friend recently asked us to play his girlfriend’s surprise birthday party, we knew it was a perfect opportunity to prepare a dance version of her favorite VH song.

The process of preparing the track made us realize that it might just be that sex appeal that has kept songs like this relevant. If these songs weren’t so uniquely sexy, they’d just be plain old hard rock songs. Prowess and writing skills are massively important, but the attitude is the prevailing trait here.

The song was a hit that night, and the couple got engaged right then and there (we don’t wanna say it was because of the cover, but the sex appeal probably didn’t hurt…). Playing the cover made us feel great, and creating it helped shape our current headspace, so the song stuck.

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