Sounds like: The disco love child of R. Kelly and Flight of the Conchords.
For fans of: Chromeo, Prince, Beck.
Why you care: Phone Call is the latest avatar of longtime collaborators Bailey Winters and Johnny Zeigler. Making music together since their days at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, where they bonded over a shared love of Blondie and Elvis Costello, their projects have taken on many forms. First, there was a “Weezer rip-off” indie-rock project. Then came nu-disco darlings Strength, which gained a cult following in Portland before guitarist Patrick Morris left to join STRFKR full-time. Winters and Zeigler re-emerged as Phone Call in 2012, bumping and grinding to a more modern beat. “Phone Call is not as dancey or as manic as Strength,” says Winters, citing West Coast hip-hop as a major influence. “It’s less rock ’n’ roll because it doesn’t have that guitar element. We’re definitely moving in a more R&B direction.” While there’s a tongue-in-cheek, white-boy swagger to the group’s sound—Winters rapping over the bass-heavy beats of “Highway Robbery” hark back to Andy Samberg boasting about boat travel—the playfulness in the group’s catchy blend of synths and soul only makes it more seductive. “The ultimate goal is to make a record, which is what we’re working on currently,” Winters says. “Everything else is just icing on the cake.”
SEE IT: Phone Call plays Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., with Magic Fades, Rap Class and DJ Portia, on Wednesday, April 16. 8:30 pm. $5. 21+.