2009 is 1977 all over again in pop music.
In the late 1970s, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and Carole King suddenly acquiesced to the Bee Gees, KC & the Sunshine Band and Abba. Now, the influence of indie-folk, best expressed this decade by Sufjan Stevens, the Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie, is increasingly overshadowed by synth-drenched electro-dance pop that's embracing the song structures of indie rock.
Passion Pit, Phoenix, the Limousines and the Brooklyn duo Matt and Kim are the artists at the core of this crusade. It's a déjà vu consistent with the way the '70s and the nameless '00s played out: Years of national discontent culminating in a presidential election marked by idealism.
Maybe that's more context than you wanted. After all, the music of 2009 is about thinking less and feeling good.
Matt and Kim are ready to serve that mission.
Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino met as students at the Pratt Institute in New York. They formed a band five years ago built on her drums, his synth and a not-so-serious approach to making lighthearted dance beats.
Matt and Kim, appearing at the Majestic Sept. 11, write song lyrics as if they were playing with a set of refrigerator poetry magnets. Kim writes random sentences. Matt meanders through them, cutting and splicing his way into a narrative he and Kim find amusing, if not meaningful.
"We cut the legs off of our pants," sings Matt in the opening verse of the lilting piano pop hit "Daylight."
Matt and Kim's press releases brim with "fun facts." We learn that Matt's big toe is almost twice the size of his other toes. Kim doesn't like to have her belly button touched.
The duo released their new album, Grand, on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated. It's a set of songs defined by melodies that are simple, even child-like.
This year, the music world is heeding Matt and Kim's easygoing command, found in the chorus of their biggest hit single to date: "Sit back and wave through the daylight."