Aqueduct
w/the Catch, Dolour
Thurs Jan 27, Crocodile Cafe,
9 pm, $7.

Certain moments in one's youth become entangled in song--and for some, sensitive song. Back in the day, Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" inevitably sent at least one raccoon-eyed eighth-grader running from a dance floor in tears, Alphaville's "Forever Young" became the backdrop for more than a few bittersweet graduation ceremonies, and "Nothing Compares 2 U" risked wreckage in cassette players of the unceremoniously young and dumped. Those were the days of Say Anything's Lloyd Dobler holding up a boom box declaring it's all "In Your Eyes" and My So-Called Life's Jordan Catalano freezing Claire Danes' pout into place against a Buffalo Tom background. It was an era where scripted angst became increasingly more poignant with a hit single gaining volume in its midst--all the better for the bands banking on royalties for assisting with those onscreen affairs.

These days, networks are practically spawned by selling sensitive indie soundtracks--what with Scrubs releasing a comp featuring Guided by Voices and the Shins performing on Gilmore Girls. One local songwriter, David Terry, is becoming well versed in the musician-friendly world of licensing material for the product-placement generation. "Hopefully my song will be in that cool milestone episode that everyone remembers. Like the big one on the DVD," he says, half-jokingly.

Terry, a recent Seattle-via-Oklahoma transplant and the mastermind behind one-man band Aqueduct, is talking about his premiere spot on The O.C. His track "Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights" aired on the Fox drama January 20. Speaking before its big debut, Terry said, "I think they're gearing up for this big lesbian episode. They're supposed to use [the song] three times in one show." But with songs by his old pop-punk group Epperley finding placement on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the American Pie 2 trailer, Terry's becoming an old pro at hitting the teen-dramedy-fixated demographic. "I just found out today that The Real World wants to license some stuff," he adds. "That's pretty cool."

It wasn't necessarily Terry's boyhood dream to boost viewership of the nation's premiere (un)reality programming through song. A musician since early adolescence, he simply creates records that the young, tuned-in demographic can relate to. Terry's music crests with ebullient pop tunes that are simple in structure, unabashedly focused on girl-boy drama, and wry in lyrical delivery. The kind of material that'll buoy your spirits with catchy melodies but anchor your introspective sensibilities with bits of black humor. On Aqueduct's new debut full-length, I Sold Gold (Barsuk), "Heart Design" places Terry's admissions of "I don't want you to think that/my heart is untrue" over skittering drum-machine beats and chiming video-game blips, like a more outwardly hopeful Postal Service. "Five Star Day" is equally confessional--"I don't believe in astrology but/you can read my horoscope/I like to hear your voice." But just when you fear Terry's reached too far into his LiveJournal, he hits back with "Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights," flippantly demanding, "Don't ever ask me where I'm from/In six states that's considered dumb."

"The more smart-alecky stuff is definitely part of my personality," says Terry, who played his last Seattle show in a mustache and wig. "But there's also some introspection coming on. It's [all] sugary pop even when it's dark subject matter, though." The sugar's stirred in thick with Terry's at times Brian Wilsonesque vocals, as the avowed Beach Boys fan pours his heart out with the Californian's sunny disposition and acute sense of swelling harmonies.

Gold, the follow-up to last year's Pistols at Dawn EP, includes USE's Jason Holstrom on guitar and drummer Andrew Rudd (who plays live with Terry, along with bassist Chris Barnes). "It's fun to record it all myself and have little spots here and there for friends," says Terry, who shuffles between vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass, and programming for electronic-heavy indie-rock results. He credits his multitasking abilities to an essential education in piano starting at age nine. "I was a bad piano student. I never wanted to practice, never wanted to read the music," he says, laughing. "I would go to a lesson and they'd just want you to play other people's stuff. Even at an early age, once I'd heard the music one time I'd already gotten it. Instead of reading the music I'd play it like I'd heard it."

jennifer@thestranger.com

Support The Stranger

Sponsored
Annual Seattle Erotic Art Festival and Halloween party returns to Seattle Center October 29 –31!
A weekend of art, performance, readings, & more! Festival ends at Seattle's sexiest Halloween party.