The bluesy local rock duo Scarlet Presence is releasing a new album, Sing the Body Electric, with a record release party at Jub Jub's Thirst Parlor, 71 S. Wells Ave., on Saturday, May 3 at 9 p.m. But the record release show will also be the band's farewell show. Michelle Belle is Scarlet Presence's singer and guitarist. For more information, visit scarletpresence.com.
Tell me about the new album.
It’s pretty crazy. It’s pretty different. It doesn’t sound like us at all. There’s only two of us so we played every instrument. It’s really collaborative between the both of us. And there are a lot of different song. There’s rock ’n’ roll. There’s country. There’s soft songs. There’s ’60s. It’s a mash-up of a bunch of different genres.
I hear a lot of blues in there too.
Yeah, there’s some blues, as always.
I like the organ parts and things like that.
Oh yeah. And there’s slide whistles and crazy ridiculous instruments.
It still has at its core a vocals-guitar-drums thing, which I think is neat. There are these extra touches, but it still sounds like a stripped-down guitar and drums thing.
Nice! We didn’t really want to do the White Stripes thing and just have those three instruments. When people hear the album and then they hear it’s only two people, maybe they’ll be like, I wonder how they do it live? There’s keyboard and so many other instruments. I got to go check it out.
I hear a lot of ’70s rock influences, like Led Zeppelin.
Really? Cool. There were a lot of different influences on that. They’ve definitely always influenced me as far as guitar playing and Carter [Stellon] as far as drumming. But as far as songwriting, more like Beatles kind of influences I hear. But some of [our song] just sound different. They don’t sound like anything, which I think is cool. Every one of them sounds so different.
That kind of variety, where it goes from a country or mellow folk thing into something really heavy—that to me is kind of a Led Zeppelin aesthetic.
I can see that. We definitely made it as an album. You listen to it as an album.
The title, Sing the Body Electric, is from Walt Whitman or Ray Bradbury. Why’d you choose that title?
From both. I really like The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury. He's really cool. And I just happened to see that [title] somewhere when I was looking at his books and though, that kind of fits the album perfectly. And then there's a quote from the Walt Whitman poem that put inside the album.
Why is this going to be your last show?
Well, we need a change. When you say Scarlet Presence, a lot of people think the last six years of it, and we don’t really want the connotation anymore. We want a change. … We’ve had different members, and we’re so different now than we used to be. We thought it was time to put it to rest.
Tell me about the show.
It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re probably going to get up and play with The Kanes for a few songs. Post-War is going to play as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
I hope everybody really digs the album! I can’t wait to hear what people think of it.