Chicago indie-pop outfit Varsity are celebrating getting signed to Boston indie label Run for Cover with the release of two new singles, “The Dogs Only Listen to Him” and “UFO.”
Varsity have been making byways into the retro-pop dream since their debut album in 2015. Lead singer Stephanie Smith sounds almost Stevie Nicks-esque on “UFO,” while “Dogs Only Listen” feels closer to later-era power-pop. The songs are pastel-toned and hazy in all the right ways, like a postcard you’d find in the vintage store bin.
The lyrics are similarly well-rendered. The songs were inspired by overheard conversations, according to Smith:
Both of these songs were inspired by overheard conversations. A middle-aged woman on her cell phone was lamenting to a friend about how she wanted to leave her husband, but the only problem was that the dogs only listened to him. I started wondering about how their relationship might’ve started and what kind of guy the husband might’ve been when they were just starting to date. Not too long after that a young couple sitting next to me at a coffee shop was talking loudly and openly about their hopes and dreams for the future and moving in together despite people telling them it was a bad idea. With the demise the cell phone woman’s marriage on my mind, I started to imagine how that young love might eventually fall apart. “The Dogs” is about the beginning, and “UFO” is about the end.
It feels like the sort of thing you’d find scribbled on those old postcards, snippets of transmissions from different people and different times.
Varsity will be releasing their full-length Run for Cover debut in 2019, following their previous album Parallel Person, released earlier this year.
Listen to “The Dogs Only Listen to Him” and “UFO” below, along with the band’s 2014 Daytrotter Session further down.