Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Chances are you might not recognize Mayer Hawthorne but you probably already know his music. His song "Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’" was featured on an episode of Ugly Betty, and Kanye even used a Hawthorne track in his short film We Were Once a Fairytale. His soulful throwback sound, reminiscent of Motown’s hit makers, has made him a cross-genre favorite and he’s played with everyone from Chromeo to Booker T. Jones.  And he’s about to sing Seattleites right out of their skinny jeans, appearing at the Neptune on Wednesday October 24 with his band The County. This is baby making music for hipsters.

His last album, How Do You Do featured the single "The Walk" and showcased what Hawthorne does so damn well: tongue-in-cheek humor wrapped in a Smokey Robinson-style melody.  And the video ain’t bad either — a Mr. and Mrs. Smith ass kicking, assassins-getting-even montage. His ladykiller persona is helped along on the seductive "No Strings", a guaranteed panty dropper for even the Ira Glass faithful.

Hawthorne has listed Curtis Mayfield, Barry White, and Isaac Hayes amongst his influences and all of these are in evidence on his first record, A Strange Arrangement. The single “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out/When I Said Goodbye" is sweetly sentimental, but with just a tinge of world-weary heartache. His quiver is bursting with breakup songs for the modern dater including "Maybe So, Maybe No" and "When I Said Goodbye". Heartache has never looked better!

Looking like a jumble of early rock nostalgia (circa Buddy Holly mixed with Rivers Cuomo), his stage presence is infused with a heavy dose of Don Draper swagger. Known for throwing in crowd-pleasing covers during the set, Hawthorne often reveals his silly side — but you find yourself buying all in, because his blankety-warm tenor makes it all so believable.  For real! Dude makes Rico Sauve sound like an Al Green classic. It’s a safe bet he’ll throw in a Hall and Oates hit (I’m pulling for "Did it in a Minute") because like the rest of us — don’t pretend you aren’t down, kids — he seems to love the hell out of the "Maneater" crooner, even appearing on Hall’s “Live From Daryl’s House” webcast.

Will this show put a smile on your face? Yes. Are you likely to get lucky afterwards? Probably. And that’s the best recommendation there is.

{$18 adv, $20 dos/ 21 + / 7p doors, 8p show. Harlan opens}