If there's one singer I consistently hear other musicians rave about in this town, it's Autopilot's Adrienne Hatkin. Okay, I hear about how awesome the Builders and the Butchers are an awful lot, too—but they're a band, not a singer, OK? Oddly enough, though, Hatkin happens to be an ex- (and founding) member of the Builders, and said band's trumpeter/auxiliary percussionist Paul Seely just happens to be her Autopilot duo-mate.
And, just to be super-clear, the band's now called "Autopilot is for Lovers." Take it from Hatkin herself:
I don't really like [Autopilot is for Lovers], but I figured we should change it to something since we're finally going to have some releases on labels soon. 'Autopilot' seemed original when I first thought of it eight years ago. But now, with the magic of the Internet and Google, nothing seems original anymore.
True that, sister. But enough rambling. Let's talk about some music: Those "releases on labels" include 7-song EP Sore Eyes
, which is set to drop June 1 on Stereotype Records, and an upcoming full-length on Bladen County Records (which also claims guess what buzz band? Yup, the B&Bs). This cut is off the former, and—believe you me—I had a hard time deciding which track from Sore Eyes
to share with y'all.
In fact, I only settled on this creepy piano ballad after discovering that "Pessimist," another standout, is on the band's MySpace (hence, not a "leak"; you should totally check it out, though). The disc spans in-your-face rock and heavy-klezmer accordian stompers, ultimately wrapping up with this eerie, enchanting quasi-lullaby. Rather than channel Polly Jean, as Hatkin often does on Autopilot's more guitar-centric tunes, her fragile yet fierce voice is all its own on "No One Will Know." It's about as stripped down as AIFL's songs get, which is perhaps why her stark, pained vocals are so damn striking—amid staccato and occasionally muffled piano, Hatkin's chilling lyrics, delivered in her characteristic warble, take center stage—right where they belong.
Stereotype dude Dylan McConnell—who happened upon Autopilot awhile back at a Voodoo Donut show and recommended "No One Will Know"—says this of his first AIFL encounter:
There was this tiny woman with a huge accordion about 13 feet in the air with a drummer behind her playing this beautiful gloomy Baltic music to drunk folks sugar binging. [I] asked the cook the name of the band and staggered away into the night.
The rest is history—or, you know, an alternately beautiful and achingly harsh record.
Autopilot is for Lovers plays Friday, May 23, at AudioCinema's Independent Film Night, hosted by Los Moustachios.
Bladen County Records
Photo: by Jason Quigley.