Oh man. I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time.
Criminally underrated teen pop duo Aly & AJ, who released a pair of excellent albums in the mid-noughties, have been teasing their comeback for what feels like ages (in all fairness, it has been a few years). Now, their return to pop takes official shape: Having since changed their name to 78Violet (just go with it), the girls are prepping ”Hothouse,” their debut single under that moniker, due out on iTunes July 8.
Casual listeners of sisters Michalka probably remember their music as being relatively insubstantial, part of the same teen pop crop as Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato‘s early material (which varied in quality) — but unlike their contemporaries, they penned all their own material, which showed surprising depth under that slick production polish courtesy of Rock Mafia. Sharply written and impeccably produced, their songs have aged impressively well, from the lurching oddness of “Potential Breakup Song” to lush, glittering ballads like “Flattery.”
With that in mind, here are a few reasons to be really, really excited about the return of Aly & AJ:
1. Their new single is produced by David Kahne.
Dude’s kind of a legend: He’s produced tracks for artists as legendary as Paul McCartney and Stevie Nicks all the way down to Kelly Clarkson and Lana Del Rey. Expect it to be top notch.
2. Over the last few years, they worked with an unexpected roster of well-respected rockers.
There was always a rock sensibility to Aly & AJ’s music, no matter how shiny the pop sheen was; after departing from Hollywood Records, they teamed up with people like Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson. (Have you heard the Heart song “Alone”? Wouldn’t you like Aly & AJ’s music to sound like that? I would.)
3. They’re doing it on their own.
They’ve self-produced the video for “Hothouse” and are releasing it through their own Violet House Productions. I don’t know what that is, but I trust them, especially since the visual campaign so far has been appealingly weird and kind of genius:
They also have their first shows in several years lined up — June 26 at the Roxy in Los Angeles and July 9 at the Gramercy in New York City. No big deal.
4. This song.
5. This song.
And that’s all you need to know about Aly & AJ, the true queens of pop.