Porches Can’t Wait to Shower You with Synthpop and Sweetness

Aaron Maine’s band Porches is coming back to Phoenix for their first visit since COVID-19 became a household word.

The band goes underground, literally, to take the stage at downtown’s subterranean club Valley Bar to serve up a set of the synth-based indie pop Maine has been creating since 2010. Luckily for audiences, that roster of songs includes tracks from the band’s latest release, All Day Gentle Hold !

The lush record runs less than half an hour, and even in the minimal amount of time it takes to run its course, the band’s fifth offering has a sense of undeniable completion, an assurance that nothing was left on the table.

This Porches-on-steroids offering is orchestral and rich, stays totally in the now while conjuring up luxuriant moments that nod to bands that gave the ‘80s a unique shape, like The Cure and The Jesus and Mary Chain. We talked to Maine about how the record unfolded and being back on tour.

“One of the main things about this record was sort of fantasizing about what it would be like to create a group of songs that would be the most celebratory, energized material to play with a band in a room full of people,” Maine says.

The pandemic was the fire that lit Maine’s torch. “I made it during the lockdown portion of this pandemic. Like everyone, I wasn’t sure what was going on and if we’d ever play live music again. It gave me a chance to check in with myself about how and why I was making music.”

It wasn’t that Maine was contemplating not doing it anymore, but that COVID’s downtime let him ask himself some questions.

“I had the quiet time and space, so I got to observe what worked for me regarding making music and what didn’t. I didn’t have the usual things on my mind, like touring and the record label — I didn’t have anything to worry about. So, I feel like I built a much stronger, more pointed, almost spiritual relationship with music, not having all the noise surrounding a music career.”

You can feel the rejuvenation as it threads the record from beginning to end. Maine sees it as an expression built on an entire career thus far.

“This recording to me feels like a culmination of all my experiments — production-wise, lyrically, and vocally — since I was 17 years old and writing songs. It feels like I’ve finally figured out how to weave together all these different styles and production techniques that I use. It’s a marriage of it all.”

The latest release’s title — All Day Gentle Hold ! — inspires curiosity about its meaning or if it has one. Maine fills us in. “It’s sort of in the same vein as the lyrics on the record when a phrase makes sense, but it’s a little clunky at the same time. It’s a phrase you could take a handful of things away from — there’s room for interpretation.”

He continues, giving that title an even softer edge while letting listeners find what it means to them.

“There’s something in those words about physical contact and care and warmth. It’s a bit naïve and about wanting to be gently held all day. It’s special to me — wholesome and over the top at the same time. It just seems to fit.”

Currently on the road, Maine says being back on tour is incredible.

“It’s the first time in years that the audience has been very much more excited about the new songs than just waiting for us to play the older ones. It’s honestly the best outcome I could have ever hoped for.”

Making the record with live audiences in mind paid off. “This is the most charged-up set we have ever played,” Maine says. “We feel so lucky to be out here playing our songs.”

Porches. With Liam Benzvi. 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 6. Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $18.

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