You build the history of your heart from a million pieces, starting with an idea of what a million pieces look like when they’re not a heart. This is how a Maytags song works, as well: a saxophone glissando passed out on a pile of unsent letters, a ride cymbal swinging around the block in 6/8, a ghost note chain-smoking away from the bass.
Separately, they’re nothing but broken vignettes of soul and funk and jazz gone neither right nor wrong. Together, the way we hear them, they’re the possibility of love. Is anything better?
Sure, fine, we can all admit that The Maytags could survive on “sheer vibrancy—there’s just warmth lining every note.” (VICE) Somehow, there’s more than that—with “that” simply (simply!) meaning instrumentation that binds to a vital, reverend-styled plea for life that’s not too unlike a cigarette getting tossed into a 3:00 AM cup of coffee. You know, right before all the good things happen.
The skill of the band, no matter if you’re talking about their instrumental fluency or modern take on classic soul, can be traced back to a dozen good ears and the will to train them. They operate out of Des Moines, but the individual pieces of The Maytags have roots in New York and St. Louis. It sounds like it, too: the manic bustle of the big city thrums in bandleader Dustin Smith’s croon, but the sentiments are as isolated and picturesque as a Midwest expanse.
The band’s 2016 album Love Lines was tracked to 2” tape in less than 30 hours at Nashville’s the Bomb Shelter with Andrija Tokic, who has also recorded Benjamin Booker and Alabama Shakes. Their inspiration is clear—stacks and stacks of Stax, a couple Daptone nightcaps—but their end result is more the future than the history of soul.
Newest single “Come Around” is another on-brand step towards that future. Far-away background vocals make a landing pad for the horns to crash on when they’re not busy soaring, and the whole thing gets wrapped up in the simple idea of wishing someone would come around a little bit more.
If you’re smart, you’ll hear it in your town. If you’re lucky, you’ll build your own million piece heart and hear it in there.
The Maytags are: Dustin Smith, Frank Merchlewitz, Andy Poppen, Tim Sanders, Aaron Ehrlich, Sam Mogerman, Daniel Kreipke, Nick Vasquez, Seth Hedquist.