The minute WXPN played a Commonwealth Choir song on its airwaves, songwriter Davis Jameson Howley received about eight texts within the same number of seconds: “Dude ur bands on XPN!!!”
“I know that isn’t that a big a deal to a lot of musicians around here, but I’m gonna be honest, man, I teared up little bit when that happened,” says Howley.
The song in question, “Rest” — a perfect upbeat, strumtastic melody for the summer — is now in heavy rotation at XPN. That’s a pretty solid score for any local act, but for Commonwealth Choir it feels downright bizarre.
You see, “Rest” is the only song they’ve ever released. The full EP, “Shirtless,” is due for release before the summer is out.
Howley’s demeanor is not what you would expect from an indie frontman, local or otherwise. Just two years removed from his college graduation, he co-owns his own video production company and uses words like “entrepreneurial” without hesitation.
Influenced primarily by his mother’s record collection — Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello and other ’70s melody makers — he has a knack for creating memorable hooks. And the other four members couldn’t be more precise in their execution, lending a subtle touch to this layered, intricate indie pop.
“My favorite thing about music is when it takes a weight off your shoulders. I always think of that episode of ‘Seinfeld’ when Elaine’s boyfriend can’t stop listening to ‘Desperado.’ So I want to create songs like that — ones you need to listen to again and again,” says Howley. “But I think they also have to have a dark element to them to make that happen. They need to be haunted in some way.”
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