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Jacob Dillan Summers has been many things. A sheltered fundamentalist Christian kid. A world champion drumline drummer. A marine. A lovesick transplant to icy Alaska. This is the story behind Avid Dancer - the nom de musique under which Summers is releasing Avid Dancer's debut EP I Want to See You Dance, out October 21st on Grand Jury. These songs are some of the most kaleidoscopic, distinctly individual - and above all, honest- pop music you'll hear all year.
During the songwriting process, Summers starts with rhythms he created on percussion. This process ultimately gives his material a righteous rhythmic heft across the board - from the highly danceable "All the Other Girls," which appears as a psyched-up drum circle on Dance, and the smoky torch-soul ballad "Stop Playing With My Heart."
Even when Avid Dancer's music does evoke artists, say - from the vintage electro-disco pulsating through the Hot Chip-esque "I Want To See You Dance," to the hushed Elliot Smith acoustics of "Medication (Demo)" - it's a happy coincidence. Raised in a strict Christian household, Summers was forbidden to listen to any secular music until his late teens; as a result, his musical discovery remains ongoing. "Growing up before the Internet, I was cut off," he notes. "I wasn't even allowed to watch MTV! I lived in an alternate reality." I remember sending some songs to a friend and he said, 'Dude, you remind me of The Kinks.' I thought they were maybe a new band, but when I listened to them I fell in love with their music. Another time, I got compared to Elliott Smith, and then I got really into him."