I once read a piece of music journalism which analogized the music of SALES to a Beach House record mistakenly played at 45 rpm. It makes sense — both groups craft superbly minimal pop songs utilizing programmed percussion and romantic guitar riffs suitable for daydreaming in bedrooms everywhere. However, SALES remains the more sonically extroverted of the two. In addition to catchy, uptempo guitar riffs, the project employs electronic sensibilities — chopped vocals, crisp, stuttery beats, Ableton production – gleaned from member Jordan Shih’s time producing electronic music under the moniker JSHIH. There’s even a remix by electronic artist and fellow Orlandian xxyyxx on the 6-track SALES EP (2014).
Since their self-released debut, SALES LP (2016), last year (on 4/20), the band has been touring, appeared on Audiotree Live, and recently released the single “Talk a Lot.” Originally comprised of Lauren Morgan (vocals, guitar), Jordan Shih, (guitar) and a Roland SP-404SX Linear Wave Sampler for beats, SALES has since expanded to include a drummer. The longtime friends from Orlando, Florida have collaborated musically for several years and their playful chemistry shines through their work. On the closing track of their LP “Best Times,” the duo gives shoutouts to their Moms. Morgan expresses her hope to look as beautiful as her Mom one day. Shih proclaims monotonously, “We are not SALES.”
For lack of a less capitalistic term, SALES is a brand, steeped in a DIY ethos reflected by their ability to remain independent, no easy feat for a full-time touring band. The cohesiveness of the SALES experience is typified by the colorful collage album art on all their releases (and on the sweet T-shirt I picked up from the merch table) designed by artist Alana Questall, who contributes as part of the SALES team.
On Wednesday, September 20, SALES stopped by the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Local “professional opening band” SOAR took the stage first. The fourpiece started the night with waves of feedback and garage-style harmonies.
By the time SALES began, the floor had their Snapchats open and ready to go. What followed was a packed set including some of my personal favorites, “Pope Is a Rockstar,” “Renee,” and “Trapped in a Club.” Before breakout single “Getting It On,” Lauren Morgan dedicated the song to “the one that got away.” They also played their new single “Talk a Lot” to a receptive crowd.
SALES closed the night with a song they claim to only play live called “#1 Hit.” Morgan cautioned the song could go on as long as the crowd saw fit. The crowd saw fit multiple iterations of a slacker rock n’ roll take on a signature SALES hook. It was certainly an appropriate end to a night filled with rockstars and hits.
Article and photos by Ally Mason