Marian Hill
It is very rare that a particular song sticks in my brain.

Normally when listening to music, I forget what I listened to almost immediately. Even if it is a great song. I listen, file, and move on. If I were to hear the same song a day or two later chances are I would know I’d heard it, but not be able to identify the artist or song title in a million years.

Not so with Marian Hill. I vividly remember hearing “Got It” for the first time on KCRW. I was in my car and think I may have actually said, “Ooh!” out loud, to no one. The same reaction as when I first encountered the intro to “Settle Down” by Kimbra.

But back to “Got It”. There must be some actual musical reason why such simple, percussive instrumentation shakes me to my core. The beats alone feel gutsy and sensual; layered with purring, confident vocals the song might as well be a spell. What really won me over though, was the saxophone breakdown. Emerging quietly out of the beat at 1:13, the band expertly deployed repetition to build to a brassy bravado.

Once I started researching the origin of this glorious sound, I fell even deeper in love.

As it turns out, “Marian Hill” is a duo, and neither is named “Marian.” Hailing from Philadelphia, vocalist Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd met while performing in the Music Man in 8th Grade. He was Harold Hill, and she was (who else?) Marian Paroo.

Lloyd went on to study music theater (my own major) at Yale University, and Gongol music business at NYU. Be still my showtune-loving heart.

The band’s most current 7” is now available digitally on iTunes, featuring “Got It” and “Lips” (check out both below).

File Under: Kimbra, Banks, Wild Belle, R&B, electronic, pop, soulful, attitude