Brooklyn-based indie-pop singer-songwriter, Aubrey Haddard, is back with a "shadowy and intoxicating (American Songwriter)" new single, "Portuguese Red," that arrives on all streaming platforms today, paired with a music video that adds extra flavor to the track's already full-bodied intensity. The song is "a brooding synth-pop ballad inspired by a real-life meet-cute that will make you miss pre-Covid nightlife even more than you (probably) already do," according to American Songwriter who debuted it.
Describing the single, Haddard tells American Songwriter in an interiview, “The song is about the night I met my partner in 2016,” Haddard tells American Songwriter in a statement. “We met at a venue in Williamsburg where our bands were sharing a bill... After the show we shared a few drinks at the bar surrounded by our friends before he tugged on my hand and led me outside, and we shared our first kiss in the middle of a crosswalk on Berry Street. Later in his Brooklyn apartment, I sat on the kitchen countertop and he pulled out a half-empty bottle of wine from the fridge that we never finished as we quickly fell in love. I asked ‘If I were a wine, what would I be?’ and he told me I’d be a Portuguese Red.”
That moment in the kitchen is crystalized in the song, as Haddard sings: "Way back when / I warned you not to let me in / But you didn't listen." American Songwriter says ""Portuguese Red” brims with that intensity, centering Haddard’s striking, self-assured vocals," and that energy shines brightly in the chorus in her lyrics: "Just like a Portuguese Red I went to your head / and got you dizzy, Haddard sings. Took some time but for now we’re fine / lying on your couch in New York / simpler times / they’re on my mind / undefined / refrigerator wine."
The video, set in Brooklyn, brings that nostalgia into pixel-from and was inspired by the memories that Haddard has been gripping to years later. She says, "The video frames me escaping my reality of boring parties and band rehearsals to being trapped in a fantasy under stage lights.” This fear of change is captured in an indiescape for her romantic memories like a past life flashing before her eyes in a daydream that everyone can see.
Fans of Sunflower Bean, Future Islands, Chairlift, Christine and the Queens will recognize this vulnerbility of strength and maximalist musical identity. American Songwriter points out that "Haddard grew up in the Hudson Valley but cut her teeth in Boston before moving to Brooklyn. The Berklee dropout has now worked with Ruddell and Strmic for a few years and considers them close collaborators. “Aubrey is a very emotional person,” Ruddell told WBUR in 2019. “She’s maybe, in some ways, hyper-emotional… And she reflects that in her art. She kind of floors me, when she’s playing, with how sensitive she is.”
This sensitivity and awe-inspiring emotive capabilities are the brige between “Portuguese Red” and her prior work: her two of 2020 singles -- “Thin Line” and “Sweeter the Honey -- and herdebut album, Blue Part, from 2018, which followed her 2016 EP, Adult Lullabies. What's next (fingers crossed) will be a live performance at Levitate Music Festival on July 9, 2021 to showcase the magic of being in the room with Aubrey Harrard and her band.
Glide Magazine says, "Live shows may be on hold for the time being, but between her guitar playing and vocal strength, Haddard is definitely an artist we will be catching as soon as we can." In the meantime, Atwood Magazine says Haddard's music is "blissful and bubbly indie rock track at its heart, perfect for a daytime dance party over Zoom with your friends." Stay tuned for more Aubrey Haddard.