While the NBA Finals may have wrapped up 10 days ago, Echo Pearl Varsity aren't quite ready to give up on Kyrie and Chris Paul. The jazzy rock quartet are still dreaming of Popovich's fingers covered in rings and big men in the paint and have, therefore, released an appropriate tribute to basketball.
"'My Favorite Teams' is our favorite track on our new EP because it combines the old with the new," saxophonist Levi Downey says. "We voted as a band on songs to cover, and while top choices included modern tracks by The Weeknd and Flying Lotus, we also added the jazz standard 'My Favorite Things' to the list as we're all fans of the iconic version by John Coltrane. But, as with most things we do, we like to make it a little weird, so we decided to change up the song form and add our own lyrics. One night in rehearsal, Nolan Henderson (bass) started improvising lyrics over the melody and rhyming obscure NBA references. The idea stuck, and after some polishing, that's how we arrived at the song's current form."
The NBA ode is part of Simulated, a three-song EP of covers. The band decided to balance their 2016 full-length of original music, Fires, "with a simulated collection of three main sources of inspiration," Downey explains, including "current 'art music' with [Flying Lotus'] 'MmmHmm' [where Henderson plays the role of Thundercat on bass], video game music from our youth with "Chrono Trigger" [composed by Yasunori Mitsuda], and jazz standards of the past with 'My Favorite Things' [by Richard Rodgers]. We draw from each of those three channels as we create our original work and wanted to share a simulated take on three tracks that represent our influences and direction. Each cover has a little EPV personality added for pizzazz."
It was all recorded at SE Portland's The Map Room with assistance from engineer Josh Powell.