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Thursday December 18th 2014

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A Sugarless Toothache Stakes its Claim at Sluggo’s

By Hana Frenette

When Alexandria Hall, aka Toothache, and I were able to catch up on the phone, she was taking a hike somewhere in Delaware.

Hall is currently on a tour of the U.S. with friend and musician Michael Collins.

“The whole thing spans over a month and three weeks, and we have a show every night.” Hall said. “It’s kind of a figure-eight.”

After skirting along the East Coast and making her way across the vast middle of America, Hall plans to meet up with the L.A.-based band Sissy Spacek and continue the last half of the tour loop until they make it back to her hometown of Burlington, Vermont.

“We got to hang out in Boston for a bit with some friends, and in New York,” Hall said, speaking of the first few nights of the tour. “Once we get away from the Northeast though, there will be less hanging out with lots of friends and more trying of new things.”

The music that Hall is making has been described quite a few different ways. Some people say “sweet dance pop,” but it might just be the name seeping into their brain, making them think sweet things. “Downer pop” has been referenced a few times online, and as much as an oxymoron as that is, it seems to fit at times.

Toothache lends itself more to synthesized sounds and beats, with less techno than one might think when imagining pop.

“You can dance to it, but it’s like a slow dance,” Hall said.

This might be the time to bring back the middle school hand-on-hip/shoulder slow dance.

Although making music is nothing new for Hall, the dance factor is.

“When I was younger I did singer/songwriter type stuff,” Hall said. “I had a punk band and a jazz band, too.”

Hall also grew up playing the piano. Pretty much every area of the music realm was covered at a fairly young age. Until the electronic slow jams started happening.

“I just always really liked playing the synthesizer,” Hall said.

One thing led to another, and next thing you know, she’s touring the country with no band, no songwriter stigma. Just a good old-fashioned synthesizer and some friends who are along for the ride.

Toothache’s full-length album “Flash and Yearn” was released in late October of this year, and will be available at the show for purchase, as well as online via Bandcamp or iTunes. Singles and an accompanying video are also available.

For now, Hall is just enjoying the ride and the chance to do things in each town visited along the way.

“Like right now, we’re actually able to go on a hike and relax,” Hall said. “But once we get to Texas, we’ll have too far to drive each day to really do anything during the day.”

Hall and Collins will be joined at Sluggo’s by Pensacola bands Youth and Horse Hair Belt.  Youth will provide dark-dance pop, and Horse Hair Belt will bring psychedelic duo noise. A buffet of sound will most certainly be offered up.

As we end our call, I can hear the tell-tale signs of a walk in the woods. Bird calls, crunching leaves, and occasional chit-chat back and forth between friends, which is quite a contrast to what we’ll be hearing from Hall next: a synthesizer accompanied by beats and the occasional dark, echoing lyric.

TOOTHACHE
WHAT: Toothache with Michael Collins, Youth, Horse Hair Belt
WHEN: 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12
COST $5
DETAILS: sadacid.com