Avid Dancer’s Jacob Summers was raised in a strict religious household, without access to secular music or even the Internet. His favorite childhood artists were Christian rock acts as anonymous to non-religious listeners as they are popular amongst music fans of faith; names such as DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline, and Sixpence None the Richer. Surprisingly, or perhaps in spite of his early adoration, Summers wound up channeling none of these artists as influences when he began writing his own music. Instead, Avid Dancer is a project of cheery, sun-dripped goodness that approaches its earworms with a styled ease, one that you can catch tonight at The Independent for a sold-out show with Michigan singer-songwriter BØRNS.

When Summers started exploring outside of the confines of Christian circles, he gravitated towards artists like the Beatles, with their simplistic songs about singular subjects. With a new world opened up before him by his branching out came a bit of catching up. Summers once tried auditioning for Elliot Smith’s band before realizing he was performing for Elliot Hilton instead.

On record, however, Summers exhibits nothing short of the aura of a seasoned pro. His debut album, the inviting 1st Bath, came out this April and is a splash of warm and welcoming psych-pop. Having recorded the album without any ambitious goals for what it would try to say, Summers succeeded instead in presenting a sparkling new songwriting voice to contemporary music. First track “All the Other Girls” features frolicking lead guitar and sunbathed saxophone solos, meanwhile closer “Up Against the Wall” bleeds a continuous ooze of distortion broken through by spotless vocal croons.

Summer’s favorite song from the record to perform live is I “Want To See You Dance,” a muscular tune from 1st Bath that overflows with self-assurance. He considers the hardest part about playing his songs in concert to be “getting comfortable singing them in front of people with authority,” a comment on the nature of sharing songs he has written for himself in front of people who determine their perceived value. But Summers has little to worry about — it’s difficult to imagine anyone finding anything but immediate gratification from the soul and skill of Avid Dancer.

BØRNS, Avid Dancer
The Independent
Sunday, November 22nd
$15 (21+)