My friend at The Best Indie Songs sent me a link to this song, suspecting it would be right up my alley. He was right. The video manages to capture both the look and feeling of the late 1970s tension between pub rock and new wave. And the swing! The song launches out of the gate with a hip-swaying, head bopping set of hooks reminiscent of many of the album cuts from Elvis Costello’s debut, My Aim is True. The guitars are pure late 1970s, sounding just a bit country rock but inching toward the punk side. Vocally, the single sounds like Dylan’s lost new wave album.
“When I Learned Your Name” is the second teaser single from Romano’s soon-to-be released new album, Modern Pressure, and it represents a serious change-up from his previous solo releases – sort of. 2016’s Mosey certainly laid the groundwork for this new direction, steering away from country to a more decidedly poprock sound with tracks like “Valerie Leon” and “Maybe Remember Me.” But taking his musical output as a whole, Romano is a musical chameleon, channeling 1960s traditional country on most of his solo records while covering edgier material on a number of side projects. In terms of his broader artistic vision, he reminds me of the super talented Gregory Pepper, who also combines great songwriting and performance, witty but incisive social commentary, and pretty stunning visual arts chops.