Part Time: Artist You Should Know

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A couple of weeks ago, a bunch of KCRW DJs submitted a list of Summer Jams to NPR for their Summer Beats Mix…and I was convinced I’d submitted my top 5, hands down, no problem. Got that “Summer Jam situation” sorted out, no worries. I could now rest easy.

But as fate would have it, the following day, I received a care package from Mexican Summer with an inscrutable slab of vinyl whose jacket is a low-lit picture of the side of a dude primping his Julian Casablancas’ hair in a leather jacket and weird gloopy letters with a terrible space pattern in them. Like a million thrift store bargain bin records from 1982, this funny looking record is practically begging to be ignored. Slipped inside the jacket is a glossy copy of a piece of notebook paper with a scribble of liner notes, credits, thank yous, but little else. I found myself thinking, this is one obstinate freaking record.

Then I laid it on the turntable, turned it on, and as the familiar hiss and crackle of the first grooves popped I was walking away to grab something to drink, and BAM! I was immediately stopped dead in my tracks by the record opening with the question, “Are you alone?” followed by icy synth washes and chugging drum programming. Like that dude in that movie about Risky Business, I slid back into the room in my socks and tidy whiteys while Part Time’s ghostly, spacey, lo-fi, new romantic vibes filled the room.

Then…I heard what has basically supplanted all other Summer Jams as my ENDLESSLY ON REPEAT Daytime-Nighttime-Driving-Walking-Dancing-by-Myself-in-the-kitchen-SUMMER-JAM; “I Wanna Take You Out.” It is irresistibly catchy, and is about as perfect an homage to very early MTV hits as I’ve heard in the last couple of years. Given the fidelity of the sound, it could easily be dismissed as mere nostalgia, but the timelessness, simplicity, and romance of the chorus is too perfect to deny; “I wanna take you out…and spend all my money on you.”

Stream Part Time “I Wanna Take You Out”

I Wanna Take You Out by KCRW

And the rest of the album is pretty fantastic too. The spacey lo-fi weirdness doesn’t go away, it just becomes more mesmerizing. And although its haunted quality is reminiscent of Ariel Pink, it’s a lot less anxious and has a cool sensuality that feels more like a dude version of Nite Jewel and/or Glass Candy with a dash of 80s Bowie and Prince DNA. The Let’s Dance-era Bowie essence of the title-cut “What Would You Say?” is hand-crafted for late night underwear dancing in your living room with your baby.

Part Time (David Speck) is from the Bay Area so I hope to see him perform these cuts soon, either here or there. And wherever it is, I’ll be listening to “What Would You Say?” on my way there. On repeat. Day or night. With or without my baby. With or without…socks.

— Mario Cotto