I'm not sure why Monica Birkeness decided to name her electronic pop project Mr. Little Jeans. Does she shop for pants in the young man's department? (If so, I'm sure they'd look very good on her.) Or is she a fan of Captain Kangaroo's handyman pal, Mr. Green Jeans? That seems unlikely due to her age and provenance—she hails from the seaside town of Grimstad, Norway—but who's to say? (Well, actually, Guardian writer Paul Lester reveals that Birkeness "took her recording alias from a character in Wes Anderson's film Rushmore.)
In any case, after a spell in London, she's now based in L.A. (boo) and has just issued her first single, "Runaway." I particularly like the gauzy '80s look of the Zach Shields-directed video, which fits the breathy vocals, catchy chorus, and drum-machine beats. There are references to slasher pics (running from strangers, drowning) and science fiction (turning to ice, shattering), but the rhythm is so relentless that it's hard to get too scared or bummed out, even if the lyrics don't completely resolve the dilemma. Plus, everything seems to work out in the end.
Below: "Runaway" and a chilled-out cover of Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs."
Check out the Wavves remix of "Runaway" here. In trying to turn her into a one-woman Sleigh Bells, Nathan Williams seems to have missed the point of the original (Birkeness previously covered Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" on a 2010 EP).
Sony releases "Runaway" on April 10 and Birkeness's self-titled debut in August.