Mar 30, 2007

California Soundz

According to various reports California, if it were an independent nation, would be the fifth largest economy in the world. A state of infinite possibilities, it has always seemed to me to be lacking in musical highlights. Since those kings of slacker rock Pavement burst out of Stockton and gave their musical genius to the world, I have found myself looking to other US states for my musical experiences. Grandaddy shone briefly for a while but states like New York (obviously), Washington, Oregon and of course Texas have provided great artists that have delighted me and the musical world. Even Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois have provided highlights. I could be wrong here but this is the impression I have received based on the music I buy. However in the last year I smell a renaissance. Los Angeles has received a lot of publicity through the deeds of Cold War Kids, Silversun Pickups, Parson Redheads, The Broken West amongst many others. Of course the hugely talented Comets on Fire and Joanna Newsom have also provided delights as well in their unique ways, but today I am concentrating on a few younger bands from the Bay Area that have caught my attention.

The Morning Benders are from Berkeley and judging from their just released second EP "Boarded Doors" they are going places very quickly. Started by Chris Chu this four piece write intelligent, very catchy pop songs that will have you humming along and tapping your feet in no time at all. Each of the five songs on "Boarded Doors" are little gems, each one having a different texture and sound. There is something of the melodies of The Shins in their stylings and although there is a giddy exuberance the songs never feel light weight.
You can purchase "Boarded Doors" at their My Space.
MP3: Damnit Anna
MP3: Last Today

Santa Cruz is home to Bear on Bear and these four guys are also making a lot of noise. But its definitely good noise. Ramshackle, rollicking pop is their forte and they have just self released their first EP. Self titled it contains just 5 songs but they show a great deal of promise. The hyper song "Magpies" is my favourite but there is plenty on offer on the other tracks. They also show that they won't be easily pigeonholed with the final song "Thunder" a slow burner that is almost epic in nature with layered guitars and quivering vocals.
To hear or purchase visit their My Space.
MP3: Magpies

Also hailing from Berkeley are The Attachments. They number four as well and have also just released their first EP, a self titled effort that contains 6 songs. And for good measure their lead singer Ben Urwand is originally from Sydney. Their music doesn't contain a lot of tricks, its just pure, effective pop music that would make a great driving soundtrack I believe. In fact they sound to me like they have stepped out of the 60s to deliver some sweet goodness. My standout track is definitely "F-Train Girl" which is a beautiful song that shows the band branching out, it will interesting to see where their musical development goes.
My Space
MP3: F-Train Girl

Here are some more tracks by Bay Area Bands worth listening to-
Fluids-The Old Fashioned Way
Static-Tempo No Tempo
Like I Do-Minipop
Big Red Boots-Fiction Like Candy

More from California, from the new and the established-
Hospital Beds-Cold War Kids
Kissing Families-Silversun Pickups
Full Moon-The Parson Redheads
Down in the Valley-The Broken West
Lovers Who Uncover-The Little Ones
Dogwood Rust-Comets on Fire
Endless Shovel-Rogue Wave
Trance Manual-John Vanderslice
Waves of Grain-Two Gallants
Tree Bones-Port O'Brien


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