In the Pink

seapinks

Northern Ireland doesn’t have a west coast, so I can only imagine that Sea Pinks are left to conjure sunny wide open California scenes through their music. Top Pink, Neil Brogan was originally the drummer in Girls Names but left that band to concentrate on his band Sea Pinks. For good reason, as he seems to have an endless supply of lush, jangle filled songs in his head. Sea Pinks’ music has an affinity with the US west coast due to Brogan’s smooth tenor which evokes the lugubriousness of the Beach Boys, combined with the guitars cracking with the dusty jangle of the Byrds.

Brogan’s boyish tenor could make him an honorary Beach Boy. It’s smooth and easy on the ears, lending a sense of melancholy to these otherwise upbeat songs. The new album Dream Tracks, their fourth, is not drastically different from the previous three, but in little ways you can tell that Brogan is stretching out as a songwriter and open to incorporating a more varied pallet of sounds onto his records. The inclusion of cello on songs like Dream Happening and Invisible Lines provides more depth to the sound, while Meat and Drink employs a undulating Stereolab-like bass which adds something new to the jangly Sea Pinks cannon. These additional embellishments mesh easily with Brogans top songwriting talent to produce what may be the best Sea Pinks album yet.

stream and purchase: Sea Pinks – Dreaming Tracks

Fun Trick Noisemakers

Quilt at Barboza, Seattle | 10 February 2014

Quilt

Listening to Quilt and reading about them on the internet you get the initial impression that they are 60’s revivalist hippies. On their sophomore album Held In Splendor the Boston band pluck strings from psychedelic era Beatles, unearth dusty jangle from the Byrds and sprinkle misty mountain vocal harmonies from the Mamas and the Papas.  The trio of Anna Fox Rochinski, Shane Butler, and John Andrews are all songwriters which adds to the variety of their sound on the album. They also have voices that allow them to harmonize like Crosby Stills and Nash which are often the focus of their sound. A couple interviews with the band touch on them being into chanting and even some dub. So I was expecting a show accenting their ability to harmonize.  I wasn’t expecting a tendency for taking their songs into motorik and dub territory. What are good guitar solos on record turned into hypnotic grooves and made the songs take on new lives during their set last night in the Barboza basement.

When you add in these latent krautrock and dub tendencies you have an unbeatable combination, and at times last night they seemed to lock into jams like they were Stereolab or Neu. Perhaps it was the addition of a fourth member bassist Keven Lareau to the band for this tour that has opened up this new dimension. When they weren’t harmonizing in two, three and four parts, they were jamming and sometimes both at once to chilling effect.  Quilt’s brand of psychedelia was already pretty good given their songwriting ability and willingness to go beyond the stereotypical hazy laid back stoner vibe that is all too prevalent in much of this new wave of psyche, but this show put them into by themselves. Already exceptional the songs were put into whatever you want to call the next highest category (neu-super-metronom-psych). Quilt are one of the band’s to beat in 2014.

stream: Quilt – Tired and Buttered (from the album Held In Splendor on Mexican Summer)

Quilt are on tour right now.

Feb. 11—Media Club—Vancouver, British Columbia
Feb. 12—Mississippi Studios—Portland, Oregon
Feb. 14—Bottom Of The Hill—San Francisco, California
Feb. 15—The Satellite—Los Angeles, California
Feb. 16—Soda Bar—San Diego, California
Feb. 17—Last Exit Live—Phoenix, Arizona
Feb. 20—The Mohawk—Austin, Texas
Feb. 21—City Tavern—Dallas, Texas
Feb. 22—Fitzgerald’s—Houston, Texas
Feb. 24—529—Atlanta, Georgia
Feb. 25—Local 506—Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Feb. 27—Boot & Saddle—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Feb. 28—Rough Trade—Brooklyn, New York
March 1—Great Scott—Allston, Massachusetts
March 2—Casa De Popolo—Montreal, Quebec
March 3—Drake Hotel—Toronto, Ontario
March 5—Stone Fox—Nashville, Tennessee
April 2—The Windmill—London, United Kingdom
April 7—El Lokal—Zurich, Switzerland
April 14—Berghain Kantine—Berlin, Germany
April 17—Charlatan—Ghent, Belgium
April 19—L’Espace B—Paris, France
May 2—Carson Creek Ranch—Austin, Texas
May 7—Subterranean—Chicago, Illinois
May 11—Showcase Lounge—South Burlington, Vermont

Paisley Boys Go for the Velocity Girl

Dream_Boys

Los Angeles’ Dream Boys remind me of time not long ago when the first Tyde album came out. I was surprised how a band from Los Angles were able to sound like direct descendants of Felt. Back then when record stores were the only place you could buy music there was what’s called an import section and a certain American record buyers would search that section out because that was where all the best jangly pop stuff came from.

I doubt that Dream Boys peruse the import section of their local record store. Is there a record store these days that even has an import section? In fact you could argue that they don’t need an import section for their influences. Their own back yard is overflowing with potential inspirations. The Paisley Underground scene of the 80’s and of course the ground zero of everything that is jangle the Byrds. Dream Boys have two songwriters one favoring the UK flavor, the other seems to prefer the LA flavor. So you get the best of both worlds here.

Whether you dig the sounds of the Tyde, Bif Bang Pow, Long Ryders, the Bluebells, Close Lobsters, Felt, the Three O’clock or the Byrds there is something for you on this album. It will remind you of any of the above, or it may make you search out some of those bands to find out how Dream Boys got here. No matter the direction of your approach, this exceptional album will satisfy. Guaranteed!

stream: Dream Boys – Sworn (from the self-titled album out on Art Fag)
You can stream the entire album at Art Fag’s soundcloud page and check out the video for the song Born Yesterday below.