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Monday, February 18, 2008

NEW SOUNDS: 4 CALIFORNIA GEMS

Normally I get stacks of CD's sent this way for review that pile up and are sometimes a challenge to get through. You go on streaks where nothing is very promising, and then every once in awhile you get a string of gems that make it all worth it. Recently I hit the jackpot with four releases from California bands that delivered excellent albums.

First up, a band from Bakersfield called THE GRIZZLY OWLS. The husband and wife team of Jenny and Joseph Andreotti have self-released 'By Night On My Bed' that is a pure delight. It's like a Western LUNA, and after further reading it seems they were inspired by the stories of their grandparent's journey from Oklahoma to Bakersfield during the Dust Bowl. They have grown up with the Bakersfield sound (BUCK OWENS, MERLE HAGGARD) and have taken that, added a touch of DAVID LYNCH, and impressed me with favorite tracks, "Rifles and Hemlines" and "What's A Girl To Do". They'll be in LA on March 3rd at MR. T's Bowl, see you there.


The second fantastic release to come way is from San Francisco's BIRDS & BATTERIES. A five piece that reminds me of classic THE BAND (or as Tom Hanks likes to call them, The Bang). In fact, this feels like it should've been the third BAND album, after the S/T release and picks up where "Unfaithful Servant" left off. This is an album so gorgeous I find myself playing it over and over again because it lulls you into magic. It doesn't do much for your motivation I can tell you. It's hard to pick a favorite, but it would probably be "After A Flood" with "I'll Never Sleep Again" and "Soft Surveillance" close behind. Highly recommended.


If BIRDS & BATTERIES are THE BAND'S 3rd record, Fullerton's MY PET SADDLE might be straight out of MUSIC FROM BIG PINK. They also sound like what would've been the follow up to that great BEACHWOOD SPARKS album, "Once We Were Trees". Their entire EP is an absolute throwdown, a raucous foot stomper. Favorite tracks here are "Il Fait Beau" and "Alaskan Sun". They're playing out at the Gypsy Lounge this Friday with other FS favorites like LEMON SUN and VOXHAUL BROADCAST. Worth the drive.

The final release I want to talk about is from another San Francisco band called THE BOTTICELLIS. Their release, "Old Home Movies" on Antenna Farm Records (another young SF indie label on fire) is another CD I can't seem to stop playing. This band has a sound similar to BIG STAR or THE POSIES sometimes, but that would be pigeonholing them if that's all they are. It's BEACH BOYS sometimes, and at other times it's just gorgeous. "Old Home Movies" drips with something lush, and my favorite track is "The Reviewer", which has a chorus that screams "i'm only talking down to the people looking up". A fantastic band.


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1 Comments:

Anonymous Neal O said...

Yeah man Birds & Batteries are great! Saw them recently @ Silverlake Lounge. My fave is also "After a Flood".

Good pick on My Pet Saddle too, I'm planning to check them out in LA on Sat night, they sound really good on myspace.

10:41 AM  

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