September 28, 2005

Gimme Indie Rock

For someone who blabbers on about his own ridiculously ameteur musical history (see a few posts below), I don't talk a lot about other people's bands anymore. There are 2 reasons for this- one, I used to be (as many young white suburbanite males are) a real nasty, opinionated asshole when it came to music fandom & criticism. This snobbery came despite a still-enduring appreciation for '90s U2 as well as an inability to truly slug it out with other music snobs. The other reason was that I didn't like being that guy after a while, which was easy to feel once I started making my own music and throwing it out there in the world for other people to judge (and oh, they have, for both good and ill). So this is sort of a compromise- let me show off my two favorite indie rock releases from the past year or so (loosely, since I belatedly found one from 2004), from SoCal-area bands that I'm only tangentially connected to. Both these records are great works, great listens, and I recommend them highly to music fans anywhere.

"Terrors Of The Deep" by Bodie
Bodie are doomed to be hailing from the O.C., just like me, but they don't let that get to them. In fact, this album has more of the great things I associate with Southern California beach towns in its songs, more than probably intended by the band. Big spaces are evoked, but not excessively- more like the slow bobbing of a lifeboat at night ("Twilights") or the mellow scalding of sunsets on paradise ("Holdin' Out"). Seems like sea & sky figure highly in the disc's collective psyche, or at least some large expanse of space- empty or not. I've always liked that in any kind of music, but reverb and echo on guitars (and basses!) is still my favorite sound, and there's lots of that to go around here. As a lyricist I should also say that the song lyrics aren't slouchers either- but not in a ten dollar word sorta way- more like the right word or phrase for the right feeling at the right point in the song. One of my favorite lines in the lyrics is "my door closes tight, but it locks from the inside", from "Don't Feel Good To Be Left Alone". As a designer, I love the cover art. So yeah, for a roots-rock band with mildly psychedelic tendencies (sorry, had to hack a description out somewhere), Bodie made one tight, focused album. Don't know much more about them, but I do know that my brother works with the band's singer, and that's how I got turned on to this album, and right now that's enough for me.

"Volcano And Heart" by The Coral Sea
They might not know or care to hear this, but I liked the name they used to have- "Rey", first name of this Santa Barbara band's frontman Rey Villalobos (brother to Gina, she of last year's great indie-roots-rock album). I know they've switched band members a bit over the years (Rey and James Garza go back a bit, though, I think), and hopefully the change was for a good reason. Rey (the band) released the rock-ish "Secret" EP 3 years ago, and Rey (the multitalented frontman) released a solo album called "Rey Means King" in '03 that easily bested the EP but for some reason is no longer available to the wide world, before forming a combo called the Coral Sea that includes himself, bassist Garza, guitarist Duncan Wright (my editor from the days at the Independent), and multipercussionist extraordinaire Matt Talmage. The moody, mellow-to-monstrous reverb-tinged epics on "Volcano And Heart" seem to be the next logical step from "Rey Means King" (indeed, piano-driven "Yesterday/Tomorrow" appears on both albums), but the kicker on the new disc is the layered string arrangements that beef up many of the songs. The high point for me is "In This Moment's Time", a careening, swirling vortex of a tune that I had the pleasure of hearing on KCSB the week of the album's release. Rey's voice is in a high, fragile register for most of the record, but he's only ever overwhelmed by the band on a few occasions, and even then it serves the intensity of the song. Duncan's guitar tones mostly ring instead of crunch, but I'm more attracted to that sort of playing anyway, so thats a plus for me as well. This album seems to have been a major effort by everyone involved, but I say it paid off in spades (and continues to- their live show is great as well). It's a good, strong piece of work. Oh, good cover art here as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails