What the CL Music Team is listening to on this fine Monday to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.
Leilani - Monophonics, In Your Brain (out May 15, 2012 via Ubiquity Records) http://monophonics.com/
This record has been rocking my face since I was turned onto this band a few weeks ago. The San Francisco six-piece takes their sonic cue from Sly Stone with hard retro-imbued funk and psychedelic soul, the horn arrangements warm bursts of brass accompanied by thick and fuzzy bass grooves, chugging rhythms, plenty of wet wah wah guitar along with some shrieking and wailing solos, and the impassioned husky-soulful vocals of singer/keyboardist Kelly Finnigan. The band stops at New World Brewery this Wed., May 9, and drops into the WMNF studios to play It's the Music with Scott Elliott earlier that day. Tune in for a preview of what they'll dish out, and take a listen to "Bang Bang" below...
Shae - Signals From Satellites, Dotted Lines EP (2010)
The weekend before last, my band played a show with local Tampa band, Signals from Satellites. We've played with them frequently, so I'm pretty familiar with their music. During their Saturday set, however, they performed two older tracks. These had been out of live rotation for a while, so while the songs were familiar, they also felt fresh. One of them, "Permanent Autopilot," was off their Dotted Lines EP; this is what I've been playing to recapture that familiar but fresh feeling.
Dotted Lines finds Signals in the early stages of their time together, but those elements that make the trio one of the Bay area's best – the intricate intermingling of Rodney's sometimes dissonant guitar and Ric's melodic bass, Phil's tasteful drumming, their intuitive use of dynamics, and Rodney's undistorted, distinct vocals – are already firmly in place. Signals take 1990s-'00s indie rock and subtract the preening, the pretension, the preciousness. What's left is a collection of expansive, richly textured songs with the perfect blend of original, emotional lyrics and no-holds-barred instrumental interludes. Live, Signals bring the intensity up a notch, so be sure to check them out at Tropical Heatwave in Ybor this Sat., May 12.
The 13-track effort clocks in at a vigorous 56 minutes, but frontman Graham Ulincy does stretch the vocal limits of his unmistakable warble/growl on down-tempo songs like the painfully introspective and sweet "Ghost Bike" as well as album bookend "Water Runs," where the bright piano stabs evolve into synth blasts and a booming chorus that declares, "There's a feeling inside my insides, but it just won't let me in."
Ulincy's emotions might be getting held back, but every ounce of his colorful soul gets poured out on this release, and my inner go-go boy is better for it. The album is streaming in full here, and available for purchase on iTunes.
Evan - Blackbird Blackbird, Summer Heart (2010)
San Francisco chillwave artist Mike Maramag's debut is as refreshing as the album title would suggest. In the same electronic vein as the lush bedroom grooves of Washed Out and M83, Maramag crafts tunes that are at once low-key and arresting. With its minimalist house styling and a shoegazer's well-produced vocals and synths, Summer Heart is dreamy. Check out "Hawaii," which evokes the idyllic feeling of the Aloha State. Video for "Pure" below.
Valerie - Mayer Hawthorne, How Do You Do (2011)
A couple weeks ago, I was in Napa Valley with some friends of mine and saw Mayer Hawthorne perform at an event called Live In The Vineyard. I was pleasantly surprised by his vintage style and sultry tunes, and he had the whole place on their feet the entire set. As soon as we returned from our trip, we bought tickets to see his show at the State Theater tonight. Check out "The Walk" below.