There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love The Smart Brothers, and those who haven’t heard them yet. The Julian-based trio played last month’s Owl and Bear-programmed SoundDiego Live event and systematically converted every attendee into a fan.
The Smart Brothers spend most of their days on the road but, when they’re not busy touring, they find time to record. Their latest full-length, Make It Last, finds the band segueing from their folk beginnings to a more rock-oriented sound. From the poppy opener “Where Did Your Run To?” to the despondent, Strokes-y “On My Own,” Make It Last consolidates everything that has made the band a local favorite: exuberant pacing, unforgettable melodies, and timeless charm. You can buy it here.
All that touring and recording can take a lot out of you, so it’s crucial to have some good songs to wake up to. Singer/drummer Lou Smart was kind enough to share with us his “5 Good Wake Up Songs For Your Alarm Clock,” and now we’re kind enough to share them with you. You can check out the list, along with the band’s current tour dates, below. Continue reading…
It’s hard not to love The Swell Season. Since winning the hearts of audiences — and an Oscar — with the 2006 film Once, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova have maintained that adoration through rigorous touring, refreshing humility, and the recent release of their second album, Strict Joy.
Before The Swell Season took the stage at House of Blues on Tuesday, singer/guitarist Ryan Bingham opened up with some astonishingly derivative blues and folk. His raspy voice dripped with affectation as he rambled on about times changing and winds blowing like some copy of a copy of a copy of Bob Dylan. Continue reading…
The Avett Brothers are all about feeling. On Emotionalism, their last proper full length, the Avetts certainly didn’t shy away from feeling; they celebrated it. The songs from Emotionalism were mostly led by banjo, upright bass, occasional strings and the just-twangy-enough vocals of one or both brothers. Everything about that setup said these guys were playing bluegrass music, but what came out of the speakers felt different.
That element, that unique style of bluegrass that sounded more like an alt-country-influenced indie band, clearly set the Avetts apart from anything I’d ever heard before. But there was more to them than that. There were also those straightforward and heartfelt lyrics, melodies that felt nostalgic and comforting, and an overall sense that these guys grew up loving American music and wanted to make it their own, to take it somewhere new while keeping everything that was great about it intact. Continue reading
Silver Lake-based Local Natives just completed a U.S. tour with Ben Kweller, then went to London, then stormed barns across the midwest. They even blog. Needless to say, these guys (and occasionally girl) are both creative and busy. They’re also great musicians who put on a rewarding and fun show. They have a new album called Gorilla Manor coming out soon.
The quintet’s unique brand of indie folk highlights their tight vocal harmonies without sacrificing on rolling guitars, keys and percussion or sharp lyrics. Their laid-back and layered folk is a perfect way to wind down the rest of summer.
Local Natives are also currently touring extensively in the west through late September, with a stop Thursday (9/3) at San Diego’s Casbah, and then they’re moving on to Europe for six weeks. Complete list of tourdates is below.
Meanwhile, we caught up Ryan Hahn, Taylor Rice, and Kelcey Ayer to talk Poetic Memory. Check it out. Continue reading