Archives For January 2012

Seattle’s Got Soul

LarryKloess —  January 30, 2012 — 1 Comment

For anyone that knows me well, they know my total affinity for my hometown of Nashville. It’s hard to compete with living in a locale known world-round as Music City U.S.A. Despite my desire to never leave this mecca of music, in the back of my mind there’s always been two cities I could see myself potentially living in at some point, one of those being the Emerald City. Let’s be honest: Seattle seems to have a monopoly on folk/pop bands like Silicon Valley has on software and technology. Their greatest recent exports are about as ubiquitous as it gets: Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, Fleet Foxes, and The Head and the Heart? Yeah, these folks in the Pacific Northwest know what they’re doing.

Now, Seattle is poised to take the world by storm with a band that is finding a sound all their own and has the potential to be a household name as much as their predecessors: Pickwick. And folks, they are a band full of surprises the second you hear the Sam Cooke-esque voice of their lead singer, the bespectacled Galen Disston, who at first glance looks more likely to be the brother of Andy Samberg than the force-of-nature soul singer that he is. If I were to establish a bucket list of bands that I have to see, Pickwick would have to be the top or near the top of that list and it appears the rest of the country is going to be catching on to their talents as they are preparing their debut full-length now. In the meantime, download their three “Myths” EPs here.

Also, check out this incredible video put together by the  Sound on the Sound, a truly exceptional Seattle music blog. It was filmed at Doe Bay Fest 2011, which is on my “Leap List” should I be lucky enough to grab tickets before the sell out (I think the over/under for that happening is 5 minutes, and I’m taking the under this time around).

One of my vices as someone who finds great joy in discovering new bands is that I often fail to spend much time with any given artist before moving on to another one. And then out of nowhere, I will be completely blindsided by a band who forces everything else to the fringes and demands my complete, uninterrupted attention. Well, ladies and gents, that band in recent months has been none other than the latest Icelandic sensation, Of Monsters And Men.

If I were to come up with a checklist of ways for a band to assure that I would fall head over heels in love with their sound, it would probably go something like this: boy-and-girl call-and-response singing? check. excellent horn section? check. three- and four-part harmonies? check and check. beards. duh, check. All of that aside, these precocious lads from (almost) across the pond, seem to have created a sound all their own that leans heavy on the new folk movement coming out of the UK that seems to incorporate the beautiful landscape of Iceland all too well with some occasionally post-rockish drum swells for good measure. In short, I listen to them and feel that same sense of giddiness that I did for the first time with Fleet Foxes in 2007 and The Head and The Heart in 2010. But that’s not really their sound at all. If anything, I would compare them with an Arcade Fire or maybe even Fanfarlo.

They released their debut album “My Head Is An Animal” in their native country toward the end of 2011 and recently announced an April 3 release in the US and Canada. If you happen to be at South By this March or hear of this band coming through any city you live near, you should be in attendance. For anyone that loves music, you know the feeling of seeing a band live right when they are on the verge of blowing up. Sheer exuberance. I can guarantee that feeling for anyone lucky enough to catch them when they come to the US soon.

This Is Really Happening

LarryKloess —  January 23, 2012 — 2 Comments

Well, it’s finally here – the blog I’ve talked about for eons it seems like, the website I made up excuses to why I shouldn’t start it. For years, music has been more than a simple hobby in my life, more like an never-able-to-be-quenched thirst to discover the good in it all. I’ve shared countless artists with friends at any opportunity that presented itself, and now it’s time to share those incredible musicians with all of you wonderful people out there.

It’s time for all the bands playing on a loop inside my head to have a grander audience, and that is much of what this blog will be about: bringing to light those authentic artists that may be hovering right below the radar. I hope you come to enjoy the bands on here as much as I do.

So why ‘Cause A Scene’ and why NOW? Well, the title has a few different facets to it, but much of it points back to a song that will forever rank up there as one of my favorites: The Format‘s ‘The First Single (Cause A Scene)’ (They are known as fun. now in case you’re keeping track at home). I distinctly remember seeing them open for Switchfoot and The Honorary Title in the grand Wright Center on the campus of my alma mater as a sophomore in college. At the time they were just a nascent band with a recently debuted LP out and I have my doubts that more than 2 other people in the packed out 2,600+ seat auditorium knew of them. But there I was, in the nosebleed section, singing each word to every song at the top of my lungs, using the seats in front of me as drums and stomping my feet as though the band desperately needed me to help keep them on time. It is no wonder that my fraternity brothers and I moved down to the first floor shortly thereafter, inevitably pleasing the patrons around us who were more than likely perturbed by my exuberance for the opening band.

All that to say: there are those bands, those songs even, that you come across that take you to a place that seems almost otherworldly, and The Format’s lead track has done that for me every time I’ve heard it. And if we’re being honest, we all have those songs that have that same unexplainable effect on us. So Cause A Scene, in many ways, is an attempt to champion those artists that make me (and hopefully you, too) come alive and believe in the transcending quality of music.

I hope you’ll join me on this adventure. It’s going to be a lot of fun…no pun intended.