Friday, May 1, 2009

Quick Hitters:: Elephant Stone & Sam Lowry

It’s Friday, and I was up way later than I needed to be watching Rajon Rondo attempt fade-aways and 45-ft runners (and laughing as the Canucks tried to give my friend Paul a heart attack-ack-ack). So, those expecting a typical herohill novella will be sorely disappointed.

Instead, we take it old skool and deliver things the way MP3 blogs were meant to – a few poorly written words, a few songs.

Elephant StoneThe Seven Seas web site

With a name taken from a Stone Roses song, you’d expect ex-High Dial, Rishi Dhir to combine warming tones, jangled guitar and a nostalgic feel. Well, when it comes to Elephant Stone, you're be right, but you’re also be selling the effort short. Rishi and his backing band (consisting of former High Dials, The Dears and Besnard Lakes) really have a firm grasp on writing great pop songs, but also understand how to fuse 60’s psychedelics and heavy sitar into the ear pleasing melodies.

Basically they write the kind of songs that make you forget about flaws and influences, and simply listen. Plus, the sitar driven instrumental, The Straight Line reminds me of John Corbett freaking out on the sitar in that movie Serendipity…which is content my wife can get behind.

Sam LowryWith/Without myspace

I know I just talked about Sam, but at that time I only had one or two tracks from the new record. Now I have them all (insert manically, evil laugh). The other day when I was trying to hammer out some thoughts on the record, I asked our twitter fans if there was anyway to talk about this song writer without mentioning Leonard Cohen or Matt Berninger.

Thankfully, instead of letting me waste more time, Songs Illinois alerted me that the baritone vocals and gentle strings make it impossible.

I will say, even with the striking vocal similarities you hear in Matt and Sam’s voice, the thing that grabs me about Lowry is that he seems like a guy you’d actually know. The songs, while terrific, expose a simple clarity - lines like “I want that five bucks back... that I lent ya” - and rely on such a succinct style that you feel every word Lowry sings is true.

You might wonder why I’m posting on this again.. well, it’s because I neglected to mention on May 19th, Sam is releasing a split 7” with William Elliott Whitmore (under the name Wayward Sons) and apparently they take on both sides of a murder ballad. How can that be bad? Quite simply… it can’t.


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