Friday, August 15, 2008

Odds 'n sods:: Fight Bite, Liz Durrett, & The Little Ones

In a completely detrimental activity - especially after a week where both Shane and I have complained about the lack of fresh material surfacing in our mailboxes lately - I decided to do another one of those odds 'n sods posts you all love. Why post three times and get three times the hits? More MP3s for you + less words by me = win win... for you.


I've slowly and surely been falling for the Fight Bite record. I read countless comparisons to another favorite of mine - Beach House - which are inevitable when you consider the darker tones and smoky, reverbed vocals Leanne Macomber enjoys. In fact, you could use the same words to describe both projects (haze-filled, smoky, ethereal, lush, perfect fall weather music).

But what makes this band so appealing to me is the sense of whimsy they add to the songs to make them surge instead of seep. This may seem like only a cosmetic difference, but it's the type of difference that lets you enjoy a cloud filled rainy day instead of being consumed by it or more accurately, instead of feeling like your world is slowly closing in, you feel the hope of finally seeing the world open up (just listen to Never Let Go - it's strangely uplifting).

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Liz Durrett's breathy delivery and watch-like precision on the opening track from her new release - Outside Our Gates - is gripping. She powers through the aggressive sounds of a string quartet, grabs a hold of you and never relents. Sure, she perks up a few tracks with splashes of sunshine and horns - like on the single, Wild As Them - but when she (and arranger Eric Bachmann) strips away the finish and pleasantries, her voice is arresting.

The emotion that trails the last lingering word in each line make you wonder how hard she's working on keeping it all together, and what's going to happen when she can't. You know you shouldn't, but you want to get involved; maybe to help her or maybe just to help you feel better... to feel needed. But when you hear her gentle exhale, you know you are going to stick with her to the inevitable, tear filled end.

A record full of beautiful songs.

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The Little Ones are finally back. I'm not sure if any band was mishandled worse than those LA popsters. After writing one of the catchiest songs in recent memory - and as I put it before, "The Little Ones are a great indie pop outfit from CA. All too often lumped in as another Shins sound alike, their hand clapping, poppy ditties are the musical equivalent of a Lik-M-Aid. Sugary sweet, colorfully packaged, and uber addictive" - but their label let them hang in purgatory before eventually dropping them before they had any sort of chance.

The new single from their upcoming release, Morning Tide, still has the hand claps and sing-along choruses but there's something a bit more weathered, a bit harder in this track from the fun loving LA outfit. Maybe the music industry has removed some of their youthful naivety , but the track is a nice change of pace for me. I like me some Lik-N-Aid, but after the first few bites your lips crack and your mouth is left raw. The little bit of edge makes the song even more enjoyable, and I think the buzz of energy they give off when they sing, "Sunday, Sunday" will induce shouts from the crowds.

Posted at 8:17 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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