Monday, September 11, 2017

Reppin' Burbank: Midnight Sister

It might be true that everyone who made Los Angeles wacky, creative and exciting in the '80s and early '90s is now living in the San Fernando Valley, and if it's true that Midnight Sister are from Burbank, they may be some indication that the Valley will continue to be the thing that helps wacky L.A. live on in spite of L.A.'s majority transforming into the same old. Having witnessed them live prior to hearing this recorded debut, my initial thoughts about Midnight Sister were that they were like a great late 1970s act -- theatrical, with hints of disco and Klaus Nomi and Kate Bush and eccentric for the sake of it. But this record, Saturn Over Sunset, has so much more going on that prevents it from being an exercise in nostalgia.

There's jazz drumming, brass, ominous strings, a wide variety of instrumentation, storytelling, waltzing. They're fronted by a mime? Yes, fronted by a mime. Juliana Giraffe also sings like Simone in Pee Wee's Big Adventure speaks [which is to say that her voice is deep and often clips off, proving that less is indeed sometimes more]. In hindsight, they are everything I hoped Fast Piece of Furniture would be, and Saturn Over Sunset is a record that will hold up beyond the year. Moreover, their youth is promising; with the ages of the core band a respective twenty-three and twenty-seven years old, it'll be marvelous to see how they age as musicians if they're already this daring.

Monday, September 4, 2017

That side part, though: Tom Brosseau

Since my last time checking in with Tom Brosseau, he's recorded an album with the great John Parish [as was the case with 2007's Cavalier], continued making appearances in Santa Monica rather than more centrally located venues in Los Angeles, and, ah, released a couple more records. He's got precisely one nostalgic style to stick to; if he had any ounce of sex in him he might've been Jeff Buckley, but there's none, and so he's nothing more than a wholesome face with a God-fearing voice that might've made you ask, at some point, the big Holly Golightly questionIs he or isn't he? After a dozen releases, it's plain that he really is this pure.

Treasures Untold is a live set recorded in Köln, originals as well as classics by folks like Jimmie Rodgers and of course, Hank Williams. And some of the dialogue here illustrates perfectly how well he's studied his heroes in order to replicate their spirit. Including the occasional yodel. He's an odd fit for any scene in his home of nearly fifteen years, but it's awfully nice to run across an odd fit now and then.

He's on a little jaunt around the U.S. right now, and this tour includes a stop in -- yes -- Santa Monica.