the stars in gray shout out to carry in my love

Gem Club – Braid″
Click here to download the track.

Gem Club makes me so sad. So, so sad. Sometimes you just need to have your heart wrenched out of your chest and mourn your loss for a few minutes until the needle works its way off the vinyl. It’s true you’ve got a hole where your heart should be, but now you’ve got room to fill it back up again.

Photo credit: Jared Graves

i’ve got something to give away and that’s my heart

About a month ago I saw Katy Goodman of Vivian Girls at SXSW, performing with her band La Sera. She was just the cutest, her bubbling personality tempering the stone-cold delivery on many of her songs. Even when her amp caught fire she was still cheerful, genially chatting up the crowd while rerouting her wires.

Whether live or on record, Goodman’s songs have a distinct energy, the ghost of girl-group sweetness pumped through the leader of the pack’s motorcycle engine. On her latest record, Sees the Light, the singles best showcase Goodman’s leather and lace make-up.

“Break My Heart” is catchy as hell, and as with all the best pop songs you’ll be singing along by the  end. Goodman uses her voice to smooth over the blistering chug of “Please Be My Third Eye”, keeping its guts from spilling out. “Drive On” is dark and pretty, and the guitars on “How Far We’ve Come” have a sludgy grind. Bringing the mood up are the somewhat island-leaning “Real Boy” and the country overtones of “I’m Alone”.

At only thirty or so minutes long, Sees the Light lends itself to being listened to on repeat, something I suggest as the days get longer and the promise of summer love starts to pique.

Sees the Light dropped 03.26.12.
Download “Please Be My Third Eye” and “Break My Heart“.
Get more info on La Sera here.

our old room, corner apartment

“It’s clean here. We’re not used to that. We dirtied up our hotel room pretty well. Put up a tent in there. True story.” That’s what Grant Olsen of Gold Leaves had to say about Madison, Wisconsin, on the band’s recent stop at the High Noon Saloon on November 7th, 2011.

Seattleite Olsen lets a bevy of influences creep into the Gold Leaves sound – the gentle slow-dance sway of oldies, the twang of the south, the psychedelic corner of the 60s – all the while tying it together with his vocals. Clear but unpolished, Olsen sounds like a more world-weary Robin Pecknold.

A live setting really let the material on The Ornament flourish. While the album is solid, Olsen’s tour band really took to the material and gave it a warmth and the extra breath of life that only takes hold when a band is on stage. In a post-show listen, the album seemed a little fuller and the best songs even better, particularly “Cruel & Kind” and “Hard Feelings”.

In not pinning itself to any one influence, Gold Leaves achieves a natural sound that reminds us of everything and nothing all at once, and gives us an inadvertently intimate look at Olsen himself.

The Ornament dropped 08.16.11.
Check out the Gold Leaves Facebook page here.
Click to download “The Ornament” and “Cruel & Kind“.