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Jen knows that I’m a complete and total sucker for the Pacific Northwest–the trees, the rain, the waterfalls, the salmon, the oysters, the mushrooms (chanterelles or magic), the Subarus, the microbrews, the bikes, the un-ironic use of puffy vests, the fact that everybody recycles. It is where my heart lives, even though my body lives near my beloved writing partner’s epic clothes closet and archive-worthy library (okay, set of bookshelves) in Los Angeles.
And so it is no wonder that Grand Hallway, a rising Seattle band recommended to us last week by the brilliant and amazing Goh Nakamura, immediately fell into the warm, velvety folds of my heart (say what you will—my heart has folds and they are velvety)–absolute love at first listen.
Like my heart, Grand Hallway might best be defined by it’s many, many, many audio layers—which range from tempestuous to tame, earthy to unhinged, vocal to instrumental, tactile and ethereal. It is a unified community of sounds, in that fabulous way that so defines one of this decade’s breakout heroes Broken Social Scene, and up-and-comers Local Natives (formerly known as Cavil At Rest). Perhaps, not so different from life in Seattle, the music is about the art of surrender as a robust action–to the elements, to the rain, to the moment, to love, to life itself. There’s nothing one-note about that.
Cavil at Rest singer/guitarist Ryan Hanh–that adorable, curly-mopped chap driving the white car you see above–was a military brat born in the UK, raised in Singapore, and dumped into the ‘burbs of Southern California. Because of his last name, I’d been convinced for time that his kinky ‘fro actually belied his blood heritage–and he was actually through-and-through Vietnamese, like me. I finally asked (he’s not). But, he maintains, he feels Asian. And I realized then that sometimes, that’s all that matters.
Cavil at Rest is your new favorite band. Look at all those dudes–from the top left, Matt, Taylor, Andy, Kelcey, and Ryan–so gosh-darn sweet-faced, so compact, so fashionably v-necked. Through their charged urban-hippie soul rock I pull references from MC5 to The Doobie Brothers to The Rolling Stones to The Potatomen to the southwestern guitarist that played at my friend Dan’s New Mexico wedding. That’s not a bad palette for a band from my coastal South Orange County homeland (which, as Jen will attest to, is a expensively ugly breeding ground for average tastes and mediocre spirits).
Lend an ear here. Enjoy.
Our friends in Cavil at Rest introduced us to the soft and sweet strums of the adorable Texasian Kina Grannis. Angry Asian Man loves her, and so do we. What’s not to love–beautiful face, cultural variety, a soft twang in her gentle voice?
Grannis is currently a Top 3 Finalist in a contest called Crash the Superbowl, which results in a cool indie artist’s video being run during the big game. Let’s show her some love and win it for her, shall we? The thought of any of those other nerds taking the prize kinda gives me food-poisoning-style-nausea.