Bands Worth Watching
Rachel: Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros have a studio up in Ojai and recorded their last record here and their new record, coming out this spring. The influence of Ojai on the band seems to be very strong, and their new material you’ll hear later this year is really amazing and energetic.
Robert: Spindrift embodies a dark yet playful sound with elements of spaghetti Western, psychedelic, blues and the macabre. Their live shows sweep you into a frenzy of desert psychedelia, and you may feel like you have transported into a scene from a Tarantino flick. Many of their songs are instrumentals with fantastic guitar riffs harking back to classic Western sounds a la Morricone. However, their musical swirls and unique intentions keep the music feeling modern and innovative.
Rachel: I’m working on a side project with my fiance. It’s called Benjamin Franklin, and it’s a mixture of electronic, West African and pop. I’m totally inspired by Ojai and have channeled the magic of this town right into this music. It’s a small nature town but embodies this very unique power, similar to what we’re doing with Benjamin Franklin.
Robert: Fuzzed-out vocals that sound remarkably like Johnny Cash, not only in timbre but also in world weariness. You never know when they might pop up and perform at any number of dives across L.A. They bring all their own amplification and rarely use a PA. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics are pulled off brilliantly, and the songs ring like classics. Hints of Cash, Williams and other country greats with a makeover that could have been construed by David Lynch. There is something that evokes ramshackle imagery of the post-apocalypse while harking back to country classics. See ‘em live. And have a few shots of whiskey first.
Rachel: Lissie also lives and records up here. She has such a fantastic voice and has such a deep love for this town. Her simple style, both aesthetically and sonically, is a real reflection of small-town living. She strips it down to what’s most authentic and gives you that.
Robert: Tommy brings a more emotive and fragile approach to this modern folk movement. His songs have heart-clenching qualities akin to early Neil Young. The instrumentation is dynamic and percussive with unique orchestral arrangements. The violin supports Tommy’s earnest voice and makes for a really beautiful pairing. It’s easy for the listener to get wrapped up in the emotion they exude. The mandolin further pulls your heartstrings, and the lush vocal harmonies round out the sound. Another band best experienced live.
Robert: Amanda’s voice almost seems “put on” as this charming, country-tinged, cartoon-like chirp. That is until you hear her talk. She couldn’t be more authentic, which makes you appreciate her all the more. Eccentric, quirky, playful and at times profound. Live, she incorporates a variety of instrumentation with extended jams, psychedelic nuances and cacophonies of percussion, all swelling around her petite vocals. On record her voice is more naked and shows the charm of her lyrics and the subtleties of her expressions.
Next page: Venues Of Note