Tuesday, March 24, 2009

LA Love: The Western States Motel

Hello hello - welcome to the first installment of (what I hope will be) a new weekly column on Guilt Free Pleasures... LA Love! With the exception of 4 years of college I've lived in LA all my life. I played music in a little indie rock outfit for the last year or so, and when we started doing more shows around the city I discovered all these great local bands. And now I want to share them with you...

But enough about me -- first up we have The Western States Motel (not to be confused with fellow LA indie band Saint Motel). Western States is actually the doing of one man named Carl Jordan, who is responsible for all the instruments on 2007's self-titled full-length, and last year's Painted Birds Flying in the Orange Sun EP. More often than not he'll get comparisons to Beck for the combination of acoustic guitar and throaty, low vocals on songs like "The New E Blues" and "Southwest Planes."

I'll admit right now that before writing this post, I'd really only listened to the streaming mp3s on Myspace (all 6 tracks from the EP are available there) - but after looking into the songs on The Western States Motel I'm more than a little intrigued. Take my word for it, this is an album you'll want to add to your nighttime driving collection. If you live in LA, try listening to it while driving down an empty Pacific Coast Highway at night, and you'll see what I mean. But if you're looking for something a little brighter for those sunny days, the aforementioned Painted Birds EP is a good place to start.

The first Western States Motel song I ever heard was the fantastic love song "Oh World." I've listened to it countless times over the past couple months and it still hasn't gotten old, not nearly. Western States songs have this great, warm analog feeling. "Oh World" is no exception -- it starts with a simple, lazy guitar riff over a tremolo church organ before synth, bass and drums kick in and Jordan sings about "the hum on the freeway and the roar of the waves" (2 of the biggest realities of LA life). He goes on to say, "I woke up in the past/and then I realized it was today," which is almost a complementary lyric to Dylan's, "Let me forget about today until tomorrow."

Don't forget to see for yourself, though. Check out an mp3 of "Oh World" below, and if you live in Southern California keep an eye out for The Western States Motel this week on their SoCal mini-tour with The Minor Canon .

3/24 (Free show tonight!) - Los Angeles - HOME Restaurant in Silverlake
3/26 Santa Barbara - Mercury Lounge
3/28 San Diego - Bar Pink

Photo credit: studioDAHAN.com

No comments: