Saturday, September 01, 2007

(09.01.07) Recommends:

Western States Motel.

So, have you ever been in the outside part of a bar, and then when you come back in to pay your tab there is a band playing live in the background, and as you are signing the check, you turn and you see Natalie Portman, and she asks if you know the band, and while asking, she sorta lunges toward you and says, they’ll change your life, I swear?

No? That’s never happened to you? Okay. More or less it’s never happened to me, either. However.


I was out the other night. Out of doors on a warm summer night. And then I came inside the doors. To pay my bar tab which, it should be noted, was a very reasonable amount, because I am a reasonable person and only engage in reasonable behavior, even when the other youth of the city are bursting with energy and virility and irrationality. I, for the record, am reasonable. As are those with whom I hang out at these bars on these warm summer nights.

And as I was signing that bar tab...and heard that music...I turned my head around...and looked at the band on the stage...but first I picked my chin off of the floor, where it had been resting in amazement.

After frantically running – literally, running – around the bar, trying to figure out who these songsters were, somebody at the merch table informed me: Western States Motel.

I saw the band perform threes songs – five, tops. And by the end, I declared it the best show I had seen in the last six months. Live, they were this rollicking alt country band, dressed in sharp brown rockabilly suits. Possibly the suits were brown. After all, I’m mostly blind, so I’m more or less guessing at the color. But the point remains: the band was phenomenal and I decided I would pick up their record the next day.

It turns out their record is completely different than their live show. Much poppier. And after one spin I was thinking it must have been the alcohol that made the band sound so good. But I kept listening and then it hit me: It turns out that even the album is phenomenal. It’s like a mixture of the Shins, and Elliot Smith, and a host of those cosmic-Americana bands from Los Angeles, like The Elected (blogged about here), Irving (blogged about here), Beechwood Sparks.

So, here’s the deal. Go to their myspace and give them a listen. If the sound isn’t working for you, rip that computer out of the wall, and put it in your car. This record comes alive on the road. This works particularly well if you live near a winding highway that dramatically overlooks the Pacific Ocean. If you don’t have that handy, perhaps you have a large lake (natural or manmade is okay). If no lake, perhaps there is a neighborhood pool that you could drive around while blasting this (don’t forget the zinc oxide for your nose, bacon slice!). If no neighborhood pool, then at least turn your TV to Mtv, to one of those dramas like The Hills or Laguana Beach. Then turn the volume off, and pump up Western States Motel. Because this music will be featured on these shows very very soon.

And regardless of the virtues of those shows, this music needs to be listened by many, many people.

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