Sunday, December 06, 2009

Acts of Com-

Hotel St. George,
City Boy Lemon,
This Is Tightrope

Add singer/guitar-
ist Matt Binder to
the list of Ameri-
cans who think—
or wish—they'd
been born in Brit-
ain. Growing up,
I was often surpris-
ed by the number
of Brits who sang
sans accent until I heard Herman's Hermits and the Kinks.

This San Diego quartet doesn't bring either act to mind,
though they've probably got a few UK records in their col-
lection, since they combine precise vocals with layers of fuzz
and reverberating beats, like a cross between the Stone Roses
New Order, and the Vapours (that's a compliment, by the way).

Note: Vinyl and digital download only.

Julie the Band, An Act of Communication, Baby Bird Records

An Act of Communication works well enough as far as new
wave-meets-baroque pop goes—trumpets, violins, Cars-like key-
boards—and harder-edged than that description suggests, but this
LA quintet's debut doesn't leave as much of an impression as it
should. Includes a reverant version of the Beatles' "Blackbird"
and a remix of "Foggin Up a Clear View" with Obie Trice.

Seaspin, Reverser EP, self-released

This LA five-piece cooks up
airy melodies in the vein of
My Bloody Valentine and Cur-
ve with Jennifer Goodridge's
delicate vocals floating atop
a three-guitar maelstrom.
You've heard it before, and if
you're like me, you won't mind hearing it again. Ends in a phosphorescent spray of feedback.

Samuel Stewart, The Beginner
EP, Frank Lawless Entertainment

I know I'm a sinner, been doing it
for years, but I'm still a beginner.
-- Samuel Stewart, "The Beginner"

Now based in LA, London singer/multi-instrumentalist
Samuel Stewart follows in the ornate footsteps of Ar-
cade Fire and DeVotchka on this music hall-inspired EP
(I'd imagine he also has a thing for The Threepenny Op-
era). His vibrato brings to mind Marc Bolan and Deven-
dra Banhart, but with fewer folk and glam touches, while
he sounds a little like Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hütz on
the gypsy-oriented "Devil Music." If Stewart isnt work-
ing from the most original blueprint, his talent and ease
of execution make The Beginner worthy of attention.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Endnote: For more information about Hotel St.
George, please click here; for Julie the Band, here
or here; for Seaspin, here or here; and for Samuel
Stewart, here or here. Images from Planetary Group.

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