Arizona (Taken with instagram)

Arizona (Taken with instagram)

Taken with instagram

Taken with instagram

Taken with instagram

Taken with instagram

January 16th, 2011

I still have this new sound bouncing around in my head as I savor the last seconds of the California sun from an airplane window before heading back to the snow that’s surely awaiting the whole band back east, at home. Not surprisingly though, within our week of sessions, the Effie house has become a home, and the spirit that it helped me, Coley and Joe conjure in the form of these songs will stay with me until the thaw, and probably long after. 

It’s a curious thing, the joy that spills from these songs, the way none of us have been able to contain a smile or an exclamation all week listening to playback. It seems like everyone who worked on these sessions or even stopped by for a minute could feel it, an indescribable energy, a warmth exuded by this music that only comes from a community of people dedicated to capturing a moment, never stuck on achieving a prescribed definition of perfection, only striving for a stirring snapshot of that house in Silver Lake and the wonderful presences coming and going at all hours. I feel like I can hear the house and its various occupants on every track, both literally and metaphorically.

You can hear the enthusiasm and engagement of the players, the innocence and passion of the first takes, the excitement of a performance that comes naturally and is never second-guessed, and maybe most importantly, moments of pure abandon, unrestrained joy, the exultation of creation without constraint, of building without boundaries. This whole process has reminded me, and, it seems, everyone involved, that we’re not here to sell music, we’re here to share happiness. These performances embody a philosophy of doing what feels right at the time, in a way that feels good, in a way that feels real and alive rather than poised and polished. 

A song like “Black Holes” bubbles with darkness, pulsing with nervous energy, but chugs along with the same positive rebel spirit that I think we all felt while shouting the chorus of the decidedly happier “Searching.” “It’s True” is almost tribal in its wordless refrain, the voices of a whole room full of people blending perfectly in unison to form one powerful bellow, while the harmonies on “Maybe” float around the melody like they’re never sure exactly where to land, but I can hear the sun setting over the entire city of Los Angeles just the same when I listen to both. 

The songs each have a different palette, and seem to evoke different feelings in playing them back, but the common thread is how real they sound. They sound like that living room on Effie Street, the helicopters overhead and the glasses clinking, they smell like smoke and they are nervous and unsure and confident and ridiculous and restrained and they are alive. I hope that people can benefit from a little bit of the life in these songs, and be encouraged to do whatever feels right, to sing along in whatever voice they’ve been given and sing loud, “Everything will be alright!” 

Maybe…

Taken with instagram

Taken with instagram

new video off the debut album Smoke Signals featuring Rocco DeLuca

7/9/11, Rockwood Music Hall, NYC

7/9/11, Rockwood Music Hall, NYC