If you stop by the Kitchen, you’ll notice that Kasey and I are getting ready for Thanksgiving. She has prepared a savory, custard-like bread pudding that will definitely find fans at any Thanksgiving pow-wow planned by you and your clan.
And since Thanksgiving is just a few days away, I decided to think about what I am thankful for. Of course, I’m extremely thankful for a great wife, a loving family, good friends, a good job, and Turntable Kitchen. But because I’m such a nerd for music – I’m also thankful for living in a city with access to so much great music. I do love my city by the Bay, and I love our local music scene. And for me, no other band exemplifies the awesomeness of the San Francisco music scene as well as Girls. I did a little psychedelic happy dance in my mind when I learned that they were set to release a new EP this week. I still marvel at how awesome their debut LP (conveniently titled, Album) is — which still gets a lot of play on my record player. When I want to get up and feel happy, I need only play album opener “Lust for Life,” and when I want to slow down and get contemplative I need only play “Hellhole Ratrace.” Happily, the new EP contains 6 surprisingly lush tunes for all of the moods in between and lives up to the high standards set by the band on their debut.
The new EP, Broken Dreams Club, opens awash in wet reverb guitar licks circa-1950’s/60’s pop music on “Oh So Protective One” lending the tune a woozy & care-free tropical atmosphere before a battery of robust, brassy horns subtly make a debonair supporting appearance carrying the melody (and Christopher Owens vocals) to a whole new feel-good vibe. The next cut, “Heartbreaker”, is a fan favorite from their live performances, and recordings of the tune have been making the rounds (including here) for some time now. The final version, much like the early live recordings, is a resonant, grooving acoustic-spined rock jam. The more fleshed out studio recording adds a little extra flourish to the tune, but retains the relatively upbeat, hopeful melody that beautifully belies the songs downbeat lyrics: “When I said that I loved you honey / I knew it from the very start / When I said that I loved you honey / I knew that you would break my heart.” A trio of plaintive, flowery ballads follows in the form of the steel guitar licked and country-hued “Broken Dreams Club”, the shining and jazzy “Alright”, and the clammy, but lively “Substance.” All three are solid, substantive rockers that demonstrate a surprising maturity from the band (surprising, considering the fact that some of my favorite moments from their debut could be lovingly described as “juvenile”). For me though, the album’s most brain-meltingly awesome (that’s a technical phrase) track is “Carolina.” It opens with a heavy wash of droning psychedelic, serpentine ambiance before pounding percussion shrugs forward into a sluggish rhythm. But eventually, four minutes in, the clouds part and the melody becomes clear and sunny – while obscuring ambiance buzzes in the distance always threatens to overcome Owens yearning lyrics: “I’m going to pick you up baby / throw you over my shoulder / take you away / I’m going to carry you home to Carolina / Carolina.” It’s a gorgeous track that fantastically walks the fine line between straight-forward pop and sonic experimentation with deep harmonies, big guitar riffs, and elegant song writing. This is the sound of a band that is already at the top of their game, but are also just getting started. It’s hard to imagine this not appearing near the top of nearly every serious music critics end of year list. Order the EP on vinyl from Amazon.