30 Nov

Gardens & Villa – Black Hills

After traveling to London last night for an early meeting this morning, I wanted something great to make me smile while I walked to the DLR and made the short commute to the office. Hunched, trying for protection from the chill, I didn’t want to take my hands out of my pockets so I plumped for an album to listen to, so my playlist today is pretty short.

I can be painfully slow at picking up albums by bands I have heard and loved tracks by. Such a band is Gardens & Villa who hail from Santa Barbara. I came across them via a couple of free downloads from rcrdlbl.com in 2011 and loved the tracks straight away. But, and who knows, they somehow got lost in the mix and it was only a couple of months ago that I picked up their self-titled debut album that was issued on the always splendid Secretly Canadian label.

It really is lovely stuff, out there at times, but while it has its roots in indie/rock, it has a lot more; great vocals, great songs, lovely use of electronics and sounds, at times twisted funk and a dark under current that counters their bright harmonies and melodies. They quote probably my favourite band; Talking Heads as an influence and you can hear it, but it certainly doesn’t overtake them nor does any other influence which I think is what makes the album so fresh. The first 4 and 5 tracks make an exceptionally good opening that any album would be proud of so I have gone for one of those and it was no easy choice.

In the end I got it down to ‘Cruise Ships’ and the staccato pop of ‘Thorn Castles’ and then decided to go with the lead track 'Black Hills'- Typical – if you like it, make sure to check the album out.


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