Bring on the California Indie-Electro-Pop!
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In the year of the saxophone, Santa Barbara’s Gardens & Villa give us the flute. And along the way, G&V effectively wipe clear the vaseline from the murky bedroom funk of recent days. G&V bang out instant classics — each crystal clear and immaculate, but no less sweeping or languid. Their debut is a youthful exploration of just how opulent and pop starkness can go. It also leaves an impression of California in the way that Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series or the pool party scene from The Graduate both do, always sensed more than stated outright.
Gardens & Villa channel all the taut pop precisions of 90s Britpop of bands like Blur (borrowed from the 60s anyhow), and send it through an 80s synth filter both undeniably coastal and modern. It’s Spoon’s Kill The Moonlight lost in a daydream, but with that same hungry energy. Gardens & Villa may simultaneously pull from Gary Numan, The Kinks and odder prog within one composition. And like a fine sweet tea, it’s made just that right kind of sugary — though even the most upbeat tunes have an undercurrent of the bittersweet and the lost at heart.
In 2010, Gardens & Villa traveled to Oregon to record their debut with visionary, vibemaster and labelmate Richard Swift. Together, they put some sand in the sheets of new wave (“Black Hills”) and pop some translucent funk (“Orange Blossom”). There’s also a level of effortless class maintained across the whole set. Each and every lush little gem explores the wonderful mystery between intuition and proficiency, between tension and repose.
Chattanooga, TN based electro-pop trio Machines Are People Too released their debut EP Dreams, produced by Lars Stolfers (Mars Volta, Matt & Kim, Le Butcherettes, Funeral Party) in early July, 2012 and have received nothing but rave reviews since. The combination of world-class drummer Ivan Garcia’s danceable beats with the creative and catchy synth lines of lead singer Brian Sylvester and multi-instrumentalist Cain Lassiter make for a powerful five song collection. Their high-energy live show is equally impressive and has garnered them significant buzz in the southeast, hence why, despite having never officially released any recordings, the band was asked to play several major 2012 festivals. The same buzz has also earned MRP2 stage time alongside standout acts from a variety of different genres including Foster The People, G. Love, Miami Horror, Thievery Corporation, Two Fresh and Ghostland Observatory.