This is what Los Angeles is all about: warm nights, cocktails, good music, and an ocean breeze. This Wednesday, join us in our pool side Cactus Lounge for another toe-tapping edition of The Standard, Hollywood’s Desert Nights. This week’s line-up is guaranteed to soothe your soul and jump start your heart.
Photo by Cary Brothers
Harper Blynn: “If pop hooks were Monopoly money, this foursome would be buying hotels on Park Place by now.” -Time Out New York
Harper Blynn is classic pop reimagined. The band’s instantly hummable music is remarkable not only for its breadth but also its intimacy, ranging from four-on-the-floor dance stompers to near-whispered pleas for understanding. In 2009, the Brooklyn quartet caught the ear of journeyman producer David Kahne (Paul McCartney, The Strokes), who signed on to produce their debut full-length, Loneliest Generation. Besides playing over 150 dates in 2010, the band also managed to release a self-produced eponymous EP that demonstrates the tremendous growth and confidence that a year on the road can provide. As inspiring as these recordings are, Harper Blynn effortlessly transcends them in concert, delivering three-part harmonies over a smartly-arranged blend of guitar, keyboards, bass and drums that is at once minimalistically modern and timelessly organic. In fact, the band’s musical proficiency and on-stage chemistry raise an uncomfortable question: “Where did all the real bands go?” We may never know for sure, but at least there’s one still standing: Harper Blynn. -David Mead
Sydney Wayser: Sydney Wayser is a French-American, New York-based singer-songwriter who plays guitar, piano and children’s toys. Growing up in Los Angeles with summers spent in Paris (check out her great suggestions for modern French music here), she draws on a wide range of influences and inspirations, from Edith Piaf, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Jacques Brel, to John Lennon, Jeff Buckley, and Sigur Ros. Her third album, Bell Choir Coast, has been two years in the making; struggling to express herself creatively in the midst of a miserable New York winter, Wayser decided that if she couldn’t go elsewhere, she’d bring other lands to her. “Bell Choir Coast is about a fictional land that I made up, because I couldn’t leave New York and I had to make my record. So I made up a new world in my head that was everything I wanted.” The result is the gorgeous and varied Bell Choir Coast. More than an record, it is an atlas, a map past difficult years and emotional terrain, to a place of self-understanding and agency. Sydney Wayser set about to make an album, and in the end she cleared a path to a world, and in the process she found her tribe and her sound.
Anthony Polcino of The Soft Pipes: Given the climate of today’s seemingly over-saturated indie rock scene, it seems more often than we’d like to admit that the material being dug up by new projects such as this either isn’t believable, lacks a feeling that might at least make it musically interesting, or worse- both. Nevertheless, The Soft Pipes manages to capture a definite vibe that will no doubt be welcomed to the burgeoning family of dream pop/rock acts like Beach House and Deerhunter. It also doesn’t hurt to mention that because of the self-sufficient nature of a project like The Soft Pipes, new material is always in the making. Hopefully for our sake, we’ll hear it more often than not.
What is Desert Nights?
Desert Nights is a weekly gathering at The Standard, Hollywood, hosted by KCRW’s DJ Valida. Every Wednesday, Valida curates three acoustic musical acts to perform a set in the Cactus Lounge. The vibe is warm and intimate, evoking an impromptu jam in a musician’s living room. The music begins at 7:30pm, it’s always free and always a good time. Guaranteed.