Recorded at San Francisco's semi-legendary Tiny Telephone studio, "Bad Trip" by Secret Cities is the sound of an indie-pop band coming into its own. More noisey than twee, more tuneful than coy, the track would fit right in on a playlist anchored by Camera Obscura or Rilo Kiley.
Drenched in horns, group harmonies and a bit of guitar jangle, "Another Song" by San Francisco band Adios Amigo has the kind of expert, joyful '60s pop sound that could clear the darkest clouds from the darkest skies.
At 7:47 p.m. I was running down Olive Street in downtown St. Louis. I was three blocks away from the 8 p.m. show at Plush, where Christina Perri was headlining her "Head or Heart" tour, with Birdy opening. The surrounding lots and street parking were full; in hindsight, I'm not sure the running was necessary, so I'll chalk it up to anticipation of seeing two women rock the stage for three hours.
Call it "folkstep" or "dubpop," the music of Morning Ritual -- a collaboration between composer Ben Darwish and two twin sisters, Katelyn and Laurie Shook, known as (aka the Shook Twins) -- is both highly conceptual and highly pleasurable. The new single "So Cold" has a warmth and harmonic intricacy that defies categorization.
The creative process can be arduous. Without the right elements, working an internal dialogue into a malleable mass of creative genius can feel wrong. It takes time. It takes a curative flair. Bands like Local Natives understand the ingredients that go into records anointed with emotions that settle deeper than the soul, and it's why why people go see bands like Local Natives.