Monday 28 Jul

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Pity party

Pity party

Why do the songs of Gardens & Villa sound so cheery? Because the band has dealt with death, drug abuse and homelessness, thank you very much

Joshua Boydston April 13th, 2011

Gardens & Villa with O Fidelis and The Antler Thief
8 p.m. Wednesday, April 20
The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western, 607-4805

It’s always sunny in California, but it’s been a while since the guys behind Gardens & Villa have found themselves in a comparably cheery mood.

Deaths, drug abuse and homelessness (three members currently split time living in friends’ houses and their tour van) have plagued the band and its social circle, but the music has reflected that in a manner opposite of what one might expect. Think of it as laughing to keep from crying.

“I feel like when times are really good, people play negative music, and when times get a little harder, they play more happy music,” singer Chris Lynch said. “There’s a release there, and that’s where we are at. It’s been a hard couple of years, but we’ve found a release in this.”

Their sound — ’80s-era David Bowie meets Ariel Pink meets Afrobeat — certainly comes across starkly different than the gloomy circumstances they’ve endured, but playing through the pain has helped. Hailing from Santa Barbara, the beach-party capital of the West Coast certainly hasn’t hurt.

“It’s not known for its music scene; it’s known for the partying and going to the beach. We really aren’t that into partying, but we like to bring that warm, palm-tree vibe, if you will,” Lynch said.

Adopting the “dance it out” policy has worked to the advantage of members and crowds alike, who have come to love the groove-heavy, authentic and sometimes melancholy, lo-fi dance ballads Gardens & Villa churns out, especially in a live setting.

“We want a powerful experience for all the people who are a part of it,” Lynch said. “We feel like it’s a successful show if we can get even one person to start dancing. And we pride ourselves on playing everything live. No backing tracks or people pressing a space bar on the computer.”

The rain cloud over their collective heads seems to be parting; their invigorating sets and a buzzed-about upcoming debut helped Gardens & Villa snag a record deal. The group kept the recording process fresh and loose, believing it would pay dividends in the final product.

“We recorded the whole album live in studio and onto tape, all analog. We’ve tried to capture an older style of recording an album, instead of doing a million takes on Pro Tools. It sort of establishes the vibe of the song,” Lynch said. “Giving everything in a few takes and trying to just nail it ... that’s how the album was done.”

If these harsh times have given them anything, it’s the knowledge that things don’t have to be perfect, and that may be for the better.

“We really tried to focus on the groove and the vibe and overall feel of the song. Soul is the biggest thing we tried to put in the album,” Lynch said. “There are plenty of mistakes on this album, but at least they were done with style.”

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