Bay Area bands breathe new life into a salty, windswept West Coast tradition
Though they forged their friendship and musical collaborations in San Francisco, both musicians have since moved to small beach towns in the North Bay, whose lush wilderness and dreamy pace of life unmistakably color songs like "Woahcean" and "Howlin' Face." The pair's voices layer over and call-and-response to one another in unexpected ways over fingerpicked acoustic guitar that flits like light on water; throughout the album, there's the soothing hush of being surrounded by tall trees as opposed to skyscraper, while electronic elements, vibraphones, odd time signatures, and the odd R&B/hip-hop percussive move keep you wide-awake. This isn't easy-listening music.
It helps, of course, that they're strong singers; there's an easy harmony that feels like they're letting you in on something. "We do have a really unique musical connection, and I think that comes across to people right away," says Ritz. "We both have voices that are really different from each other, but they melt together in a way. I think it's rare to see two front women, two kind of powerhouse vocalists come together, meet each other as equals musically, and create something totally different together." They'll headline the Rickshaw Stop June 25, so you can go suss out exactly what that is for yourself.
ALSO: This coming weekend is overwhelmingly packed with good shows, so time to make some decisions. Marcus Cohen & the Congress, who bring their funk-soul-hip-hop-R&B stew to the Great American Music Hall Fri/6, are one option that will not likely disappoint. Last time I saw them live I'm pretty sure no one left without a dancing-tired grin on their face. Check the Noise blog for a conversation with Cohen this week.