As the year has progressed, several great singles and EPs have been released for which I have written reviews or should have written reviews. I’ve waited for many of these bands to go ahead and release new full length albums before offering my thoughts, but several have not yet materialized. So, over the next week or two, I hope to share my enthusiasm for some great singles that have come along during 2014 that I’ve neglected to share.
Arts & Leisure
Every time a new record is released on Sacramento label Test Pattern Records, I get the sense that I need to at least visit that city, if not move there. I see the wonderful John Conley (Holiday Flyer, California Oranges, Desario) designed record sleeves and hear the great music coming out of that city and see show lineups to die for listed on social media and I think to myself – “What’s happening down there?”
“Weekend” is a perfect little 7” single to follow-up last year’s Arts & Leisure debut LP ChooseYour Adventure (my #27 pick for 2013). Arts & Leisure rose quickly from the end of veteran band Baby Grand, whom I had just learned of a few years back and was just getting involved with their cool, breezy sound. Now they’ve got a very basic old-fashioned straight-forward pop sound and it proves that if done right, it can sound fresh every time.
The A-side, “Weekend,” is as straight-forward musically as a band can get with its simple mid-tempo drum pattern and walking bass line, buzzing twin guitars and Gerri White’s breathy voice enhanced by Becky Cale’s harmonies. There’s nothing that stands out to describe about the song except that it sounds great, is memorable, and reminds of sunshine. Maybe the fact that the lyrics tend more towards something from The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Darklands than a California beach party is a cool unexpected twist. I’m a sucker for the girl groups and rainy day bleakness, so this will win out every time!
Likewise, the B-side, “Over You,” cruises along with a similar vibe. The vocals are more emphatic, as the killer chorus lets us know that they are “done crying over you.” If one is to be dumped, there’s worse ways to be let go than by a catchy tune.
This is a nice introduction to the band, but don’t let their debut go by the wayside – go out and get that one too!