By Eve Marcellus
Remember when discovering the next big hit meant sitting in smokey jazz clubs or punk dive bars, drinking cheap well drinks? Well the internet has changed the game! SFCritic receives lots of new music from emerging artists, and we’re here to share. If you have something you’d like us to hear, send it over. We’ll be listening, reviewing, and posting new music from the inbox regularly.
Here’s what we’ve got this week:
The Three Potato
The Three Potato 4 is the solo project of Hayes Valley-based musician, Ryan Kittleman. Recorded over nine months in his apartment, Album Savant is a successfully airy and listenable record. According to his record label, “the lush cello arrangements of George Chavez provide a bed for the Casio keyboards, dollar store toys, and found instruments to accompany the more conventional instruments: guitar, vocals, and drum machines.”
That level of dedication to an eclectic sound can come off sounding a bit messy, but Kittleman keeps the arrangements neat throughout. The vocals are soft and sleepy, making the songs sound almost vintage. It is the type of album you want to listen to during a candlelit dinner.
Kittleman needs to take his obvious instrumental skill and keyboard-heavy aesthetic in a more upbeat, pop direction. For someone who self-reportedly “cut my teeth on the margins of the New York punk scene”, pushing the envelope could lead to some interesting things to come.
Sounds Like: Pet Sounds, a little. Beirut, a little. But both are a stretch.
Listen To: Heather’s Feather, Sometimes She Said, Victory
Early And Often
Early and Often is a band from Sacramento, fronted by Jeff Wright. Wright personally recorded all the tracks on the album (due for an October 2009 12” vinyl release) as part of an ambitious project to record 19 songs before his 19th birthday. While Wright didn’t make it to 19 (just 11), the results of his labor of love are compiled on the band’s debut “Golden Arms”.
Upon listening to these tracks, my first reaction–“how very Dashboard of them!” The album is personal, and the majority of the tracks focus on Wright crooning lyrics that seem to be intentionally murky. Instrumentally the album is fairly strong. Wright experiments with some different sounds and interesting arrangements, but fails to marry these with his somber lyrics. If Wright can refine his songwriting skills and continue to progress technically, he’ll definitely be worth a second listen.
Sounds Like: The Plain White T’s with a dark side.
Listen to: The Darkened Grave, Run With The Horses
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