Wednesday, February 23, 2011
You've heard that song "Cleveland Rocks," right? You know, the Midwestern anthem that boasts the city's ability to "live in sin with a safety pin?" Whatever that means? Well, after spending the weekend with my new indie crushes, The Lighthouse and the Whaler, a fivesome out of the aforementioned Ohioan city, I want to write a new song titled, "Cleveland Folks!" Because holy crap, these boys are bringin' the folk.
Aaron Smith (violin, guitar, keyboards) told me that the band is most often likened to Fleet Foxes and Freelance Whales. And I can definitely hear those comparisons. Like Fleet Foxes, the band's notable strata of harmonies is soft yet complex, and like Freelance Whales, the instrumentation is ethereal and whimsical, particularly due to the xylophone, a frequent visitor across the band's ten-track debut LP.
I have to say, it took me awhile to select which song I wanted to post on the blog. Having the pick of the litter ain't easy, people.
Option #1: Album opener, "Under Mountain, Under Ground" is punctuated by vicious acoustic strumming and topped with aching falsetto vocals, the younger, sweeter cousin of Mumford and Sons' growls and foot stomps.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler - Under Mountain, Under Ground
Option #2: The driving "White Days," a hit single off the album, juxtaposes a sense of urgency with floating pop elements (again, that wondrous xylophone). Here, it's the labyrinthine lyrics that hold me captive. I'm not exactly positive of their meaning, but I could sit for hours attempting to extract their hidden message. What I do know is that they are beautiful.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler - White Days
Option #3: I ended up picking the road less traveled by for our Jam of the Day: a little ditty called "Windows." Fecund instrumentation prevails, of course. The tambourine is the first party guest to show up, but he's quickly joined by gorgeous violin, hand claps (just listen to the combo to really get it), and that ever-popular chap, the xylophone. At just under the 1:30 mark, a drumbeat drops and pushes the dreaminess into reality. But, it is not a reality without hope. Michael LoPresti sings, "Don't you wait for the hardest part/ The ones you love will hold you up..."
The Lighthouse and the Whaler - Windows
It is that simple sentiment that solidified my choice for JOTD. But, really, you just can't go wrong with these Ohio boys.
More The Lighthouse and the Whaler:
Our friend, Louis, shot beautiful pictures of the band when it performed back in January at the local Saint Louis venue, Cicero's. Take a look at his pictures on his concert photography blog, music VS man.
Most importantly, you gotta buy the album. The self-titled record came out in November 2009, and it's just lovely.