We get a lot of e-mails, most of which are addressed to 15 different people, that say, “Hello blogger. My name is (person). I am a DJ/in a band called _____ and we think you’d love our sound. We respect your blog. We’d love to see us on it. Here is a song to post. Thanks.” It’s become a monthly routine of wading through them and seeing if there’s anything great in the pile. Recently, we received a personalized e-mail (oooohh) from Hallie Pritts of Boca Chica, a pretty little folk project out of Pittsburgh. A few seconds into the banjo intro, I was sold.
Boca Chica offers up some swoon-worthy Americana. Pritts’ vocals come through with that warm, smokey elegance of Zooey Deschanel or Jolie Holland (jesuschristamihiporwhat). It’s the type of stuff that would soundtrack an indie film remake of The Adventures of Pete and Pete (powers that be, your inspiration has arrived). Sure, it’s not a sound that experiments with free jazz techniques or draws any inspiration from Brian Eno, but that’s what’s so great about it. It’s baroque pop with an honest folk heart. It’s nice.
Boca Chica – “Lake Erie” (from Lace Up Your Workboots)
Here’s a list from Hallie Pritts.
1) Lohio – “Grandfather’s Chaise” (from Lohio EP) – “This is a new track from one of my favorite Pittsburgh bands. I really like the unpredictable chords at the beginning and the end and the way the solo builds and mixes elements of more cerebral folkpop with just a really great, simple, Neil Young-esque distorted guitar solo. I like the non-traditional song structure. It’s like the song is saying ‘Oh God, I feel so much that I can only express my emotions through this awesome guitar solo.’ Bam. Great band.”
2) The Harlan Twins – “Coral Castle” – “This is another Pittsburgh favorite of mine. Seeing the Harlan Twins live kind of makes up for you having missed the 1970s. I mean, obviously not totally. But you see them, and you’re like ‘Damn, it probably would have been more awesome to see Mick Jagger in 1976, but this is pretty good too.’ I really like the desperate feeling of this song. Don’t you just want to drink too much whiskey and nod along?”
3) Great Lake Swimmers – “Palmistry” (from Lost Channels) – “Tony Dekker has the most beautiful voice in the world. I think maybe that’s all I have to say.”
4) Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers – “Get the Fever Out” (from Songs In The Night) – “I had the great fortune to see Samantha Crain when she came through Pittsburgh last month. I love her band—they have a cool, jangly sound. Kind of like Loretta Lynn’s backing band mixed with early Wilco. As to this specific song, I love the break down in the middle, where all the vocals come in. Sometimes I skip back to it and listen to it over and over again.”
5) Dr. Dog – “The Breeze” (from Fate) – “The cute percussion, the vocal echoes, the little break down, the simplicity! Are those real clarinets and flutes or is it a mellotron? Do I care? What’s not to love about this Dr. Dog song?”