I first heard Santa Cruz’s Beatbeat Whisper (myspace) (formerly called “Flatbread Kids” and formerly out of Stanford, I believe) over at the Deli SF blog late last week (though, apparently my fellow KZSU DJ Natalie has been trumpeting them for months and one of the album tracks was actually recorded on her show—maybe I should pay more attention). It stewed for a couple days and by the time I heard their album before my radio show yesterday, my thinking on the subject was something in the vein of (excuse my language) “holy shitballs! This is good!”
Beatbeat Whisper is a boy-girl duo with lovely, light and airy folky songs. Their use of many different odd instruments (guitar, mandolin, autoharp, mbira or kalimba, banjo) on their recordings reminds me a bit of another great folky Adem. They’re also similar, in a way, to another local band I’m a fan of, the Finches. Their recordings are a bit sloppy, a bit lo-fi at times. Sometimes this is great and works well, and sometimes, to be honest, I find myself wanting things to be a little cleaner.
The songs on their self-title debut range from folk/ noise collage at points to lovely self-penned songs that really recall tradition American songs or Anglo-American ballads. Some are melancholy and some are silly, though they tend toward the melancholy in general.
“Lulu” is a fantastic tune. It’s what first made my ears first perk up. It starts with an atmospheric background and soon there’s a melancholy and beautiful finger-picked guitar part. I really like the chorus, the music, the melody and the lyrics. If you download one song this week, it should be this.
Beatbeat Whisper – Lulu (mp3)
I had a really hard time picking a second song to share; there were about four different ones that I thought seriously about. In the end, I really couldn’t pass up “Play Me a Time” which is essentially a gorgeous lullaby with autoharp, but ends up more orchestrated, but still has a soothing lilt to it the whole way through. Had a hard week or a friend is irritating you? Try listening to this song.
There are a couple more mp3s available for download at their myspace
They happen to be playing Stanford on Saturday, so I’ll zip over for that:
Apr 14 2007 7:00P Stanford Art Affair/Soundtrack Release show Stanford, California
Here are the rest of the confirmed tour dates:
Apr 21 2007 1:00P Earth Day Festival! Lagunitas, California
Apr 27 2007 8:00P Caffe Pergolesi Santa Cruz, California
Apr 28 2007 1:00P Slide Ranch Spring Fling Muir Beach, California
May 7 2007 5:00P UC Davis CoHo Live Davis, California
May 9 2007 8:00P UCSC w/ Alela Diane Santa Cruz, California
May 13 2007 1:00P Venice Contemporary Los Angeles, California
May 13 2007 8:00P The Habitat San Diego, California
May 14 2007 10:15P Dublin’s Square Downtown San Diego, California
May 18 2007 9:00P Pehrspace Los Angeles, California
May 20 2007 6:00P KCPR 91.3 FM in-studio San Louis Obispo, California
Looks like only the CA is lucky enough for now, but keep an eye out of these guys.
Their album is available for the low low price of $8.