With sophisticated savvy and singularity, the Los Angeles quartet Saint Motel has built a formidable reputation on the back of inventive indie pop and wildly-fun live shows. Mixing raw energy and rousing rhythms, Saint Motel's aural catharsis is pure bliss with a twist of cynical humor. According to A/J Jackson, singer and creative force behind Saint Motel, the band recently has expanded its repertoire to include “new elements that I would describe as tropical, Latin, big band, retro, that I don't think would have applied to our earlier music.”
This is the way of Saint Motel, not to be held down by stagnancies, but to continue a natural progression. Once the listener is pulled in by the pulsating and joyous melodies, delight can be found in the surprisingly avant-garde lyrical subject matter. Voyeur is lush with stories that reveal themselves through thematic twists and turns with a narrative voice both subversive and sincere. With themes ranging from the lure of plastic surgery, to the dangers of honest feedback, to the taboo bonds of friendship within the Heaven's Gate cult, we end up with tongue-in-cheek notions strung together by honest motifs, delivered with charm, often leaving the song's meanings open to interpretation.
Jackson admits “while all the songs are based on what many would call ?absurd' subject matter, many of the songs have various levels of subtext that I hope the listener will decipher with repeated listens. “And so, what might be easily perceived as sexy with one listen, with another might seem mean-spirited or flatly perverse. That is the flair of Saint Motel's rapturous pop and the graceful dichotomy of its existence.
Leftover Cuties: Some things are eternal. Love songs. California sunsets. The ukulele. Leftover Cuties embody all of that goodness on their debut album Places To Go. Produced by Tony Berg (Bob Dylan, Michael Penn, Jesca Hoop), the eleven breezy, sophisticated songs evoke a magic-hour stroll on the beach with a special someone. Who knows what year it is? Who cares when the songs are this sweet? To call Leftover Cuties retro or throwback would be too easy, and frankly dismissive. Sure, the music fits beside Billie Holiday, but it’s also current in its sex appeal, its sophistication, its confidence. The Cuties’ music – plied with upright bass, accordion, the brushed drums, and yes, ukulele – is not slavishly old-timey, but honors its forebears in the right way. Melody. Sharp playing. Stylized, confident, character-laden singing.
Animal Games: The foundation of what is now officially “Animal Games” began taking form in late 2007, when long-time ex band mates Juan Pablo Grado and Frank Tobias agreed to develop a new project after having exercised practicality for a period of time. The two sought out to achieve a brand of discharge that encompassed no rules and paid tribute to a plethora of influences/sounds; be it the raunchy rhythms of glorious punk bands or the beautiful yet sometimes comical melodies of ambassadors from the 80?s, and everything outside and in between. The project teased and sometimes tortured itself with several musicians before lining up appropriately. In sum, three years of trial and error at several positions resulted in the implantation of Matt Hansen and Daniel Gonzalez, who provide the band’s beating and coloring, respectively. In the summer of 2010, vocalist Chris Buxton-Smith crossed paths with Animal Games. Having left a scattered trail that passed through the likes of Mississippi and San Francisco, Smith gracefully finalizes a group that cohesively and patiently pumps out songs that represent the games that you and I play…