Bay Area bands breathe new life into a salty, windswept West Coast tradition
"His approach is very different from mine; he writes these poems, basically, and the music is an accompaniment to that. It's very lyric-centric, and playing in his group each night was this very spontaneous thing," he says. "The songs were not super-arranged, not 'Ok, you hit the crash cymbal three times, then the guitar goes like this and we do a jump-kick,' none of the preciseness I was used to. So every show was different. A lot of the shows were amazing, a few were total shitshows. But that was a way to do things that had never really crossed my mind, and it had a big influence on me."
He took the songs he'd shelved and rearranged them, playing them with open tuning, all in D major. "Especially when we play live, I think you can see an openness to the sound that's new for me," he says. Certainly it's reassuring, in part, to have familiar folks at his side for that: The Sandy's album features includes former Botticellis co-writer Blythe Foster, Zack Ehrlich (of Sonny & the Sunsets and Vetiver), Burton Li (Citay), Ryan Browne (Sonny & the Sunsets and Tortured Genie), Apollo Sunshine's Jeremy Black, and Range of Light Wilderness' Nick Aive.
As for the pervasive sense of melancholy, Glickman acknowledges that Chris Bell's I Am the Cosmos — the epically composed folk-power-pop opus by the tortured and underappreciated Big Star songwriter — was on repeat during the year or so after the Botticellis broke up (a time in which Glickman also had a relationship end), during which Glickman was writing these songs.
And yet: "We have a lot of fun at our shows, and I get the sense that the audience comes to shows to smile and have fun, and that's kinda new for me too," he says with a laugh. "When I was in my 20s, I had a lot to say and I wanted to make this beautiful music and share this experience with people, but I don't think anywhere in that experience was the word fun. Now there's a lighthearted element there."
ELECTRO-FOREST NYMPH JAMS?
"I think we're both just naturally more inspired when we can be in nature," says Emily Ritz, one-half of the psych-folk duo Yesway, who released their self-titled debut June 3. She and bandmate Kacey Johansing, who've been moving in musical circles around one another since meeting at the Hotel Utah's open mic in 2006 (Ritz is in the noir-pop band DRMS, Johansing's provided vocals for the likes of Geographer, and more recently has enjoyed local success as a solo singer-songwriter) have called from the road — they're on a mini-tour of the East Coast, with our conversation providing the soundtrack for their drive from Brooklyn to upstate New York.
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