At every turn of Brandon Schott’s 13 Satellites, at least a little piece of The Beatles lingers.
With cloud-hopping background harmonies, waltzing time signatures and touches of carny orchestration, 13 Satellites is full of the things that made Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band such a landmark album for The Beatles.
Schott, who will headline a show at Caffé Mela on June 30 with like-minded locals The Bloody Oranges, showcases his penchant for layering a myriad of instruments (most of which he plays himself) and counter-melodies throughout the 2011 album.
Though the record can seem to lag because of similar slow and middling tempos, the range of instrumentation — from tremolo guitar and pedal steel to farfisa organ and trombone, and everything in between — assures that something interesting is always going on.
The one minute, 37 seconds of intro “Annie” alerts you to what you’re in for, as Schott floats wordlessly through his vocal range over a bed of organs. What follows are 12 more short bursts of pop, none lasting more than 4:35.
Schott’s mastery shines in the bizarro bridge of kazoo and horns during “Satellite,” the quick-and-pretty, ukulele-driven “Building A Boat,” and album-highlight “Exploding Angel,” which mixes bouncy piano, studio trickery and a vocal refrain of “burning up with rage” juxtaposed with skying backgrounds to reach hard-biting pop heaven.
Expect a blast of melodies when Schott hits town. He has them in spades.
Pitchfork.TV just released an excellent 45-minute documentary on the making of Modest Mouse’s best album, 1997’s The Lonesome Crowded West. It’s an excellent look inside the mind of seemingly-crazed frontman Isaac Brock, who reveals that much of the lyrics were based on his disdain for the paving and strip-malling of the Seattle area, namely the band’s hometown of Issaquah. It’s also entertaining to hear about the inspiration for the character in “Cowboy Dan” and where the term “Doin’ the Cockroach” came from.
On the new music front, popular indie chamber-pop band Grizzly Bear has released “Sleeping Ute,” the first single from their upcoming album, and it is nothing short of amazing thanks to excellent vocals from Daniel Rossen and a guitar-heavy intro that is oddly reminiscent of 70s progsters Yes.
If you like an odd bent to your music, Emily Wells’ new album, Mama, is worth looking into. A violinist and highly creative vocalist, Wells mixes dusty dirges and hip hop-style beats on standouts like “Mama’s Gonna Give You Love” and “Let Your Guard Down,” and it makes for some arresting stuff.