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Ready for Their Moment in the Sun - The Western States Motel
Imagine yourself gliding down the PCH with the warm summer breeze blowing through your hair in a red convertible (preferably with fins). This is the vibe that emanates from the Western States Motel's classic Californian sound. Originally a one man band, Carl Jordan formed, wrote, and produced this first album himself in his home in Los Angeles. With his new work hailed by critics as an intelligent, poppy disk Jordan was compared to Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Rumors have been circling since that Jordan has got himself a proper band. Naturally curious, I caught up with The Jordan before his show at the Spaceland in Silver Lake to see how his new band was working out.
"Hey, let's do something that will provoke the manager to come back here," grinned Jesse Taylor impishly, the lead guitarist.
We were huddled in probably the most unromantic spot I've ever held an interview, a tiny little intimate session on a cinderblock behind the 7/11 across from the venue.
Carl Jordan sat comfortably amongst his new band mates. Mike Schanzlin, the bassist, had played with him live since the first album. Brian Pearl, the keyboard man, unfortunately was about to leave the outfit for the glories of law school. And last but not least the two Jesses, Carmichael and Taylor respectively, who had lived together as well as playing in bands around Los Angeles for a number of years.
When asked whether he would allow these new members of his band to influence his creative process, Jordan just smiled. "We'll see," he said diplomatically. "There is a part of me that likes the whole Howard Hughes thing where you lock yourself up in your room experience." Pure musical nerdiness aside, Jordan's new outfit is even better than his first arrangement.
The Western States Motel - "Oh World"
As seasoned veterans of the Los Angeles music scene, his new band mates had a few horror stories to tell about their experiences here.
"This promoter once agreed to let us play at his venue if we managed to draw 250 people there. So we booked all of our own bands and promoted the hell out of the show, but in the end we only managed 220 people. But the place was packed, so we were pretty pleased with ourselves until the promoter caught up with us after the show and demanded to be paid for the thirty people that didn't show up." Jesse Carmichael recalled, wincing in pain as if it had happened yesterday.
With sharks like this it's a wonder bands manage to play in this town at all.
Thank God they do. When Western States Motel got on stage that night at the Spaceland the place was suddenly filled with a brightness that would warm the cockles of even Scrooge's heart.
"Moments in the Sun", a song off their new EP with an unbelievably long title, Painted Birds Flying in the Orange Mirror Sun, highlights the sheer joy of a Saturday morning, the preciousness of a Sunday brunch, and the glory of doing nothing; things that are sometimes unattainable in this hectic City of Dreams where everyone is busy having meetings at midnight and power brunches on Sunday mornings.
The Western States Motel are throwing their EP release party tonight at Safari Sam's. Admission is FREE. Clearly you have no choice but to go and bask in the glow of a band that's just hitting it's stride.
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