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Arts and Entertainment

Previewing a Potential Soundtrack to Summer

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Yesterday LAist enjoyed a little lunch-break entertainment at the Hotel Cafe thanks to a showcase event hosted by Nettwerk and featuring two of their label's artists, Leigh Nash and Josh Rouse. Nash, who was last seen a few years back fronting the now-defunct pop group Sixpence None the Richer, is prepping her solo debut album Blue on Blue for a mid-August release. Her tunes are thoughtful and very catchy (shades of her old band's infectiously annoying "Kiss Me" single), and are served well by her breathy and airy vocals. She actually wrote the material during her residency in Los Angeles a year or so back, and it's possible to discern a bit of our city's surrealistic luminosity and cinematic atmosphere in her music, particularly on our two favorites of the tracks she shared, "My Idea of Heaven" and "Along the Wall."

Following her short acoustic set was Rouse (pictured), who had made a mad dash to the Hotel Cafe after a live session on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, and had also played the Henry Ford Theatre the night before. During that earlier broadcast he had mentioned that he'd envisioned his latest album, Subtitulo, as a summertime record; while the rest of the nation is still warming up to springtime, here in LA we're heating up fast and heading into summer, so for us locals, the timing is just right. The album, as reflected in the set Rouse did along with a lovely string quartet, is as breezy and sweetly melodic as you'd like your summer to be, complete with balmy late-night escapades and perhaps even falling in love. Rouse opened his set just as the album opens, with "Quiet Town," and ended by sharing vocal duty with his girlfriend on the charming love song "The Man Who Doesn't Know How to Smile." The highlight for us--and perhaps Rouse, since he asked the strings to play the sweeping intro twice--was "O, I Need All the Love," a track from his EP Bedroom Classics, Vol. 2.

It was a little jarring to step back out into the bright midday sunlight after lunching in the cool comfort of the Hotel Cafe, but we soon took to humming strains of the tunes we'd just digested, and realized that if we'd just had a preview of our potential summer soundtrack, it wouldn't be so hard to adjust after all.

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Hear two tracks from Josh Rouse's Subtitulo on his MySpace page, and four tracks from Leigh Nash's unreleased album Blue on Blue on her MySpace page.