Gardens & Villa
In the year of the saxophone, Santa Barbara's Gardens & Villa give us the flute. And along the way, G&V effectively wipe clear the vaseline from the murky bedroom funk of recent days. G&V bang out instant classics -- each crystal clear and immaculate, but no less sweeping or languid. Their debut is a youthful exploration of just how opulent and pop starkness can go. It also leaves an impression of California in the way that Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park series or the pool party scene from The Graduate both do, always sensed more than stated outright.
Gardens & Villa channel all the taut pop precisions of 90s Britpop of bands like Blur (borrowed from the 60s anyhow), and send it through an 80s synth filter both undeniably coastal and modern. It's Spoon's Kill The Moonlight lost in a daydream, but with that same hungry energy. Gardens & Villa may simultaneously pull from Gary Numan, The Kinks and odder prog within one composition. And like a fine sweet tea, it's made just that right kind of sugary -- though even the most upbeat tunes have an undercurrent of the bittersweet and the lost at heart.
In 2010, Gardens & Villa traveled to Oregon to record their debut with visionary, vibemaster and labelmate Richard Swift. Together, they put some sand in the sheets of new wave ("Black Hills") and pop some translucent funk ("Orange Blossom"). There's also a level of effortless class maintained across the whole set. Each and every lush little gem explores the wonderful mystery between intuition and proficiency, between tension and repose.
Gardens & Villa are Chris Lynch, Adam Rasmussen, Levi Hayden, Shane McKillop and Dusty Ineman.