Late To The Gate: 2009 Indie Rock Releases from Patrick Watson, Viva Voce and White Rabbits
Sculpting songs that range from carnival-sounding track “Traveling Salesman” to the haunting transitions of “Where The Wild Things Are”, Patrick Watson demonstrate a sophistication in musical arrangements that give their sound a deeper, almost seductive sound as demonstrated on the title track “Wooden Arms” and the opening song “Fireweed”. The band also create songs that appeal to a larger, pop tune-loving audience. To that end, catchy songs such as “Man Like You” and “Big Bird In A Small Cage” fit the bill perfectly. Band members in addition to Watson include guitarist Simon Angell, bassist Mishka Stein and percussionist Robbie Kuster.
Portland’s Viva Voce‘s newest album, Rose City, reportedly written and recorded in less than a month, is a welcome departure from 2006′s applauded Get Yr Blood Sucked Out. On Rose City, original band members and husband-and-wife team Kevin and Anita Robinson recruited new members to provide a fuller, more engaging sound. And it worked – very well.
Besides Viva Voce being one of the best underrated female vocalist bands in recent years, Rose City is, for the most part, one of 2009′s overlooked album jems – surprising because it is a wonderful record featuring an array of well-crafted dark tracks like the alt rock of “Devotion”, the pleasant harmonies of “Octavio” or the spacey and lovely melodies of “Midnight Sun”.
Other popular indie husband-and-wife bands include Low, Yo La Tengo, Mates of State, White Stripes and Quasi.
White Rabbits 2009 release It’s Frightening is anything but scary; instead, the album is full of catchy, melodic songs wrapped in a rich array of instruments, including piano, tambourine, percussion, mandolin and guitars. While It’s Frightening could be forgotten once the best indie albums of the year lists come out in a few months, there are definitely some stand-out tracks worth checking out, such as “Percussion Gun”, “Right Where They Left”, “Company I Keep” and “They Done Wrong/ We Done Wrong”.