WE ARE THE WEST: The Golden Shore
October 18, 2017 by 1888media
Crafting an immersive convergence of sound and space, LA’s We Are The West are dedicated song-stylists who have developed a uniquely metaphysical approach to performance, playing both concert halls and improvised venues, including their acclaimed Underground Series, held in a subterranean parking garage in Santa Monica the Saturday before each month’s full moon.
Brett Hool [voice/guitar] and John Kibler [bass/voice] formed We Are The West in a shipping container on a sheep farm in Holland, and began performing as a duo in an abandoned convent in Brooklyn, before moving back to California. Originally described as “a two-man orchestra of stunning vocals, meditative guitar, and exploratory double bass” [ABQ Journal], the group now includes an extended family of musicians with Sylvain Carton [clarinet/saxophone], Ben Tolliday [cello], Joe Kennedy [keys], Paul Cox [organ], Mathias Künzli [percussion], and drummer / vocalist Elizabeth Goodfellow, (touring drummer for Iron & Wine).
Often seeking out nontraditional and acoustically inspirational spaces in which to perform and record, their national tours have included performances in natural desert amphitheaters, mine shafts, tow lots, redwood groves, sunset coves, and masonic temples, in addition to traditional theaters and festivals.
Onstage they have supported Lord Huron, Pete Yorn, and Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, as well as chamber artists Kinan Azmeh [Silk Road Ensemble] and Real Vocal String Quartet.
Their recordings have been featured in compilations for organizations such as Textura, Sound and Motion, and the Surfrider Foundation.
The LA music scene’s best-kept-secret of the past few years, We Are The West’s underground parking garage concert series presents a recontextualized and genuinely deep musical experience. The Saturday before each full moon, the band transforms an everyday office parking garage into an extraordinary performance space.
Spring 2018, they will release their first full-length album ‘The Golden Shore.’ To date, We Are The West has released four EPs, each recorded in a different improvised locale: their Santa Monica parking garage, a barn in western New York, the high desert of New Mexico, and a ranch in Sebastopol.
For the The Golden Shore, Hool and Kibler went to Grammy-winning engineer Husky Höskulds in downtown Los Angeles to record live as a trio, with Goodfellow on drums. Then came twelve months of orchestrating and overdubbing within a large network of musical friends.
In addition to Carton, Cox, Kennedy, Tolliday, and Goodfellow, regular collaborator Michael Bush added guitars, Mark Hart [Crowded House, Supertramp] added piano and organ, Dina Maccabee [Feist, Julia Holter] played viola and violin, Jessica Ivry [Real Vocal String Quartet] played cello, Jesse Olsen Bay [Ramon & Jessica] added various keyboards, Amy Sanchez [L.A. Philharmonic] played french horn, Sacha Schneider played harp,Marië Abe [Debo Band] played accordion, and Kristen Toedtman [L.A. Master Chorale] added her voice to the WATW choir.
The band then enlisted Aria-winner Jonathan Burnside to mix and master. The resulting sound is lush and fully realized, the songs epic, intricate, and moving. The 11-track album is a journey from beginning to end, a grand achievement for a true ‘garage band.’
“Siren” is the opening track of The Golden Shore, recorded live by Husky Höskulds and featuring the core sound of Brett Hool’s vocal and guitar sailing atop the soundscape of John Kibler’s upright bass, augmented by ghostly accordion played by Jesse Olsen Bay. Burnside’s subtle mix enhances the raw acoustics that serve as the base for the transportive excursion that lies ahead as The Golden Shore rises along the horizon.
We Are The West
3. For Me, For You
11. Tonight’s Tonight