December 12, 2017 by 1888media
A convergence of sound and space, LA experimental folk collective We Are The West are dedicated song-stylists who have developed a uniquely immersive approach to performance, playing both concert halls and improvised venues, including their preeminent underground parking garage concert series.
On March 30, 2018, We Are The West will release their first full-length album, The Golden Shore. Opening the mythical expedition is contemplative lead track, “Siren,” which was recorded live, and features the core sound of Brett Hool‘s vocal/guitar sailing atop the soundscape of John Kibler‘s upright bass, and Jesse Olsen Bay’s ghostly accordion. With a subtle mix by Jonathan Burnside [Melvins, Red House Painters, The Sleepy Jackson], the raw acoustics serve as the base for the epic journey that lies ahead, bringing The Golden Shore into focus. Acclaimed music discovery outlet, Under The Radar, which bills itself as “The solution to music pollution,” recently premiered the official music video, which sees Hool and Kibler disassembling an old Lowery organ at sunset, though shown in reverse, so it appears it’s being built at sunrise. Noted the publication, “Low Anthem, Led Zeppelin & Moody Blues all come delightfully to mind.”
Formed in a shipping container on a sheep farm in Holland, Brett and John 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” [Albuquerque Journal], the group now includes an extended family of musicians with drummer / vocalist Elizabeth Goodfellow [Iron & Wine], Sylvain Carton [Beats Antique, John Vanderslice] on clarinet / saxophone, Ben Tolliday [Lord Huron, Wolfmother] on cello, Joe Kennedy [Ariel Pink, Sia] on keys, Paul Cox [Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra] on organ, Ben Peeler [Father John Misty, Dawes] on pedal steel, and Mathias Künzli [Regina Spektor, John Zorn] on percussion.
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 [Yo-Yo Ma’s 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.
Having released four EPs to date, each recorded in a different improvised locale—their LA parking garage, a barn in western New York, the high desert of New Mexico, and a ranch in Sebastopol—the band went to Grammy-winning engineer Husky Höskulds [Norah Jones, Ornette Coleman, Tom Waits] in downtown Los Angeles to record live as a trio with Goodfellow.
Hool and Kibler then spent the next year orchestrating and overdubbing with their large network of musical friends. In addition to Goodfellow, Carton, Cox, Bay, Kennedy, and Tolliday, 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 [Feist, Real Vocal String Quartet] played cello, Jesse Olsen Bay [Ramon and Jessica] added various keyboards, Marië Abe [Debo Band] played accordion, Amy Sanchez [LA Phil, Kendrick Lamar] played french horn, Sacha Schneider played harp, and Kristen Toedtman [LA Master Chorale] added her voice to the WATW choir.
The band then enlisted ARIA-winning producer, Jonathan Burnside to mix and master. The resulting sound is lush and fully-realized, the songs epic, intricate, and moving, the album, a journey from top to bottom, a grand achievement for a true ‘garage band’.
The LA music scene’s best-kept-secret of the past six years, We Are The West’s ‘Underground 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, akin to an immersive art installation. With opening sets from established artists and acclaimed bands [Lord Huron, Gaby Moreno, Micah Nelson, Aaron Embry], to chamber groups and avant-garde sound experiments, The Garage provides a thoroughly welcoming environment, a perfect setting for We Are The West’s transformative alchemy.
“Virtuosos.” Santa Monica Daily Press
“Distinct, rich, and full of emotion.” Music Connection
“Feels like the wave of the future.” Los Angeles Magazine
“One of the lifeblood bands of LA’s music scene.” Under The Radar
Jan 26 – Ojai, CA @ Underground Lounge (w/ The Chillz)
Jan 27 – Santa Monica, CA @ The Underground Garage (w/ Jamie Drake)
Feb 08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Satellite (w/ The Wind + The Wave)
Feb 24 – Santa Monica, CA @ The Underground Garage