Sunday, November 16th, 2008
Sunday Cleaning - Volume 101
The Henry Clay People, Audrye Sessions
|The Henry Clay People / For Cheap Or For Free (Autumn Tone)
I tend to have a pre-conceived idea about what rock that comes out of Los Angeles sounds like. If it’s not hepped-up punk, then I assume that it’ll come with at least a moderate amount of inescapable studio slickness – maybe it’s the smog. But then you’ve got The Henry Clay People, whose mail goes to Irvine, CA but whose sound sounds more like it comes from the streets of Stockton (via the Pacific Northwest, perhaps). To be a bit clearer, take the slightly unhinged melodicism of Pavement, run it through the tightly-wound energy of The Thermals and let it sit in the dry desert sun outside a roadhouse for a few hours and you’re just about there. And as good as that might sound, it’s actually better.
|Audrye Sessions / Audrye Sessions (Black Seal)
Audrye Sessions, on the other hand, hail from Oakland but their debut EP sounds like it was pressed right on the Sunset Strip. Frontman Ryan Karajiza has one of those elastic, big rock voices that he feels compelled to use in elastic, big rock ways and coupled with an aural shine that you can check your hair in, it’s modern rock radio made to order. But there’s evidence that there’s substance under the sheen. Their live cover of Elliott Smith’s “Waltz #2”, one of the saddest and most beautiful songs ever written, is spare and genuinely affecting and their Daytrotter session further demonstrates their range and offers proof that they can not only rein it in and strip it down, but sound better when they do. Here’s hoping their debut full-length offers some more balance when it’s released February 17.