Track Review: The Open Feel- Sidewalk Zombies

 

TRACK REVIEW:

 

 

 

The Open Feel

Sidewalk Zombies

 

9.6/10.0

The track, Sidewalk Zombies is available from:

http://theopenfeel.bandcamp.com/

Written by Katie Harris and Tom Brayton

Produced by The Open Feel

Recorded at The Basement Studio in Claremont, CA

Engineered by Tom Brayton

The E.P., The Open Feel is available via:

http://theopenfeel.bandcamp.com/album/the-open-feel-ep

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The L.A.-based duo are presently laying the foundations of their debut L.P. Sidewalk Zombies hints at a future which includes beauty, seduction, slice-of-life truths- and an incredible amount of power.

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IT is a rare treat when I get to investigate artists from across the Atlantic.

Much of my wanderings and examinations have revolved around U.K. acts, so it is always nice to hop on a musical plane; get my passport out, and enjoy some international sites. In historical terms, the U.S. has provided the world with some of the greatest and most memorable music of all-time. At the current time, plenty of mainstream acts such as Queens of the Stone Age are ruling the kingdom, and there are a huge wave of new American artists keen to come through- and follow in their footsteps. As my featured act are L.A.-based and a duo, my mind has been thinking about those too disparate and varied plains. Cayucus, Jenny O, Kisses and Warship are recent examples of acts that are putting the city on the map, but in all fairness, L.A. has always been at the forefront of music. In a blog post back in January, L.A. Weekly expounded the virtues and wonders of the music scene in Los Angeles. When explaining why the city was one of the most fertile stomping grounds for new musicians, they theorised: “We possess, of course, the requisite corporate music-industry behemoths: the Grammys, the major record labels and PR companies, Beats by Dre and Diddy’s Revolt TV, for starters. Equally important are our smaller cultural institutions, including the Smell, Pehrspace, Vex Arts, Dublab and the Do Lab, breeding grounds for emerging artists. Then there are the influential parties – Low End Theory, Das Bunker, the Do Over, Funkmosphere – which serve as breeding grounds for creative types. You’ll find exciting talent everywhere, from the Sunset Strip to backyard punk shows in East and South L.A.” Amongst the blog’s extemperanious outpourings, one of the most distinctive arguments was this: the range of genres on offer is staggering. Murs raps on the Sunset Strip; Echo Park’s The Growlers can be heard seducing in Echo Park; Latin Jazz can be heard wafting from downtown promenades and bars; The Entrance Band and Psych-Rock proceedings are often witnessed down at Silver Lake- the city is a mecca for diversity and music entnocentrisism. There is no boastfulness or arrogance; the city is open and all-inclusive, and as such, is marking itself out as the epicentre for new music. Of course, Nashville and Detroit offer up a great deal; New York and Seattle are axiomatic hubs for some of the U.S.’s best- and have provided some of the most legendary musicians ever. L.A. can be seen as the Dance capital of the world; a myriad of local labels provide sanctuary and nurturing for the city’s most ambitious folk, and festivals such as Coachella are amongst the world’s most important musical dates. There is a solitude and peacefulness that can enjoyed, and the clement and summery weather is conducive with prosperous and inspired musical mandates. Pitchfork wrote an article about the many San Francisco musicians who have departed for L.A., including Ty Segall and John Dwyer, who called L.A. “a place where creative people can come together, swap ideas; it’s a place of artistic cultivation. Plus I think there is a certain seedy, creepy mystery that has always lived here. It’s a good place for the freak, and the phantom.” Many out-of-towners have been drawn in by the great weather, the networking opportunities and the spaciousness the city offers up. Niche neighbourhoods and locales such as Venice Beach sees clans of musicians play and ply their trade; the natural beauty and diversities that is provided compels creative minds. With so much on offer, and with a humongous amount of diversity available on the Los Angeles menu, it is not a shock to see so many new acts coming through (here). My featured act call L.A. home, and have benefited from the city’s beneficial charms and bounteous recesses. When looking at the musical stratigraphy and the various formations and flavours that are available, there is something for everyone. Plenty of bands play around L.A. and if you prefer your sounds heavier and Metal-infused; are more akin to Sunshine Pop and melodic offerings, then you cannot go wrong- from both bands and solo acts. In terms of duos playing around L.A., there are newcomers such as Little Dove getting a lot of positive press- this is an act that I will investigate soon, as I love their music. Others such as Deap Valley gLAdiator are making waves, but it seems that stronger links need to be formed between the U.S. and U.K. music media. We must come across as dunderheads when we proclaims a great L.A. act and how urgent and new they are- unaware they have been playing for years now. This seems to be happening a lot, with many acts making their way to us long after their birth. Whether our media are marginalizing U.S. acts or else prioritising homegrown ones, I am uncertain, but the fact is that we are missing out on some great sounds. I am not saying we need to mollycoddle L.A. (and U.S.) artists, but more effort needs to be made. Los Angeles offers allegorical splendour, primal and sweat-induced diversions and beautiful plumages, and they are being lost between the cracks. It is not just their duos whom are providing the most excitement, but there are many terrific solo acts and specialised artists causing twitterpation. The issue at hand may be one that is insolvable and terminal, but I am hoping that a change is afoot. It is always great when you discover a great act (L.A.-based or otherwise), and feel that they are somewhat under-appreciated and overlooked. My featured act is two guys I have been aware of- in awe of- for a long time now, and have a sound that us London bods would love to see; that can influence and inspire many new artists around these parts- as well as influence new musicians from all around the world. It has been a while since I have brought this act to your attentions, so it is with a revitalised heart that I do so today.

Californian treasures Katie Harris and Tom Brayton are a duo I have reviewed in the past, and I can pay testament to how vibrant and impressive their music is. Before I go into more detail about previous interactions, let me give you some biography about the intrepid two-piece:

The Open Feel is the alternative rock creation of Katie Harris (Vocals and Guitars) and Tom Brayton (Drums and Bass). The band began as a songwriting collaboration to give the duo an avenue to create music that was “as honest as possible for the two of us.” Without the aim of creating anything “commercial” or “spin-worthy,” they sat down and began experimenting and writing. After a year and a half, they felt they had finally found the “sound” that they wanted to develop into a band. It was then that the dreamy and ethereal rock band The Open Feel was born. They began recording their debut EP in the summer of 2009 at their home studio in Southern California with Harris and Brayton playing all the instruments (with a little help on guitar from good friend Clint Walsh on the song Detach) and taking on engineering and producing duties. Mixed by Will Brierre and mastered by Steve Hall, The Open Feel EP was released in 2010.

When I reviewed the duo’s track Kiss, Kill (Back to Love), I was impressed, not only by the uniqueness and freshness of the song itself; but at how assured and striking their sound was. In April of last year, I had not been exposed to too many (new) U.S. acts, so the arrival of The Open Feel was a bit of an epiphany. In a year that was not offering up a whole heap of promise, there was a huge sense of relief when writing my review. Delving into the track itself, I was prompted to write:

The lyrics are wonderfully oblique, poetic, and intelligent: “It’s like I’m walking on a wire/Above a two-sided face” is the opening gambit; and one of the sharpish and most interesting lyrics I have heard all year. Our heroine is able to take your mind somewhere else, and picture the words she is singing. I get the sense there is anxiety and fear in her heart, as well as an interchangeable emotional shift. She is, as she attests, “one breath from a smile to a cry”. The vocal tones have a pleasing originality. There is a little bit of Fleetwood Mac, a tiny bit of Alison Mosshart, The xx to the way the sultry is mixed with fiery. The chorus has an uplifting edge, and with some backing vocals, I am reminded of early career U2, as well as the guardians of the female solo market: Patti Smith, P.J. Harvey and Laura Marling.”

Aside from the likes of Little Dove, there are not too many mixed gender duos around L.A. (not that I have been made aware of). With a proliferation and leaning towards solo and band endeavours, there is a relatively untapped industry, waiting to be exploited. Having surveyed Yorkshire two-piece Knuckle on my last outing, what really struck me was how close and tight they sounded- as though they had been performing together for years. In the case study of Jonny Firth and Ben Wallbanks, their musical marriage has been in place for nary a matter of weeks. With regards to our L.A. duo, there is a similar kinship and passion present. With such an intuition and openness to their music, it would appear that The Open Feel have a long and happy career ahead of them. Both players combine wonderfully and play on an equal footing; no egos or leadership quarrels- they are a partnership with no hierarchy. When their self-titled E.P. was released a few years ago, it gave the world one of the first introductions to the duo. Songs such as Strength and Transition painted indelible and scenic imagery; words and phrases stick in your mind, and with the strong and impassioned vocals, combined with wonderfully deep and rich compositions, the effect was mesmerizing. Hardly surprising that a great deal of supporters and fans latched onto the duo’s music, and they have an impressive following in L.A. With songs such as Kiss, Kill’, Pushing Back and Wake This Dream being unveiled, patronage has grown and swelled; ears and eyes from international destinations have been turned on to their wonderful brand of song. Sidewalk Zombies has been in the ether for a few months now, but shows another confident leap forward (from the duo); one which sees them build on their previous work, whilst adding new elements. Amongst The Open Feel’s influences are My Bloody Valentine, The Pretenders, Siouxie And The Banshees, The Sundays, Mazzy Star, P.J. Harvey, Garbage, Patti Smith, The Breeders, U2, Radiohead, Boxer Rebellion, Silversun Pickups, The xx, The Cure, The Joy Formidable: you can hear tender shades of these acts in their incredible sound. The most abiding and endless truth is, that the duo are out on their own; you cannot apply any former name to the two-piece’s music- it is something that is distinctly theirs. Adulation and praise has been arriving at our duo’s feet for a while now, and it seems that acclaim is something that The Open Feel will have to get used to:

“…When all your friends and their mothers start blasting the Open Feel on their favourite alternative station soon, don’t say we didn’t tell you so.”

Seraphina Lotkhamunga, BUZZ BANDS.LA on the single “Wake This Dream”

I generally avoid posting about the same band as there is so much out there to share. This new song [Sidewalk Zombies] made me want to make an exception.”

Larry Lootstein, Alan Cross’ Blog: A Journal Of Musical Things

“…Those haunting aspects are staunchly applied but the way the whole song moves gathers in a way demonstrating true sophistication from beginning to end. 10/10.”

U&I Music Magazine on the single “Pushing Back”

A glance at their list of influences as posted on Facebook cites The Cure, The xx, Radiohead, Silversun Pickups, and the Joy Formidable, all of whom can be recognized throughout their sound. While it’s a lofty list and it’s always easy to cite accomplished bands as influences, few artists actually live up to the quality of their supposed mentors. I would definitely consider The Open Feel among those few.”

Kyle McCornack, Vinyl Me Please

Remember those long, stereo-blaring overnight drives when your vehicle felt propelled not by an internal combustion engines but by the Cure’s bass lines? SoCal duo the Open Feel nail that vibe on their new single “Pushing Back…’”

Kevin Bronson, BUZZ BANDS.LA

Love the feel of the vocals fully supported by a great sound!”

Larry Lootsteen, Alan Cross’ Blog: A Journal Of Musical Things

We just got a heads up that the brand new track by The Open Feel is ready for human consumption! We’ve listened to it and we APPROVE! Two thumbs up!”

Kelly Murphy, Indie Minded

“…The deep bass tone and lingering guitar flush out the sound while the expansive touches add scope to the running that marks it all out referentially as it breathes.”

U&I Unsigned & Independent Mag

Light and breezy Indie-Pop that goes far beyond any lengthy spontaneity, vocalist Katie Harris captures the mood with a lush crepuscular quality that highlights the band’s tremendous flair for dramatic rhythm…”

Andy, Mojophenia

“…It’s their uniquely atmospheric & ethereal ambience that initially grabbed my attention (amid my looming backlog of IndieOverdose downloads), a sound vaguely reminiscent of bands like Silversun Pickups and Sonic Youth, and it is this attention to sonic texturing guided by Katie’s alluring vocal characteristics that has now completely won me over.”

Jeffrey Burns, ROKLINE

Maybe it’s me, but can you ever really get enough of Katie Harris’ vocals? She has that ability to reach deep down into the nooks and crannies of your soul. Her voice is smooth and sensual, yet raw and emotionally charged all at the same time. Tom Brayton is more than solid carrying the entire backline. The duo have done it again with their most recent release “Pushing Back.” …The visual imagery works extremely well with the audio, creating a wonderful package for both the eyes and ears.”

Victor Alfrei, WordKrapht

“…It’s just kickass, relaxing, beautiful music…” –

Jo, Badass Bands Blog

Sultry vocals, and lush, dreamy melodies are what The Open Feel are all about. What originally started as a songwriting collaboration between Katie Harris and Tom Brayton took on a life of its own and a band was created. “Still Here” is off of their self-titled debut EP released December, 2010. They are currently recording their follow-up for a 2013 release, and some of us are waiting not-so-patiently to hear it.”

Victor Alfieri, Word Krapht- The Daily Krapht

Dream-pop comes in a variety of textures, with feather-light synths at one end of the spectrum and heavy bass lines on the other. Katie Harris and Tom Brayton of L.A. band the Open Feel offer alternative rock with a slight splash of atmospherics, an unbalanced formula that works in smoldering mantras you might’ve heard in the ’90s…”

SERAPHINA, BuzzBands.LA

What started out as a songwriting collaboration has turned into one heck of a project. Katie’s vocals are sultry, yet strong. The music is powerful and energetic and the lyrics something that pulls you in. I can think of more than one female-fronted rock band that wishes they could pull this off…”

Victor Alfieri, Indie Music Reviewer

“…Harris’ airy vocal and matching guitar tones give the tracks a supremely positive vibe that smacks of spring time sunshine, but when combined with Brayton’s meandering, yet groovy bass lines and steady drums the end result is more of a night on the town atmosphere. It’s hard to not be instantly entranced with the hypnotizing affect the band creates. The swirling, spinning interaction between the guitar and bass riffs in the chorus or “Transition” draw the listener in, until they’re gently laid to rest in the verses. “Detach” is destined to be the track played during the climax of a future romantic comedy. In fact, the entire EP has a very cinematic quality to it…”

Moragn, Enter The Shell

Yes, we have covered this band before, and with good reason. Some of us have been fans since the self-titled debut EP back in 2011. And yes, we will continue to bang the drum for a band like The Open Feel because, well after listening to Katie Harris sing, we’d give her our puppy if she asked for it. She and Tom Brayton almost sound like the anti-grunge movement of the 90s, but own the idea instead of trying to rent it from the past.”

Victor Alfieri, WordKrapht

The Open Feel is one of the best bands to watch for in 2011 and they are also our first Artist of the Week of this year. When listening to their debut Ep, you immediately get taken back by the band’s full sound, especially considering that the band is a duo. Harris and Brayton played every instrument on every track on the Ep. The 4 track Ep features the stand out hit “Still Here,” which combines clever lyrics with a great rock sound. “Strength” shows off Harris’ vocal range and gives you a glimpse of the raw talent that The Open Feel has.”

Mailo, Enter The Shell (Artist of the Week Write-Up)

“…their fantastic self-titled EP is ample evidence that the twosome has got some serious musical chemistry as well. Harris is the primary singer and guitarist on the four-track release and her powerful vocals help anchor keepers “Strength,” “Still Here” and “Detach.” She has an impressive ear for melody that’s nicely complemented by Brayton’s work on bass and drums. I’m anxious to hear what the Open Feel can deliver over the course of a full album.”

Jeffrey Sisk, The Daily News

Offering up four songs worth of deliciously melodic and atmospheric pop-rock, this EP CD hits the pleasingly mellow and soothing spot. The vocals are strong, sultry, and utterly entrancing, the arrangements clear, crisp, and tuneful, the lyrics sharp and concise, while the gradual tempos and subdued beats provide plenty of beautifully ethereal and enrapturing music for the listener to get totally caught up with and lost in. A top-drawer item.”

Joe Wawrzyniak, Jersey Beat

“…I’m just going to cut to the chase and say I love this band. They write incredibly melodic and beautifully lush songs. Plush guitars and driving yet melodic bass lines make for the best ear candy I’ve heard all year. …Check out the above track “Still Here.” Your auditory senses will thank you!” –

Aron Gibson, AFG Must Rock

Our gorgeous heroine’s voice is a dreamy and entrancing instrument, yet one that can elicit a tremendous amount of power, passion and soul. Amongst the hordes of female singers in the modern scene, Harris stands out from the rest; her voice can seamlessly adapt to any situation or song; it is chameleon-like and mobile, yet at its heart is a striking individuality and personality- one that implores and seduces at every turn. Brayton supports Harris’ voice and guitar with percussive shades and weight that is emotive and stunning; his bass work is exemplary and highly effective two- the duo have an understanding and by-play that marks them out as one of music’s most natural players. Gaining a lot of buzz and applause is their latest track, Sidewalk Zombies. You can tell from the title that vividness and evocativeness are going to be at the precipice, and it is song that has been getting a lot of supportive press in the U.S. I was excited to sit down and investigate their latest move; see where the band are heading at the moment- and what is on their minds.

Top of the Sidewalk Zombies ordo cognoscendi is an impassioned and powerful intro. With our heroine employing electric strings with a sense of delicacy but with intent; our hero’s percussion subsumes and integrates into the mix; offers up a driving force and rapid heartbeat. When listening to the initial stages, images of Californian highways come to mind; such is the breezy-cum-determined coda, you cannot help but to cast yourself behind the wheels of an open-top sports car- drive into the city, with the wind in your hair. As you get closer to the crowded streets, the tempo rises slightly; guitar bursts elliptically and infused; the percussion skips and trips (as well as containing an impressive drum fill around the 0:15/0:16 mark). Within the first twenty-or-so seconds, a wealth of mood and scene-setting has been whipped up. The intro. is both calming yet kicking; swirling but focused; before the vocal arrives in the spotlight, your mind is already primed and compellingly set. Our heroine’s voice is filled with conviction and blame; it contains edges of Chrissie Hynde-via-Hope Sandoval- there is a raw and breathy projection, with undertone of delicate beauty and sweetness. You get the impression- early on- that the song’s themes are enforced and inspired by real-life malaise; that the bustling stress of inner-city zombies has caused derision and fatigue. When delivering the lines “Dead alive/And unaware” you can sense the weight in Harris’ voice; a mix of somnambulism and politicisation mingles to project the cry of a young woman surveying pedestrian scenes and letting her stare do the talking. After the first words are sung, there is a percussive (and guitar) interjection; a punctuation that allows our heroine to draw breath, but also to stir up some dust and punch- and make sure the embryonic images stick in your thoughts. Once more, thoughts are offered (followed by a tumbling audio ellipsis); our heroine exclaiming: “Crooked stride/And vacant stare“. Rakish people walk dazed and confused; whether emphasising the pace and reality of modern-day life, or else electioneering a wider truth, I am not sure; yet you get the sense that our duo are speaking to everyone; proclaiming a universal message that can be extrapolated by anyone. Completing the first verse, our heroine sends out a signal; points her finger and ensures her message lands: “Right yourself/Before your crime/Your dried up well/Of dollar signs“. After the final words have been deployed, the composition spreads its wings and elicits a rush; our hero’s stern and measured percussion expands and strikes; patters and rolls. Our heroine’s guitar bubbles and electrocutes, backing up a dream-like and sighing vocal (“Ooh/Ooh“). The verse break is an effective and compelling swathe, that compels you to rewind and play again. A wealth of imagery and emotions are brewed up, and you are caught up in the sonic waterfall. If the song’s title summons up armies of vague and dead-eyed city-dwellers; aimlessly ambling forth, the body of the song (temporarily) take your thoughts elsewhere. The narrative turns to a more personal and first-person account; our heroine asks “I see you/Do you see me/Reaching through/Your life’s debris“; you wonder whether she speaks of a relationship, or a friend in need. It is likely that a paramour or former sweetheart is being addressed; our heroine’s smoky and seductive vocals provide a sexy breathlessness and meaningful directness that emphasise the words. Whilst picking up the pieces and clambering through the rubble (of a disjointed and fragmented human). In the way that the verses have the same pace, measure and sound give it a pleasing singularity and potency; as well as provide an effective and appropriate countenance. With our heroine wondering “Will you ever/Come awake/And give the love/You love to take“; as well as asking for reciprocity and receipt, it seems that she is asking (the anti-hero) to reassess their way of thinking. Here is someone whom has taken from life and picked the pockets clean; our heroine is pleading for some sort of revelation and rebirth. It is not just the incredibly catchy (in a great way) and sensual composition that hits hard, but also the potent and impressive vocal (the way that “take” is sung; it has a sharpened tongue and plenty of bite) wins you over; it is a juxtaposition against the composition but also an intoxicating facet. Once again the cooing and chimerical vocal sway arrives; containing greater meaning, relevance and potency the second time around. As well as each of the duo having their individual talents (Brayton: percussion, bass and production; Harris: vocal, guitar and production), it is when they combine that the greatest reaction is provoked. The lyrics are at once oblique and mysterious; yet unmediated and emotional as well (giving the song a mobility and nuance); yet the compositional commingle makes it for me. In the breaks between the verses, the duo spar and combine beautifully. The guitar’s restlessness and sparks counterpart with Brayton’s effective impetus and pace; the drumming keeps the song restrained yet provides huge emotional force; similarly the bass drives the song forward and keeps it flowing strongly. When our heroine introduces us to the song’s protagonists, some vivid -yet tantalizingly open ended- words are painted: “Sidewalk zombies/Everywhere/Sing along/And you won’t care.” It is during this section (the chorus, effectively), that our heroine’s vocals duet with one another; echoes are build; giving the lyrics an additional majesty. It is around the 2:44 marker that the song becomes zombified and distorted; a more ethereal and detached parable is presented. Brayton pummel and smashes; a tribalistic and striking drum solo is offered up; when our heroine’s wordless vocals are infused the atmosphere has a ghostly and storm-weathered heaviness to it- before our duo pick the mood back up. The outro. is one that has a delirious and weaving charm to it; we start off with lighter and more mellifluous beginnings. Before too long, the guitars become mechanised, weaponised and biting (with a Pixies-cum-Grunge undertones); elements of The xx and Jeff Buckley come into the mix and the monster mutates and evolves into something with teeth, lust and venom. By the closing seconds, the vocal has died away, and the track ends its life. First impressions are of another triumph by the duo; another track that keeps their key cores, influences and hallmarks intact, yet provides a change of scenery. Through the lyrics and composition, you get a real sense of detachment and need; of streets infested with vacant-eyed wanders; of anti-heroes being given a dressing down. There is no sermonizing, piousness or over-emotiveness at all, as our heroine’s vocals keep everything ordered. Kudos must be given to both Harris and Brayton, whom provide life, colour and urgency to a song which demands attention. Harris’ vocals have edges of Hynde and Salvador, yet imbued with a distinct personality and flair- one that not only the aforementioned do not posses; but one that has been synonymous across The Open Feel’s entire back catalogue. It goes from calm and soothing; through to invigorated and impassioned; along to hugely powerful- with layers and colours in-between. Her guitar values are equally forceful and wide-ranging; providing solace and calm when needing, but capable of stirring up a huge amount of passion and life. Brayton’s bass and drum parbond almost steals the show. The former is solid and temporized when it needs to be, yet it always drives the song forward and keeps everything focused and compelling. The percussion pitter-patter and seduces when our heroine does likewise; it rises and slams accordingly- as well as summon up spiritual demons and mass disorientation. At times there are beautiful drum fills and sections that make you smile and overwhelm it is another component I am familiar with, having surveyed the duo previously. The production is brilliant, too; it is not cluttered or too polished; all words and notes are sharp and clearly intelligible- nothing gets buried in the mix or muted at all; there is a pleasing balance and blend that benefits the song hugely. Overall, it is a wonderfully written track, whose lyrics not only can be understood and appreciated by everyone, but show ounces of heart and passion- as well as a feeling or disenfranchisement and weariness. If you are unfamiliar with the band, then the minor tones of The xx and Radiohead come through; there are some melodic sprints that put you in mind of Mazzy Star as well as The Joy Formidable. Whilst there are some subtle comparables, nothing strongly comes to the forefront, as the abiding impression is of a song (and duo) very much their own bosses; two people whom have an intuitive love of the past, yet are as fresh, original and vibrant as nay act out there. Sidewalk Zombies is one of the finest things I have heard from the duo (that says a lot too), and proves mouth-watering, with regards to a (potential) future L.P. As much as anything, it is a track that hits you at once, yet requires a repeated investigation for its meanings and beauties to be fully revealed. In a market where there is still a lack of true quality and a leaning towards disposability, The Open Feel are a duo who offer nuance in spades; songs that are layered and memorable- and a future which is going to be gilded and rewarding, indeed. It goes to show just how vital it is that we here (in the U.K.) embrace the L.A. twosome (as well as their local colleagues); as their music not only provides much-needed diversity and flavour, but are tones that can be adapted by foreign markets; appeal to multiple nationalities- and ensure that the duo have a long and busy (future) touring schedule. In a year that keeps offering up surprises and wonder, another one has been presented.

The Open Feel have deftly succeeded in creating another nuanced and layered song; one which wins you over on the initial listen, yet reveals something new with each additional play. Harris’ gorgeous voice has few equals in terms of its effect on the ears; her delivery and performance(s) gives such weight and meaning to each line. As a guitarist, she summons up a great deal of excitement and emotion; electric notes are often subtle and composed yet manage to say a hell of a lot. Brayton is a skilled and fervent percussionist whom supports Harris wonderfully; mixing in with guitar chords and giving songs a sense of wonder and conviction. Similarly, his bass work is well-defined, evocative and memorable; giving the detailed tracks a sense of mobility and energy. Having listened to the duo’s early tracks (from 2011), I was aware of, and am acutely in tune with just how authoritative and compelling their music is. Their debut E.P. is a collection that more minds need to investigate, as it has a timeless appeal that is sure to inspire a lot of new musicians. Since then, the L.A. pair has grown in confidence and ambition; each new song offer something new, but also provides something tantalising and fresh. As songwriters, you will be hard-pressed to find any other act whom have such a range and ability. Lyrics are always poetic and meaningful; instilled with meaning and stirring landscapes- as well as a lot of relevance and modern-life philosophy. When all these elements are bonded together, you find yourself in awe of the duo, and keen to seek out more of their work. Plans are afoot and movements are being made, towards their debut album, and it will be a collection that will offer promise, intrigue and a huge amount of quality. Whether our duo will incorporate tracks such as Kiss, Kill (Back to Love), Pushing Back and Wake This Dream, I am not sure, yet it is a probable eventuality. The future is very much in their hands, and Sidewalk Zombies is another gem of a track that possesses all of the duo’s hallmarks- but provides an evolutionary step forward. You can tell how in love with music the pair are, and this sense of devotion comes through in the song strongly; there is no sense of fatigue disinclination- conviction and passion are evident in every note. I am always fascinated to see what acts are coming through, and what is being offered up from music’s newcomers. With a few years of experience under their belt, L.A.’s The Open Feel have overcome the hurdles and obstacles that music throws, and marked themselves out as one of the scene’s very best. Recently, I have been in discussion with a contact about how difficult it is for acts located (in a particular country) to get attention outside of their native land. Whilst there is a great amount of love and attention from U.S. fans and media outlets, it would be great to see U.K. press outlets offering up their thoughts. California is providing some of the most exciting and original acts that music provides, and I know that there are a great amount of British venues that would welcome them in. One of the problems I can see with regards to linking musicians to (possible) fans, is the media links- or lack thereof. It is a subject I have explored in past outings, yet it has once again reared its head. The Open Feel have a lot to say, and have already made some stunning footprints; ones that might have been out of the range of U.K. media radars. I know a few British publications have assessed the L.A. duo, yet there are far more whom instantly latch onto their sound (N.M.E., Mojo and The Guardian for starters). When their album does arrive, I hope that a missive will be provided; our best and more influential music avenues will investigate The Open Feel and give them a fair hearing. A fair few U.S. acts are being highlighted by our media outlets, yet I feel that too many others are not being appropriately represented. Our duo have the affections of their local fans; of the U.S. at the moment- and a hungry foreign market awaits them. In the upcoming weeks I hope to investigate the likes of Little Dove and Quinn Archer- acts working around L.A. and making waves there; keen to see what their futures hold and where they are heading. It is one of the busiest and most productive music cities in the world, and to my mind, more eyes should be trained here. If The Open Feel and Sidewalk Zombies is anything to go by, then a veritable cauldron of psychotropic heroes are waiting for attention; for a wider audience to hear what they are producing. Our intrepid duo will probably not pay too much mind to this (minor) injustice for now, as they prepare to make the moves that will appear on their upcoming album. Whatever the next few months hold, The Open Feel will be making themselves known to a great deal of new fans and supporters, and making their intentions known. I hope that they come to London soon, as not only will there be a multitude of venues keen to host them; I would love to watch them play- their live performances have been marked as particularly stunning. For now, and for everyone else, investigate the qualities and insights that Sidewalk Zombies offer up; go back and examine the duo’s past work- and familiarise yourself with their multifarious musical spectrum. The remainder of this year will prove important and prosperous for them, and I cannot wait to hear what the Los Angeles two-piece are working on. Until then, I am going to replay and re-examine the cannon of Harris and Brayton, in all its glories. They are a duo whom are growing in stature and confidence, and have not missed a step over the last few years- they just get better and better. When you really think about it…

THAT is something you do not hear too often.

________________________________________________________________________________

Follow The Open Feel:

Official:

http://theopenfeel.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/theopenfeel

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/theopenfeel

BandCamp:

http://theopenfeel.bandcamp.com/

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/the-open-feel

Reverb Nation:

http://www.reverbnation.com/theopenfeel

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOpenFeel

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-open-feel/id383477905

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