April 7th, 2009
I love indie pop music. There’s just something about it that catches my ear each time those sugary poppy hooks stream on the air. It gives me the same feeling that warm sunny days and margaritas do–makes me happy and all warm & fuzzy. That’s pretty much how I felt when I first heard Coast of Carolina last fall by Seattle’s Telekinesis. I liked it so much that I went straight to KEXP’s website to see who was playing which I rarely do. Next stop—the band’s myspace page discovering that actually it’s not a band, but just one guy, where I promptly emailed him asking if I could write about his album. However to my dismay, it wasn’t ready at the time. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I found out that Telekinesis’ new LP, Telekinesis! is ready to be released…today.
Telekinesis is the project of Michael Benjamin Lerner who recorded his latest with Chris Walla (of Death Cab for Cutie fame) touting the role of producer and engineer. Michael wrote and sang all of the songs constructed of vintage pop hooks of the 60s and 70s blended with indie flair. Each of the songs were tracked and mixed to analog tape in a single day before moving on to the next song in order to avoid over-thinking or over-working the spontaneous enthusiasm of the music. And, not only is Lerner the talented frontman, but he played nearly all of the instruments on the album. While he’s out touring with Ra Ra Riot though, he won’t be solo but with a full band of Seattlites backing him up.
Telekinesis! is filled with 11 quintessential pop tunes, 3 of which have already hit the KEXP airwaves: Awkward Kisser, Tokyo, and Coast of Carolina (the latter getting the heaviest rotation). With the opening song Rust about a rusty heart that’s afraid to love, it’s easy to set yourself up for a more dreamy melancholic experience however that feeling soon dissipates once the sunny, catchy Coast of Carolina comes to play. As the songs progress, so does the fearlessness and intensity of the music with Tokyo, an homage to Lerner’s love for Japan, Look to the East, All of a Sudden and Foreign Room which eases in gently then peaks with power pop force. Telekinesis! wraps up as it started, on the softer side but with not so much of the melancholy. I Saw Lightening is a sweet melodic love song which makes you think that maybe that rusty heart got a jolt, or possibly some oil, to make it not so afraid after all.
Lerner and crew will be in town on April 17th with the Banyans, Say Hi and Throw Me the Statue for their CD release party at the Crocodile. So if you like what you hear here, be sure to go check them out next week.