Last week I received a random solicitation in the mail from an unsigned band called Occidental. It came with a handwritten note saying that they got my information from my friend Todd, who basically is the fantastic indie retail store Sea Level Records in Los Angeles (if a person can be a store that is). Todd is the guy that got me into Silversun Pickups, and the whole Silverlake scene about four years ago, so I trust stuff that is connected to him.
Anyway back to the record at hand, it is an instrumental EP that is comprised of a duo, Ted and Jean-Claude, who are two DJs from KXLU. When they play live they tack on Aaron (The Switch) to play bass. The artwork on the CD sleeves were individually hand stamped and they look amazing. Normally I am not one for instrumental songs, but upon listening to the self-recorded/self-mixed EP, I started to really get into it. The music is best described as experimental shoegazer, and it reminds me a lot of 7% Solution. Remember them? If not, and you should be ashamed of yourself, then Ride and My Bloody Valentine. The six songs flow seamlessly from one to the next and it's hard to tell where one starts and one stops. For example, my favorite song on the EP, "First, Not Last", features swirling guitars and builds gradually with layers upon layers of instrumentation and has just the right amount of effects pedals. Just as it is closing out it blends perfectly into "Implied I".
The funny thing is that their Myspace page claims that they have some hip-hop influences and sound. Maybe it's the connection to Mike Lazer (Gnarls Barkley, BRMC); he mastered the album. Regardless, I don't hear the hip-hop, but that could be because my love for the spaced out jams that this duo creates overshadows what I know of hip-hop in my indie rock brain. However, on "Black Metal" and "Would Have", the band does have a similar beat to DJ Shadow, Endtroducing era. Perhaps that is the hip-hop they are referring to?
The twenty-five minute work is currently for sale at the aforementioned Sea Level Records. I highly recommend checking it out if you want a taste of something different and good. If these guys play their cards right, they might end up being the next great discovery from Los Angeles.