As anyone in Los Angeles knows, the Hotel Café is your destination for all things mellow when it comes to music. If you’re current temperament calls for a peaceful evening peppered with some fine music, the Hotel Café won’t let you down. Unless of course, some loud mouth ruins it with their inane babbling (I’m looking at you girl standing behind me).
Despite the nuisance, that certainly was the case for me this past Saturday when, out of sheer curiosity and a hope to find a new indie folk band, I used my credentials as an LA Music Blogger to check out Song Preservation Society, a Berkeley-based trio.
Now, I don’t normally find myself on the Nor-Cal side of the Nor-Cal vs. So-Cal debate (only when it comes to the word “hella” – the best adjective/noun/adverb ever), so I was pleasantly surprised by the way Song Preservation Society grabbed me as an audience member. The band’s ability to play their inherently very soft songs about unrequited love, the trouble with relationships, and other romantic notions live without scaling back the intimacy makes you feel as though you’re on the inside – you can easily supplant yourself within the context of the story.
Given the simplicity of their music (all acoustic guitars), coupled with the perfectly aligned three-part harmonies these guys utilize, you’re left nodding your head in both appreciation and understanding. The laid-back sound of Song Preservation Society lay somewhere between Paul Simon and Bon Iver, leaning to the more modern side of folk. Some place in there though, you get glimmers of artistry from yesteryear, but then SPS does something to bring you back to the present. The blending of old and new provides for familiar, yet inspiring territory.
Song Preservation Society’s set, which included “Burnin,” “We Can’t Go On,” and “True Love,” a Daniel Johnston cover, was played with remarkable charisma – giving credence to the band’s namesake. If the above photo doesn’t embody charisma, I don’t know what does. I’m eager to hear more greatness from this Northern California band (even if they are from Berkeley) and hope they continue preserving and propagating the best qualities of folk music.
For more information on Song Preservation Society: