One You May Have Missed: The Shore
I had three of my friends in the car the other week and I slipped some music by The Shore into the mix and asked them what they thought of it. One was convinced it was The Verve, and the other thought she recognized some of the melodic grit of the Stereophonics. They were both wrong, but we all liked it.
I felt kind of like the guy from the Taster's Choice Instant Coffee commercials in the '80s: "While you weren't looking, I secretly substituted your Richard Ashcroft with THE SHORE." (cued surprised looks amongst my friends, perhaps one mouth formed into an "O" with a hand placed on the cheek, astonished. Then they take another sip, and nod appreciatively.)
A certain musical know-it-all recently recommended that I take a listen to The Shore, an L.A.-based trio who somehow slipped past the mainstream musical scene but are definitely worth some of your time. Their dusty, beautiful music does indeed incorporate many elements of the above-mentioned folks (including all the oooh, ooooohs you can shake a stick at), but after you give it several listens it gets richer each time, until it truly stands out on its own and you forget the comparisons.
The year was 2004, the label was Maverick. These two tracks I've picked for you are my favorites off their self-titled debut album. The first song ("Waiting For The Sun") has a spacey, swirling opening that reminds me of another song I have on my iPod called "Dark Water and Stars" from Natural Calamity. Regardless of whether you've heard that song, the title perfectly evokes the feel of this album. Practically every song lends itself well to imagery of water & ocean; I can completely see myself listening to this whole album on a rocky San Francisco beach.
"Take What's Mine" is a piano ballad, and oh, how I love piano. This song is also a showcase for singer Ben Ashley's pleasing and flexible vocal range, with a rich layer of elegant and sweeping strings that somehow, nonetheless, rock.
"Waiting For the Sun" - The Shore
"Take What's Mine" - The Shore
If you like this, their album from their days at Maverick is available on iTunes (they've parted ways with Maverick now, gone all free-agent). You can also stream 4 songs, three of which are unreleased, on their MySpace page. Or buy the actual CD on Amazon. Either way, I think you'll thank me for it.