Tall Tales and the Silver Lining a New Force on the L.A. Indie Rock Scene

6 May

Some people talk about “sounds” when referring to bands. The Southern Rock sound, typified by artists such as the Allman Brothers or Lynyrd Skynyrd. The distinctive flavor of most Nashville-based bands. The way many artists based in Austin sound. And so on.

It’s been said that there’s a California sound as well. But that’s an oversimplification. California is much too large and diverse to have a single sound. Bands coming out of San Francisco typically are nothing like L.A.-based bands.

So interestingly, reviewers have recently been writing about an L.A.-based band named Tall Tales and the Silver Lining, which has been turning heads with the “California sound” of its new album, Tightropes.

The album is definitely worthy of the attention. But this insistence on categorizing it as the “California sound”? Not so much.

While Tall Tales and the Silver Lining indeed calls L.A. home, the band has created a distinctive style. It’s guitar-driven indie rock with just a hint of pedal steel and a laid-back feeling to most songs that evokes images of sun-drenched days at the beach or up in the far reaches of the canyons.

At times, frontman Trevor Beld-Jimenez sounds a lot like Tom Petty. But the band can also be said to make music that’s similar to the Donkeys (San Diego), Ryan Adams (North Carolina), Jason Lytle (Northern California/Montana/Oregon), The War on Drugs (Philadelphia), and even Real Estate (Brooklyn, NY). It’s not just an L.A. thing.

So while Tall Tales and the Silver Lining continues the rich heritage of L.A.-based bands — from the Byrds to Beck — that feature great guitar rock, it makes no sense to try to put their appealing work in a particular cubby hole.

Tightropes is a cohesive, ten-song set of mostly up-tempo songs about living and loving in Southern California. The album opens with the melodic toe-tapper, “Something to Believe In.” A flowing synth base supports the intricate and clean guitar work, and Beld-Jimenez’s lead vocals stand out, with rich harmonies in the chorus.

The title track, “Tightropes,” is the first song where the Tom Petty resemblance becomes very strong. The languid lead vocals — punctuated by guitar stingers — harken back to a number of Petty melodies.

“Unknown Forces” is perfect jangle rock — with an easy feeling and excellent lead guitar break. “Waves” is denser guitar-rock with a big lead break, sounding more like a Neil Young number — but still with those familiar, comfortable lead vocals.

The album ends with a reassuring piano ballad called “Losing It.” Beld-Jimenez’s lyrics are full of hope. He writes, “Late last night on an open road/Where the wind blows through your hair/We was talking about the past/And all the friends who’ve come and gone/And lost themselves out there/Where the years go by too fast/But I ain’t losin’ it/No, nothing’s gonna change.” There’s not a hint of guitar in the arrangement — just lovely piano, some orchestral embellishments, and Beld-Jimenez’s emotive vocals.

Tall Tales and the Silver Lining is still a largely unknown band. But one can tell from their Facebook page — this is a group of musicians who really enjoy making music together. Tightropes is your opportunity to discover them before everyone else does.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: