Tag Archives: Fialta

Margot Polo’s Fun New Synth Dance Pop Is First Indie Summer Single of 2017

7 Jun

If you’ve ever visited the San Luis Obispo coast, you know it’s pretty much a slice of heaven on earth. Miles of sandy beaches, drenched in Central California’s abundant sunshine. Waves lapping lazily on the shore. The Avila Beach pier, extending out into the shimmering azure water. Morro Rock standing like a sentinel at the entrance to the bay. Rolling golden hills rising in the distance.

This idyllic environment can shape a person’s worldview — and that certainly seems to be the case with local band, Fialta, and now a new solo project by Fialta guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, David Provenzano.

Recording as Margot Polo, Provenzano has captured the essence of the upcoming summer of 2017 on the West Coast on his digital single, “Sweet California,” the first release from an album planned for sometime in 2018.

The catchy indie synth dance pop tune features swirling synths, a buoyant bass line, sweet harmonies, and even wistful whistling that seeks to convey the magic of this special place. The tune was written by Provenzano, with help on some of the lyrics from his wife, Sarah Shotwell, who plays keyboards, glockenspiel and sings in Fialta. While Sarah will contribute vocals on upcoming Margot Polo tracks, backing vocals on “Sweet California” were done by Becky Filip of the Honey Trees.

Margot Polo is a side project for Provenzano, who will continue to write, record and perform with Fialta going forward. But it will be interesting to see where his path takes him as Margot Polo as well. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.

If you’re interested in previewing or purchasing a digital copy of “Sweet California,” you can go to Margot Polo’s Bandcamp page.

 

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Fialta Channels San Luis Obispo Sunshine and Surf in Smart Synth-Pop

23 Aug

The San Luis Obispo area is a fabulous part of the state, set within a rolling sun-drenched landscape that lies roughly halfway between Northern and Southern California. Residents and visitors alike enjoy relaxing on glistening beaches, exploring the oak-studded foothills, shopping for art and household goods in local shops, or tasting fine wines produced by the growing number of Central Coast vineyards.

In an area this inviting, it’s not surprising to find more and more bands calling San Luis Obispo home. Such is the case with Fialta, which offers melodic California indie pop-rock on their sophomore album, Shadow of a Drought.

The music is sunny and smart — a little surfy, with heavily reverbed guitars, ukulele, layered harmonies, and interesting rhythms. Fialta is comprised of two married couples: Mike Leibovich and Beth Clements, who were the first from the group to settle in the San Luis Obispo area, and David Provenzano and Sara Shotwell, who joined them after a move from the San Francisco Bay Area.

All four individuals are contributing songwriters, vocalists and multi-instrumentalists — which is likely the reason their music is so well done — far from much of the sticky-sweet formula pop world.

One of the standouts on Shadow of a Drought is “Do the Best We Can.” The title track, sort of — “shadow of a drought is mentioned in several of the lines — is anthemic, fuzzy synth-pop. While Clements handles the lead vocals at the start, all four individuals sing the chorus, resulting in the rich harmonies that are a trademark of the group. An acoustic performance of the track is here.

“Another Lonely Heart” is a mid-tempo cut that for some reason reminds me of Hall & Oates — if Hall & Oates were female vocalists. The song features richly harmonized vocals over a slinky synth track that’s backed by a steady beat.

The album opener is “Be Someone,” up-tempo, catchy pop-rock with a cool bass line, guitar stingers, harmonized male vocals, and glockenspiel. Jumping toward the end of the 12-song set, “On the Run” features a stripped-down arrangement with jangly guitar over a sleigh bell rhythm, an intimate vocal (by Sarah, I believe), and warm harmonies.

I can’t end a review of Shadow of a Drought without mentioning “Queen of the Night,” a happy, bounding romp with pounding drums and pumping, arcade-link synths. I’m sure this is a fun song to do live — and the group is touring this summer and fall in support of the album.

VisitSLO.com calls San Luis Obispo the “happiest place in America.” With apologies to Disneyland, which has clearly earned the moniker of “happiest place on earth,” the land of endless summer does inspire an optimism and positive energy that locals embrace. And this upbeat attitude is definitely felt in the music of Fialta.