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The Faraway Places - JPop.com
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The Faraway Places

The Faraway Places

The Faraway Places


The Faraway Places have arrived, bearing musical riches that deftly blend Motown rhythm, Lou Reed guitar, and blown-out moog-styled synths. The sound is as earnest as it is eclectic, reflecting an obsession not only with music, but also with the exuberant natural beauty found amid the tumble-down hillsides of their Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The locale and lineup have changed over the years, but the core remains the same. Keyboardist/singer/chef Read more on Last.fm
The Faraway Places have arrived, bearing musical riches that deftly blend Motown rhythm, Lou Reed guitar, and blown-out moog-styled synths. The sound is as earnest as it is eclectic, reflecting an obsession not only with music, but also with the exuberant natural beauty found amid the tumble-down hillsides of their Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The locale and lineup have changed over the years, but the core remains the same. Keyboardist/singer/chef Donna Coppola and writer/producer/Renaissance man Chris Colthart have been the constants in the lineup. The soulful psychedelia of the ‘60s and the experimental reveries of German avant rockers Can have been a constant sonic inspiration, even as the group has turned those influences inside out. First formed as The Solar Saturday in Boston in 1997, this early incarnation released demos adored by fans of smart experimental pop.

During that time, Colthart and Coppola cut their teeth as members of Papas Fritas on that band’s final tours of Europe and the U.S., absorbing a good dose of the song craft and live energy for which that band was celebrated. Tony Goddess and Keith Gendel from Papas Fritas remain close friends and collaborators. Upon relocating to the mystical and cultural mash up of eastern Los Angeles, the newly-renamed Faraway Places expanded and contracted through lineups that included members of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Broken West, and Lavender Diamond. Known for their extravagant performances as a 14-piece spacerock arkestra, with an assortment of guitars, synths, woodwinds, and percussion, the band also performs as a smaller ensemble, putting the focus back on the songs at the heart of the experience. The current lineup includes Colthart and Coppola, as well as Colthart’s next-door neighbors Scott Barber and Scott Shannon on guitars, and drummer Eric Bartels. On their sophomore album, “Out of the Rain, the Thunder & the Lightning,” due on May 12, 2009 from Save It Records, the band connects the dots between blissed out psychedelic pop and experimental embellishment.

The album germinated when Colthart traveled to Paris in 2001 with a trunk full of recording equipment and an expatriate’s fascination with the outsider experience. Allowed to percolate during the intervening years, and co-mixed with Goddess and Gendel, the genre-bending romp that emerged is a freewheeling dose of sonic expansiveness that’s sincere without taking itself too seriously. “The Sun Goes West” possesses wistful radiance, while “Keep It Alive” hits the dance floor with taut, sexy introspection and “Still Be There” explores sonic collage with an arena-rock flavor, a sound the band has dubbed “California krautrock.” The album follows the band’s celebrated debut, “Unfocus On It,” which was released in 2003 on Eenie Meenie in the US and Bella Union worldwide. Recorded in a remote New Hampshire cabin, the album featured its share of experimentation, including the spacey freak-out “Come Apart,” as well as plenty of lush, California-style dreaming on “Marvelous Error” and the orch-pop mini-masterpiece, “Summertime.” NME, as usual, said it best: “With gentle psychedelia, skuzzy guitar, and the sweetly-stoned surfer attitude, they serve up summery tunes by the VW camperload.” The band also pushes the boundaries of sound and space with its sonic installations.

Based on a fascination with experimental masters like Can and The Boredoms, these “omniphonic” events often find as many as 14 guitars or eight synthesizers encircling the audience, illuminated by lightshow projections. These layered soundscapes have featured far out titles like “The Birds Have Their Own Museum, Vol. II,” which was performed in November 2008 at the LA County Museum of Art. The story of their label, Save It Records, is as much based on kismet and friendship as the rest of their musical odyssey. Colthart first met label cofounder Rebecca Berman at a bar in Echo Park, and a friendship tree was planted.

They tended and watered the tree for the next decade with a shared musical obsession and copious infusions of alcohol. When Berman and partner Chris Fagot decided to launch their new label, it was a natural choice to sign the friends they had known and rocked out with for so long. Like the urban flora that inspires their sound, the Faraway Places strive to gather the surprising moments of beauty, and maybe even transcendence, from the musical mess that occurs when you leave the tape rolling and see what happens. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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