Crafted by Dani Mari & David Leigh Abts
Edited by Ashley Goodwin
Photos by Filip Zalewski
I am not here to blow sunshine, however, I will say Streets of Laredo is the perfect addition to your 2017 play list. Circle the wagons around this band before XM radio makes them huge because they have this honesty that is too Bob Dylan for Arcade Fire, and riffs that give you Jefferson Starship goose bumps. We had a chance to chat with them before their set at Bowery Ballroom and it was a pleasure; these cats are fluid and magnetic.
There are times that these interviews feel like one is watching the director’s cut of Gettysburg and the subject(s) go on about their personal little round top, yes, but this story is way more fresh than the sushi platter at Walgreens. When a band like this has something real to chat about, one listens. Their set was 30 minutes not-long-enough and the crowd could have easily buckled in for another hour. The only distraction was I sat in the wrong seat and subsequently was asked by someone in CRX’s entourage “Dude who are you and how do you know Nick Valensi?”, to which I respond, off guard, “Met him on Friendster?”. The entourage retorted with “Dude you are in Nick’s Mom’s reserved seat.” Cripes.
Streets of Laredo is from Auckland, New Zealand and has been living and performing in Brooklyn for about four years now. They recorded their latest album “Wild” with producer John Agnello. John has worked with artists like, Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr & Sonic Youth so it was both refreshing & ironic to hear Sonic Youth’s song, “Kool Thing” playing in the background as we started the interview. With Dine Alone Records being their label.
They explained to me that the writing process for their first album took an organic approach, using only acoustic instruments to write and record the full album. They used Logic Pro to create a demo for the second album and there experimented with different plugins. Vocalist and guitarist, Dan, spoke about his experience using a Roland Juno plugin versus being able to use an actual Roland Juno in John Agnello’s studio. They told us about how helpful John was and how his openness and unique style added a totally different flavor to their sound.
Their live show was compelling and honest. Dan had a natural and energetic way of singing and playing guitar. Sarah-Jane added beautiful melodies and harmonies combined with the use of various percussive instruments. Dave’s drum set faced the band which contributed to a genuine connection to each member throughout each song. Andrew, the trumpet, synth player & percussionist, used a TC-Helicon VoiceLive pedal to add even more harmony, reverb and other effects to his trumpet. Cameron, employing multiple guitar pedals, added unique sounds throughout the set that only continued when he switched off to what appeared to be a pocket piano. We even had the opportunity to see it up close and learn more about this pocket piano, which is actually called an Organelle. This instrument is a marriage of the pocket piano and the computer. Designed by Critter and Guitari, it lets you create your own patches and can be used as a sampler, synthesizer, effect processor, drum machine or sequencer. Technology, amirite?
Streets of Laredo’s vibe is reminiscent of The Districts, The Lawsuits, Kurt Vile, Ron Gallo and many of the other artists from the brotherly lovely streets of Philadelphia. Streets of Laredo’s track “Silly Bones” shows us the beauty of imperfection. He said the song was about not taking yourself too seriously. We all have “Silly Bones” and we’re ok with it.