Before my nighttime shindig got underway, I caught the last two acts of L Magazine's Bands You Need to Hear showcase. I feel inspired to call my next showcase, Bands You Should Have Listened To Last Year, But Weren't Paying Attention To Me.
In any event, North Highlands are a bunch of locals who create breezy pop tunes to listen to on a lazy Saturday afternoon. You have piano and violin swirling around some airy tunes. What I liked about them is how unforced their music is. You tend to think new bands want to come out of the gates wanting to knock you over. North Highlands seems content to let their music glide into your consciousness. Yet, they are never boring and keep things even-keeled. They're like a new neighbor who brings in a normal looking pie, but when you dig in, you realize that love was the main ingredient in the pie.
Check out their debut video, for the track "Sugar Lips"
Ava Luna impressed me right off the bat. It's not a secret that they take their inspiration from TV on the Radio. You have those off-kilter vocals and stop-and-go beats, which doesn't make it easy to get into a groove. But, Ava Luna has a big bonus that TVOTR doesn't have, sex appeal. They ratchet up the funky female vocals and it's like a old school funk/soul revue. Meanwhile, the lead single is a sly dude with the back and forth he has with the ladies.
The songs they have streaming on their myspace doesn't do the band justice, because their live set had a lot more depth. Their beats are a little heavier and the girls are having a party on stage while they are singing in unison. At first, I thought it was some sort of party band, but when they were done, they might New York's first art/party band.
Here's the promo video for their song, "Clips". I think all unsigned bands must make their first video in a field or in a forest.