Every once in a while, someone who reads the blog IMs me. It's always a pleasant surprise with your expected exchange of hellos and halfhearted discussions of musical preferences. About a week ago though, I was IMed from a representative of Eenie Meenie Records. They've got some good shit, mainly Goldenboy and Scissors For Lefty, so when she mentioned one of their newer bands, Great Northern, I gladly lent an ear. She sent "The Middle" which immediately drew me in with its genuinely happy sound and guy/girl vocal balance. A few days later, I received a package with their debut CD, Trading Twilight for Daylight, and I've been listening ever since.
Great Northern consists of two guys and two girls. The sexes counter each other perfectly. Both sing, both play instruments, and both bring their own touch to the sound. When male vocals are heavy, I'm reminded of Switchfoot and Coldplay. When female vocals are heavy, I'm reminded of Azure Ray and Imogen Heap. When the two are represented equally, it's pretty much perfection. It's kind of like what Straylight Run was shooting for with their whole guy sings melody girl sings harmony deal, but didn't quite reach. Cannot say that Great Northern has the vocal perfection of Damien Rice with Lisa Hannigan (the two have recently ended their professional relationship, FYI), but they're pretty good.
Instrumentally, Great Northern is rich and deeply melodic. Very much accessible to all sorts of music-listeners, the sound may be more pop than I'm used to, but still pleasant to listen to. The piano and violin are used as frequently as the guitar and drumset with a touch of effects here and there. All in all, Great Northern is a good time.
May 15 The Echo Los Angeles, CA (FREE!!!)
May 27 Holocene Portland, OR
May 30 The Troubador West Hollywood, CA
Jun 1 Beauty Bar San Diego, CA
Jun 4 Larimer Lounge Denver, CO
Jun 6 The Varsity Theater Minneapolis, MN
Jun 8 Schubas Chicago, IL
Jun 9 Lee's Palace Toronto, ON
Jun 10 Divan Orange Montreal, QC
m4a The Middle
m4a A Sun A Sound