24 May 2006

Arthur & Yu

I like to be first. Who doesn't? I think it's the nature of lots of people to want to be the first to do something but it's most definitely in the nature of most music bloggers. I know a few who won't post about artists after someone else already has. It sounds silly perhaps, but it's the truth. Not here though. No sir, I just follow my nose and post about the music that I think is good. If I'm aware of a post elsewhere about the band I'll try to lead you in the direction of it. The only thing that ticks me off is when someone else posts about a band before me and uses the same words I was going to!

Last night I was on a mission to play catch up with all of the people who have sent stuff via MySpace. There are a bunch that I've made note of, so get ready for some good stuff.

First up, Arthur & Yu. They're from Seattle and, as best as I can tell, Grant Olsen & Sonya Westcott make up the core of the group and three other members (Bobby Wane, Ben Kersten, Scott Blue) round it out and play the other instruments. The very first thing I noticed about their music was its beauty. It's just that simple...beautiful music makes my ears happy. Well actually, Arthur & Yu's songs are both beautiful AND simple and they've got some of the best vocals I've heard anywhere in a while. They've given much attention to how their songs emote, and to the personality of the music they make, and to the space between the notes. That's the sweet spot of goodness that music by Arthur & Yu exists within. Someplace in the realm of certain songs by The Velvet Underground (w/ Nico), The Magnetic Fields, or Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra.

See, that's where I was going with this write-up from the moment I first heard their songs. I opened the Arthur & Yu MySpace profile and my very first thought was "awesome, sounds like they have some nice early '60s influences". Then I looked - lo and behold they list some of the very same influences I would've expected. Except, well, it's not all that common for people (on MySpace) to have influences listed that make sense. "Perfect," I thought, "I'll talk about that when I mention them on my...crap!"

That's when I looked to see if anyone else had written about Arthur & Yu. Indeed someone already had. And, leave it to Chris to say pretty much exactly what I was going to...and to post the same two songs...(from Gorilla vs. Bear HERE)

"You know how on myspace bands always list their "influences", and as you listen to the songs, you can't help but think, "yeah, not really. at all."? Well that is refreshingly not the case with Seattle's Arthur & Yu, who recently befriended me on myspace. They've pretty much hit their influences right on: Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra, Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin, Nico-era Velvet Underground, etc."
There you have it. So don't just take MY word for it, listen to Chris too. He knows his shit, and this my friends...this Arthur & Yu...is some good shit.

Listen:
"Lion's Mouth"
"Afterglow"

Visit Arthur & Yu on MySpace for more goodness.

6 comments:

Chris said...

ha...for what it's worth, your post is better than mine. at any rate, these songs show so much potential, thanks for giving them the attention they deserve.

i'm sure you get tons of myspace requests, like you said, and these guys are one of the very few bands i've felt compelled to post about right away after finding them on myspace.

Anonymous said...

first last whatever. this singer sounds like Robert Plant and thats a good thing.

nardo said...

the vocals are great indeed. they're very prominent, which works nicely in this case. I've been a little bothered lately by vocals that are buried in the mix, although i guess for some circumstances that can be good. really nicely recorded. the songs really draw you in. really really really really...

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