I have no idea how Bahamas’ album “Barchords” ended up in my inbox.
All I remember is that I was getting ready for my KCRW show a couple of weeks ago – which means sorting through a pile of physical CDs and also a digital folder on my desktop where I literally dump everything that accumulates via emails – and I stumbled across it.
I usually listen to three or four tracks by unknown artists before I decide if it’s something I want to play on-air, because I’ve erroneously passed harsh judgments in the past by listening to just one or two tracks. You really have to try a few.
Usually, I select songs based on titles that resonate the most with whatever’s going on internally at the time. In my case, I went for “Never Again”. And it was sublime. Everything about it clicked. I loved the simplicity of it: sparse percussion, electric guitar played with just the right amount of soft, and really superb singing. This combo gets me every time.
Next, I went for its polar opposite — “Time And Time Again” – and, again, it was magnificent.
Pretty soon I realized that every track was brilliant and I was having a hard time deciding on which track to play. Usually I can pick out a favorite right away, but not with “Barchords”.
Each track was absolutely gorgeous and, if I could, I would have played the entire album on my show. Well, I did end up playing four tracks on my show that night, but that’s because the album also came with instrumental versions of nine of the twelve songs featured on the album – and it is perfect music to play in the background and talk over.
Of course, as soon as I heard the music I was curious to find out who was behind this. I discovered that it’s Toronto singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen, who played piano and guitar on Feist’s latest album, as well as on tour.
No wonder his guitar playing is so ridiculously good (!) and the overall mood of the record is similar to the sweet melancholy that I’ve grown to love so much about Feist’s music.
But honestly, when it comes to music and art in general, the less you can isolate what it is about it that grabs you, the better it is. It’s like falling in love. If you know exactly why, it’s probably not love.
I’m really excited to see Bahamas at SXSW. There are plenty of dates to chose from, and all can be found on his website. And for all Angelenos who can’t make the festival, he will be in LA on March 20 at The Satellite.
p.s.: a quick warning, Bahamas conjures up palm trees and coconuts, tropical sea-breeze and sandy beaches, and “Barchords”, didn’t quite deliver in that department. Perhaps not the album you’d go for as you sip on your pina colada while working on your sunburn…Although, the more I listen to it, the more I think I’d take “Barchords” anywhere with me, sandy beaches included.