The Quarter After & Kevin Tihista

The Quarter After & Kevin Tihista

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The Quarter After

Album: The Quarter After
Label: Bird Song
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Kevin Tihista

Album: Home Demons Volume 1
Label: Parasol

It's good that The Quarter After records for Bird Song records, since the band's eponymous debut begins with the most overt Byrds homage since Tom Petty's heyday. Full of 12-string jangle, brisk rhythm, and the breathy harmonies of bandleader brothers Rob and Dom Campanella, "So Far To Fall" sounds heartwarmingly faithful to an original that only exists in the Campanellas' collective mind. It's the Byrds outtake that never was. The Quarter After doesn't stay locked in Byrd-land, though—"Always Returning" resembles Moby Grape, "Mirror To You" has a Stephen Stills vibe, and the epic-length "Too Much To Think About" is more of a freeform tour through the psychedelic era. The Campanellas have long been stalwarts of Los Angeles' second-wave Paisley Underground, having toured with and/or accompanied the likes of The Tyde, Beachwood Sparks, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Mia Doi Todd. But under the guise of The Quarter After, the brothers drop the pretense of "influence" and attempt a loving recreation of the '60s Sunset Strip. On songs like the chugging, trippy "Know Me When I'm Gone," the Campanellas return to the outward hope and inward anxiety of the early hippie era.

Kevin Tihista's Home Demons Volume 1 follows California rock into a mellower era. Tihista has culled 14 tracks from the hundreds of home demos he's made over the last five years, and a lot of them are little more than amusing toss-offs, like "Stratford Upon Avon," which rests on a jaunty acoustic guitar hook and a few lines about Shakespeare. But elsewhere, on the resounding "I Don't Blame You" and the gently swinging "Wake Up Captain," among others, Tihista builds songs as fully imagined and fully orchestrated as his studio recordings. The only real problem with Tihista's earlier LPs is that they're too fussy and precise—a minor flaw that Home Demons corrects by alternating the polished with the endearingly smudged. It's Tihista's best album since his 2001 debut Don't Breathe A Word, and it doubles as a kind of mission statement. On songs like the silly AM homage "This Should Be A Duet (Really)," the sprawling and Who-skewering "Jim Henson's Blues/You're Not Bad," and the faithful cover of Dave Mason's "We Just Disagree," Tihista claims the whole of '70s radio as his source and comfort.

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