They’ve been on “Good Morning, America”, toured everywhere in America with the Fleet Foxes and Two Gallants, selling out shows whilst promoting their first album, Light Poles And Pines (which featured their single “Call and Response,” and got them acclaim and awards as 2008 Americana artists). And now the San Francisco band Or, The Whale is presenting the release of their new CD this Friday night at the Tractor Tavern.
There are a lot of contemporary bands a bit like Or, The Whale, but on songs like “Black Rabbit” and “Datura” on their self-titled follow up, the piney fresh NW-friendly rock has a sweet, unique John Phillips, Richard & Linda Thompson-style early 70s swing to the stories of being restless, rootless, and reckless. I have the feeling this one is going to far exceed the debut in terms of accolades; it takes necessary chances within complete authenticity.
The press tends to cite early Neil Young, which makes sense, as these are land-bound shanties, negotiating a stoned bliss with shiftless clarity over the eleven tracks, giving plenty of sweet meadow to the various lead vocalists (Alex Robins, Matt Sartain, Julie Ann Thomasson) strolling through. Robins and Sartain met through Craigslist about the same time Thomasson posted for a guitarist herself; they have achieved the “sweet country rock band” vision they initially bonded over.
The rhythm section of Justin Fanti (bass) and Jesse Hunt (drums) seem unusually essential as the pedal steel (Tim Marcus) for a band in this re-emergent genre, so when the band headlines after sets from Conrad Ford and Jack Wilson, by midnight The Tractor Tavern should be shaking and stomping.