You know that little option in iTunes on the left side where you can see your ‘Top 25 most played‘ list? It’s that list of songs you’ve played a gazillion times and shows your most often played track at the top? Well, Loquat’s 2003 stunning and gorgeous rendition of the Smith’s (like I need to tell you who owns the original) ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ is still on the top of my Top 25 – and has been since about 2004 when I heard the track on SomaFM. It’s not a rendition – its damn near a repossession of a classic. It’s a new track onto itself and I’ve heard oodles of bands remake this track ranging from the mighty Noel Gallagher to the punky Dum Dum Girls. Yeah, that track sits on that elite list above all the big names in my iTuned catalog of indie – above Belle and Sebastian, above Wilco, above Elliott Smith (sigh), above Death Cab For Cutie, above Rilo Kiley, above the New Pornographers. That perspective being set, Loquat is the band that I just cannot figure out why they aren’t even more popular than they currently are. It’s finally become a classic case of “who didn’t get the fucking memo?” Can we get them onto the next iPad commercial, please?! Where so many bands now need to needle-nosed into a finite genre (shoegaze, chillwave, dream pop, twee, post-punk, alt-rock, chamber pop), Loquat sits along that mountain that’s so aptly named ‘perfect Indie pop’.
Click here to order Loquat’s 2003 EP called Before the Momentum off of iTunes, which includes “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”
Big sigh. Alas, we’re on album 3 now of the Loquat catalog and just as I felt like I started to get to know the band from their prior releases, I read the little sticker on the cover of the new CD. A portion of it says, “…for fans of Metric.” And I scratch my head because the comparison does not ring an obvious bell with me. I’m familiar with the back catalog of Loquat and I’m a card-carrying member of the Metric fan club and 2+2 does not quite equal 4 here until….five minutes into the new album I hear the title track “We Could Be Arsonists” and that darn little sticker did not lie. It’s some sort of funky jam and a head-bobbing, Emily Haines-style delight of a tune which teases, twists, turns and makes you reach for that button on your stereo called “Play.It.Again.” And just before it ends it slowly melts like butter into this simmering Pink Floyd-style slow jam at the end. Yes, I know – we’re not in Kansas anymore, clearly. What follows is a wonderful mix of breezy tracks from this San Francisco band that has hit its stride and then some. With a voice that defines the Loquat sound, Kylee Swenson Gordon is the stamp that fits perfectly onto the Loquat envelope. She has one of those voices that is instantly distinguishable – similar to the trademark that a Natalie Merchant has. Within two sentences of the first verse of any new Loquat song you instantly look up and say, “oh, this must be Loquat”. I saw another reviewer (SPIN) refer to Loquat’s music as warm grooves. So right they are – wish I had thought of those two words myself dammit. With a combination of thick vocals and boundless melodies, Loquat has nearly perfected the craft of making indie pop songs. I liken their sound to a modern day version of 10,000 Maniacs which is a huge compliment and hence the additional comparison of Kylee Gordon to Natalie Merchant. We Could Be Arsonists belongs in that layer of minor indie classics for 2012. I mean its not up there with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or Are You Feeling Sinister from our past but then again I’m not betting any money that Mr. Postman is going to be dropping off a better, more perfect pop album on my doorstep in 2012. Outstanding.