On Friday, January 13th, KXSU hosted our first band of 2017 for an in-studio performance: the frosty-chill Animals In The Attic. Covering for Mommy Long Legs, who got hit with that nasty illness going around (but they will be joining us later on this quarter!), this trio of dudes from Sacramento, CA was the super cool substitute teacher you had in middle school and desperately hoped would return. We’re experimenting with the format of in-studios to make them fit best for our audience, so we did not have an opening act on Friday, but Animals In The Attic certainly compensated with some A+ chillwave vibes. The band is Seattle-based, though its members are from Sacramento, and won Seattle University’s own Battle of the Bands competition in 2015. We were happy to welcome them back!
Describing themselves as psychedelic, chillwave (some history), and “beach pop rocks,” a new category for me, I found that Animals In The Attic oozed pure California. Hearing them play whisked me away to that classically sunny, beach-y, carefree piece of the Golden State that many lifelong Washington residents dream of (myself included, even if it is a cliché). Animals In The Attic kept their set relaxing and light, with many of their songs sounding like the score of a summer road trip montage in some sort of feel-good film, or even an ad for canvas sneakers. Between the usually-upbeat bass, shoegazey guitar, and soothing voice of vocalist Spencer Rakela (who can really sing, and doesn’t just hide behind the guitar), the band crafts a laid-back, somewhat tropical atmosphere.
Speaking of tropical, maybe there was some confirmation bias influencing my perceptions, but at scattered times I caught some guitar riffs that sounded remarkably like steel drums in their reverb pattern, and perhaps some plodding reggae-tinged drums? I can’t be sure of the presence of these Caribbean elements, though, mostly because of the sheer dreaminess of the performance. My mind began to wander and space out while Animals In The Attic played, which happens often enough to me, but never so deeply during a live show—especially one that I had to write about later. My experience was just as the group prophesied in their Bandcamp description of their 2016 LP, Half Asleep Surf:
“We set out to make music that relaxes the soul in a generation of anxiety.” The band also writes, “We appreciate artists that can evoke a feeling that has never quite been felt and can’t be explained,” describing exactly my impression of their music.
Never have I experienced a band whose music made me feel so much color, and I mean that literally: I could feel soft aqua blues and lime greens from their notes swirl in my head, creating a shimmering image of some tropical palm tree world. I feel the same way now, even as I streamed their music to write this article. My congratulations to Rakela, LaFlamme, and Luoma for such great, enchanting work—both live and on recording—and thank you for blessing our studio with your presence.
Judging by my subconscious desire to drift away to some Caribbean island, I’m clearly in need of another break. If you’d like one, too, check out Animals In The Attic on BandCamp, where you’ll find their 2014 EP, Lumos, and their 2016 album, Half Asleep Surf, to help you enter those reflective states.
In other relaxing news, join us at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25th in the KXSU Lounge for our 2017 debut of our Coffee House Night, partnered with Seattle University Dance Marathon! There will be entertainment, cocoa, coffee, and fundraising for Seattle Children’s Hospital, with a suggested $5 donation at the door. All that, and there’s also room for student performers to sign up to perform themselves! If you or a friend have got some poetry or an acoustic song to perform, email KXSU Station Director Randy Scott to reserve a spot. See you there!
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