September 29, 2011
One of my favorite indie bands from back in the days before the term “indie rock” was co-opted by the mainstream, is still the Sea and Cake. They have maintained a gorgeous, spacious sound, defined by an airy approach to mellow rock that is not afraid to indulge in odd left turns in rhythms and song structures. Key to their sound, is the breathy, almost unintelligible voice of lead singer/guitarist Sam Prekop, which more often than not lays on an expressionistic dimension to the already interesting proceedings. The band’s brief, but acclaimed recent release, Moonlight Butterfly (Support the Independent Ethos, purchase the vinyl on Amazon), stays true to its unique sound.
The Sea and Cake recently recorded a session for Daytrotter, worth sharing (click the exclusive Daytrotter illustration of the band by Johnnie Cluney above to jump over for the stream/download). The session ends with the “The Argument,” the song that introduced me to the band with a wallop. I heard it on the University of Miami’s radio station WVUM, on 90.5 FM, sometime in 1997. I have a vivid memory of that day. I was doing some office drudgery at a food distribution company that has since gone under (it was run by a pack of royal fuck-ups, so I will protect their legacy by not noting the company name). It wafted from the clock radio on my desk like a breath of fresh air, and I was hooked on the Sea and Cake ever since, buying up all their albums and following each release religiously, even though the band’s edge has softened over the years.
In the Daytrotter session, “the Argument” does sound a bit too rushed for my taste, and I miss the meandering battle between John McEntire’s drums and what sounds like a synthesized flute during the opening, but the other songs pay great tribute to the original versions, which come from their more recent albums, including two cuts from Moonlight Butterfly. It’s a great testament to the recording conditions Daytrotter offers visiting artists and to the live sound of the Sea and Cake. Speaking of, the band will kick off a US and Canada tour shortly, but, as usual, no dates in South Florida (they will only go as far south as North Carolina). You can see the tour dates, which start in early November, by clicking here.