Band To Watch

Band To Watch: High Places

Yes, every once in awhile those year-end lists are good for something other than epic, never-ending arguments. OK fine probably not on the magazine end of things, but if you’re looking to do some discovery, artist-generated lists are a great way to go. Take Bradford Cox for example. The man not only looks great in a dress, he also knows his shit. He’s a great interviewer, knows how to handle a track review, and was an early champion of the mighty No Age. But all that aside, if you put together an excellent five-point year-end list that includes four from our personal top ten of ’07 (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Liars, Panda Bear) and one we don’t know … we’re gonna seek out that unknown.

High Places is Mary Pearson and Robert Barber

And it turns out that group, Brooklyn duo High Places, is really, really good. Not hard to see why Bradford likes it, it’s a little like Atlas Sound looking in a musical mirror (check the shimmery first minute of “Shared Islands,” the darker final minutes of “Cosmonaut”), but it’s far from solely a reflection of Atlas’s aesthetic. There’s something more playful/less dire at heart, carefree melodies with a concerted infusion of pan-global sounds and percussive tics, from Polynesian, polyrhythmic steel drum sounds to laptop-enhanced tribal grooves. Songs like “Sandy Feat,” “Head Spins,” and the aforementioned “Cosmonaut” come off like a tropically situated Cox/Panda Bear cross-pollination, as fronted by the Belle Stars covering “Iko Iko.” And if you hear a little of the Blow’s Khaela Maricich in Mary Pearson coos, pretty sure Khaela does, too. Musicians love their own reflections. Anyway, there’s gonna be a lot of people aping this Lennox-enabled ‘ethereally luminescent melodic psych’ (or whatever we wanna call it) sound that’s swelling, but High Places already cut through the haze. Dig in…

High Places – “Shared Islands” (MP3)
High Places – “Cosmonaut” (MP3)
High Places – “Head Spins” (MP3)

Far as we can tell, there’s a six-song demo and a four-song EP out there, with a full-length on the way. Head to MySpace to grab one more. A nice warm breeze for your wintry holiday mix.

UPDATE: Jeff K. points us to another must-grab track…

High Places – “New Grace” (MP3)

Two minutes and out, file in that ELMP pop meets the Belle Stars category and then repeat, often.

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