Best Band: Echo and Drake
There's something about Echo and Drake's music that hits a lot of pop pleasure centers and calls out to a mainstream audience while repping contemporary indie rock styles — the clean guitar lines, the insistent rhythms, the swirling synths, the blankets of reverb and delay, and of course singer/multi-instrumentalist Jon Ericson's vocals, sung in a high tenor and somehow sounding simultaneously intimate and distant. Their still-new album Sundrenched Elsewhere — as apt a title as any — is a sonically rich studio affair that feels significant in its density. "It's maybe kind of lame to say your band is epic," Ericson says with a chuckle, but he adds the band used as many as 80 individual tracks to record one song. The album was also the culmination of Ericson and guitarist Rich DeVito's now-seven-year-long collaboration, during which time, Ericson said, he wrote a lot about the travails of early adulthood. "They say your teens are your angsty period, but my 20s" — he laughs again. While they might sound blissed-out on the surface, he says the album's songs are "all expressing some kind of frustration. There's a melancholy touch to everything. We can't help it." Large as the album sounds, Ericson says the band wants to give restraint a try. In new recordings, he says, "we're trying to have a maximum of one or two tracks per person." And even if he notices life making a little more sense these days, he adds, "I'm sure there'll be other difficult points in my life" to fuel that creativity.
Listen to the band: