Trails and Ways is, by their own description, a “bossanova dream pop” band from Oakland. Or, if you prefer, they also describe themselves as “Brazilian shoegaze”. No matter which one you like, they’ve been getting a lot of buzz in the music blogosphere. Out of a bedroom studio in Oakland, they’ve launched an impressive series of singles, cover songs, remixes, and EPs in advance of their debut album Trilingual, which should be out very soon. They’ve made a few of these digital singles free via their Facebook page. All the while, they’ve made loads of fans through self-promotion and a lot of word of mouth from bloggers.
Keith Brower Brown, who sings and plays synths and rhythm guitar in the band, spent some time living in Brazil. He got really into samba and bossanova, and he came up with the idea to mesh those styles of music with dream pop. He’s joined by Ian Quirk (drums, vocals), Emma Oppen (bass, vocals) and Hannah Van Loon (guitar, keyboards, violin, vocals).
If you regularly read blogs that focus on indie rock, by now you’ve probably heard the Trails and Ways single “Border Crosser”, and you may have also heard “Mtn Tune”. The former landed in my mailbag a while back, and I actually thought that I had already written about it. Instead of featuring those fine songs, though, I’m happy to shine some light on another one of their shimmering songs.
This is that song.
“Tereza” by Trails and Ways
I’m not sure which of the gals is singing lead here, but I really dig it. Maybe it’s because of her singing, and maybe it’s because of the production of the vocals, or maybe it’s because of something else, but this reminds me a bit of Stars. And you guys know how much I love Stars. Listen in particular to the bit from 1:10 to 1:24, when she sings:
I didn’t hear, I didn’t listen
I didn’t look for you
It was me. It was me. It was me
It was me
It was my big loss
That, to me, screams Amy Millan. I have no idea if Trails and Ways counts Stars among their influences, but I really hear it there. I guess part of it is also the thick bass.
One other little thing that I like about this song is the field recording at the beginning and end. Waves crashing? Wind blowing? Both? I can’t say for sure, but I like it. At the beginning of “Border Crosser”, they use a field recording of a train blowing its horn, and I’m not sure that I like that one. It works well here, though.
They’re calling this the “lead single” from the forthcoming album, and it was released as a standalone digital single back in the spring. It isn’t one of the gratis singles, and it looks like iTunes is unfortunately the only legitimate place to download it.
After the album is released (presumably in January or so), they plan to tour the east coast of the United States and head into SXSW with a head of steam. They certainly are putting themselves in a spot to be one of the surprise darlings of the festival. At the very least, their shows should be a lot of fun.
Buy “Tereza” via iTunes here, and be on the lookout for Trilingual in the very near future.