And now, as promised weeks and weeks (and weeks) ago, my long-awaited homage to the Mojave Desert music scene:
I begin my expose of talented musicians living and working in or near my adopted hometown of Palm Springs, CA with Gram Rabbit, a band from Joshua Tree that is quickly becoming my favorite (relatively) unknown local band. Mesmerizing, both musically and visually, GR masterfully blend and bend genres - from Country Rock, to Post-Punk Pop, Electronica and Psychedelia - into their own signature sound that is equal parts ironic, irreverent, haunting and cinematic. On their MySpace site they describe their music as “other, other, other,” citing influences which include “... jesus, the devil... the desert... the easter bunny... aliens... witchcraft, secret societies... sand in my high-heels, the number 333.”
Though I have yet to experience Gram Rabbit in a live performance, from what I’ve seen of their videos, I could best describe their act is frenetic, multi-media, post-apocalyptic psycho-cabaret. Again, the band’s visual program is as eclectic and audacious as their music.
Vocalist Jesika von Rabbit, GR’s audio-visual focal point, fuses her Dale Bozzio meets Emmylou Harris vocal style into rich layers of instrumental and extra-musical sounds that are as stirring as they are whimsical. Though it might be a stretch, I keep thinking of GR’s music as sited - in the same way one might describe an art installation or a work of Architecture as being intrinsically tied to a specific place or locale. Each note, utterance and drumbeat reminds one of the stark, desolate, often lonely emptiness - yet simultaneous sublime richness - of the Mojave. At the same time, their songs possess a universal accessibility that refuses to confine itself to the a purely desert milieu.
OK, I’ve gone on drooling long enough. I highly recommend checking Gram Rabbit out at one of their online venues [MySpace, GR Website, etc.]. And, if you are so inclined, you can click on one of the links provided here to purchase their music at Amazon.