To seduce is no easy task. It requires subtle levels of control and abandon, conscious and unconscious behaviors swirling in real time to draw one in. However, sometimes seduction comes naturally, as in the case of San Francisco-based The Northerlies, who need all of a single minute to insinuate themselves in your comfort zone with their floating, folk-dappled â€œpop music-making.â€ Amidst siren sweet vocals, sighing keyboards, softly ringing guitars, and a rhythm section that envelops one like a friendly love seat, the bandâ€™s ever so winning debut, The Great Escape, stirs memories of Belle and Sebastian at their gently probing best (though with oodles less snark and loads more sweetness) as well as more recent charmers like Lavender Diamond, The Mumlers, and Admiral Fallow. In short, this is REALLY nifty music thatâ€™s got depths beyond its immediate surface appeal. The Great Escape is one of those albums that the Impound is sure will continue to reveal itâ€™s fine qualities over time. What with its light-handed update of 60s girl group/classic radio single tropes and shuffling, deceptively breezy tunes, itâ€™s not hard to imagine this sneaking onto a few of the brighter Best of 2013 lists come yearâ€™s end – and theyâ€™ve already got a lock on DIâ€™s own picks for standout debuts this year.
We invited Becky Uline (vocals, guitar, this ‘n that) and Whitney Bekolay (keys, vocals, other fun) to tackle our little philosophical roundtable.
Name: Becky Uline
Nicknames: Beckalina, Bex
Name: Whitney Bekolay
Nicknames: Shitney…mistakenly read as such once a week for a whole semester by a nun over the PA at my catholic all girls high school.
What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you see the word “God”?
Becky: A bit of worry. To me, when the word is capitalized like that it means someone is using it to get away with somethingâ€¦or to not take credit for their very own humanly good natured-ness. If it’s used in a meaningful way to describe that which looks over you throughout life, then I think it can be sweet and good.
Whitney: Oneness…harmony…mystery. I don’t know about God but I do believe that every living creature is bound together by something deeper than we can see or express. Trees…it’s all in the trees for me. Call it God if you will. I don’t object.
Which has the better cosmology, Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?
Becky: I can’t say I am well-versed in either’s cosmology, but from what I know Star Trek seems like it would be a more fun world to experience, especially since you can ask machines to whip things up for you in a space-second and you get to use many devices that make fantastic noises.
Whitney: Star Wars. Someday we will be our own demise and our planet will implode and the voice of billions of souls will create the most horrific sound since…well since the last planet of fools imploded. Plus I dressed like Leia three years in a row as a kid.
Name one album that has spiritual resonance for you.
Becky: Aretha Franklinâ€™s The First 12 Sides
Whitney: Cat Stevensâ€™ Footsteps in the Dark…the only album to have â€œIf You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out.â€ This should be mandatory listening for all teens. It is religious…â€Don’t Be Shy,â€ â€œOn the Road to Find Outâ€â€¦”I listen to the wind to the wind of my soul”â€¦doesn’t get any better for those teenage years of hell, despondent and lost, aimlessly searching for a place in the world. Cat Stevens was my anti-depressant. Often still is.
Woody Allen once said, “I don’t know the question but sex is definitely the answer.” So, what’s the question?
Becky: How are baby platypuses made?
Whitney: What is the best way to get out of my head?
You can have a dinner party with any three people throughout human history. Who do you invite, what’s on the menu and what intoxicant do you share for dessert?
Guests: Edward Gorey, George Brassens and Ella Fitzgerald (I think they would all get along swimmingly).
Menu: Burmese tea leaf salad (my favorite!), artichokes, and lots of cheese and fresh baked bread (that just happens to be what I have a taste for right now).
Intoxicant: Fancy port and fresh, warm, seaside summer air (this means we get to have dinner on a lovely balcony that provides this), and the music & lore of my esteemed guests. And maybe some sour candy later.
Guests: Jesus, Muhammad, and (SiddhÄrtha Gautama) Buddha.
Menu: Well, since Jesus is there, need we have anything more than water and perhaps a crumb of bread?
Intoxicant: I might want to take this moment to try peyote, but I’d like to have some grasp of reality so I can remember everything. So, maybe just a nice sativa strain (the non-sleepy one, right? Otherwise I am asleep quickly). Even if we just talked about the weather, I’d be cool with that. I would still KNOW.