California English: Bands on the Rise, New York Edition

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Last week I highlighted two up-and-coming bands from Los Angeles, so to balance things out, this week I’m taking a musical journey to the East Coast and the Big Apple, New York.

The Dig

Back in February 2010, I had the pleasure of seeing my first rock concert in Philadelphia. My friend Alison and I were ecstatic to see the headliner, Editors, in addition to the opener, The Antlers. The Dig was the first opener and I had never heard of the group before, but frankly, their music blew me away.
One of the first things I noticed about the band was their uncommon setup. The bass player, Emile Mosseri, and lead guitarist, David Baldwin, alternate lead vocal duties on the band’s tunes. Mosseri’s instrumental and singing skills shine brightly on “Sick Sad Morning.” I remember listening to that particular song every day for a week after hearing it live. The band does a great job changing up their sound, letting the legit keyboardist, Erick Eiser, take the lead on “Carry Me Home,” a number that starts off simply and slowly builds with the addition of slick electric guitar. The song reaches its pinnacle as Mosseri belts out “They gonna carry me home/Gonna carry me home/To your open arms.” My current favorite track from The Dig’s debut album, Electric Toys, is “You’re Already Gone.” This song speaks to anybody that has ever been left by the person they love: “Oh now baby/Four minutes ago you were in my arms/And now you’re already gone, you’re already gone.” The Dig themselves are not going anywhere, as the band finished recording a new album at the end of 2011 and plan on releasing their sophomore effort at some point this year. I anxiously await the band’s new sounds and grooves.

The Dig is playing at Union Transfer with Ben Kweller and Sleeper Agent on March 21.

St. Lucia

My friend Benjamin first introduced me to the stellar music of St. Lucia during the middle of this past fall semester. As he performed “All Eyes On You,” I was immediately grabbed by the airy synths and beautifully plucked electric guitar. The tune grabbed my attention as the crisp drums entered, shortly followed by an elevating chorus. Benjamin told me to brace myself for the sexy saxophone solo at the 2:22 mark.
I soon learned that St. Lucia is the musical effort of  South Africa native Jean-Philip Grobler. St. Lucia’s electro-pop creations began to take shape when Grobler moved to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Support for Grobler’s musical endeavors has increased dramatically within the past month, given that indie music label Neon Gold will release a new St. Lucia EP and full-length album this year – the first album in Neon Gold’s history. With gems such as “The Old House Is Gone,” it comes as no surprise to me that Neon Gold has so much faith in Grobler. My current favorite from St. Lucia is “We Got It Wrong,” a shimmering track filled with echoing vocals and catchy synths. As NME recently wrote, “No man is an island. Except for St. Lucia.” I could not agree more.

St Lucia is playing in Philadelphia at  The Blockley with The Knocks and Savoir Adore on March 7th.

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