Floating Action - "Desert Etiquette" CD Review (Park The Van) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Floating Action - "Desert Etiquette" CD Review (Park The Van)

DOWNLOAD: Floating Action - "Well Hidden" (from Desert Etiquette)
DOWNLOAD: Floating Action - "Eye of the Needle" (from Desert Etiquette)
DOWNLOAD: Floating Action - "Live at the Grey Eagle" (Free Live Album)

Floating Action - 'Desert Etiquette' CD Review (Park The Van)Floating Action is the “nom de rock” of Black Mountain, North Carolina-based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Seth Kauffman. Kauffman has a second disc, Desert Etiquette, coming out next month which contains ten tracks of low-fi hazy psychedelia which crosses over into country-folk, blues and gospel. The new disc is due out on Feb. 22nd on Park the Van Records and the band will be heading off on a full-band tour of the US this spring which includes a stop-over at SXSW.

Kauffman wrote the lyrics for the Desert Etiquette in two days and then recorded the album over a concentrated period of 48 total hours. Aside from one pedal steel recording on the closing track, every song on Desert Etiquette was written, performed, produced, and recorded by Kauffman himself. Kauffman’s friend and collaborator, Band of Horses bassist Bill Reynolds, mixed the record in a similarly off-the-cuff vein—live and spontaneously over two days, using a vintage Trident console.

This new batch of songs has the space, warmth and feel of a Laurel Canyon-recorded vintage record. The production is crystal-clear and you can hear every instrument – from the brushes on the drums to the sound of the glockenspiel to the Casio burbles. This is also the first disc that I’ve heard in quite some time where the positioning of your speakers is important as the different instruments seem to be spread out across the left and right channels. Desert Etiquette’s songs were recorded without ornamentation or embellishment—often using less than eight tracks per song—and the imagery of Kauffman’s lyrics shines through. There are some lonely and wistful moments on the disc but Kauffman embraces a variety of styles which runs the gamut from "Del Shannon style" rock songs (“Rincon”) to "Troggs style" garage rock (“Modern Gunslinger”). The variety of songs and their catchy, sing-along melodies keep the music fresh after repeated listens.

Kauffman likens the result to Floating Action’s version of Dylan’s John Wesley Harding. With its pared-down instrumentation, Desert Etiquette is distinctly human-scale, a melancholic elegy to the sublime, violent beauty of the American landscape that aims to “capture the feeling you get when you’re in Big Sur.” As Kauffman says, “We're southern band whose hearts are in the west coast.

Floating Action Tour Dates
Feb 28 -- Denver, CO, Hi-Dive
Mar 04 -- Arcata, CA, Humboldt Brews
Mar 05 -- Sacramento, CA, Marilyns
Mar 09 -- Santa Cruz, CA, The Crepe Place
Mar 11 -- Los Angeles, CA, Hotel Cafe
Mar 12 -- San Luis Obispo, CA, Downtown Brew
Mar 13 -- San Diego, CA, Bar Pink
Mar 18 -- Austin, TX, Mi Casa Cantina (Park the Van SXSW Showcase)

Floating Action