MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

Up-and-Comers: Saint Motel

For the past couple of years, four-piece indie band Saint Motel have been hard at work building a fan base in the Los Angeles area with solid live shows. Now, with a self-released debut album Voyeurs that dropped just last week, they are hopefully poised to reach a wider audience.

The bandmates seem a bit hesitant to categorize themselves (their Facebook page says “you tell us” under “Genre”), but probably the best way to describe their sound is retro-influenced indie-pop. But beyond their sound, I think their biggest selling point is their attitude. They have this way of presenting honest lyrics in a tongue-in-cheek manner with a playful vibe that sounds both cynical and hopeful all at once. Sort of like the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down, I suppose.

Take, for example, the song “Honest Feedback”, a satirical ode to criticism. “So many ways to put a foot in the hearse / A gun gets it done but there’s something much worse / It’s called honest feedback…Your tongue’s magic / Your tongue’s magic now.” This rather cutting lyric comes riding in on the waves of a surf-rock vibe that sounds just plain fun. Go figure. Or the song “Puzzle Pieces,” which deals with a plastic surgery obsession that apparently isn’t making things better for the person discussed in the song; this subject matter is set against a backdrop of Latin ballroom that you could imagine being played on Dancing With the Stars. It’s just this sort of irony that makes me really like this band. They’ve got something to say, but they say it with enough panache to make you smile.

Right now, Saint Motel doesn’t have the benefit of a major label or national promotion; what they do have is a solid Internet presence and solid blogosphere buzz. But most importantly, they have some substance behind the style, and for that, I think they deserve to be heard. I think this is a band with a bright future, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Voyeur takes them.

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About the Author


Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Kim Phelps found her inspiration and love for music listening to local bands play in the coffeehouses around town. She soon found her own voice as a singer-songwriter, and eventually began playing her own gigs in the coffee shops. Her personal influences include Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, Ingrid Michaelson and Cat Power, but as an indie musician herself, she has an affinity for any band or artist who pursues creative freedom on the outskirts of the music industry. As our Indie correspondent, Kim makes a point of highlighting up-and-coming independent acts who are creating a buzz and building an audience. When she's not blogging for us or playing in the coffee shops, Kim works as a barista herself to help pay the bills. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Posted in: Featured, Indie/Alternative Music


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