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OC Examiner Reviews SBG:

Schwindy’s indie music spotlight: I See Hawks in LA
February 6, 5:38 AM
Orange County Music Examiner
Gary Schwind

While every album is a listening experience (some enjoyable, some forgettable), some albums go beyond something you just listen to. Some albums you need to absorb. Shoulda Been Gold (2001 to 2009) by I See Hawks in LA is one of those albums.

The title of the album is a tongue-in-cheek name for this “greatest hits record that contains no hits.” I see where the band is coming from. This is not a band that writes songs that will shoot up any charts. But make no mistake. These 17 songs are gold, if for no other reason than the fact that there aren’t too many bands like ISHILA anymore. This is an album filled with songs soaked in the Bakersfield sound, with heavy doses of pedal and lap steel guitar. In other words, this is a band that would make Gram Parsons proud.

The band kicks off the album with a song (“Sexy Vacation”) that is bound to get the old toes a-tappin’. From there, the band takes the listener on a journey through songs about free spirits (“Raised by Hippies”), a senator (“Byrd from West Virginia”), and a place known for a particular crop (“Humboldt”). And yes, most of these songs are heavily influenced by the Bakersfield sound. But there is one whose influence comes from much further east. “Laissez les Bons Temps Roulet” is pure ISHILA, but heavily influenced by the music of Louisiana. This song will make you want to spread some salt on the floor to make it easier to move around.

It doesn’t take long to realize that every song on this album is a good story. And that is why you want to…no, need to absorb this album. You need to hear the stories as well as the melodies and harmonies. Do yourself a favor and pick up this album, particularly if you are a fan of Flying Burrito Brothers. I can guarantee two things if you do. First, you won’t feel cheated. This album uses up most of the available space on the disc. Second, you will hear a lot of songs in the vein that sound like they could just as easily have been recorded 40 years ago. And then, when you put the album on, turn the sound up and just absorb the music.

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