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Two Loons For Tea


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Acoustic-, ectronic- and jazz-flavoured evocative/eclectic alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, Nine Lucid Dreams (2007)

See also:

Two Loons for Tea's site

Sarathan Records

Two Loons for Tea's Myspace page

Comparisons:

An acoustic combination of Portishead, Splashdown and Lamb, with a touch of the guitar-work of Henry Frayne from Area/The Moon Seven Times/Lanterna

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Two Loons For Tea are a Seattle band, with strong female vocals layered around acoustic riffs, hypnotic beats, and percussive colorings. What distinguishes them is their ability to mix in brassy jazz and a little bit of soul, all within a catchy pop sensibility. Though their musical style isn't ground-breaking, their addition of horns and (female) Stevie Wonder-like vocals gives them a deeper emotional range than you often get in alternative pop. (jmgurley@drizzle.com)

I have been utterly obsessing over the Seattle group, Two Loons for Tea. Their music is a wonderful combination of jazz, pop, electronic touches, atmospheric guitar, and great raspy/rich vocals. I had been listening to their files at mp3.com for quite a while, but hearing their albums each as a whole was a revelation. There's something about their sound that makes playing their albums an obsession for me—the mix of smoothness with liveliness and depths of the flowing sound. And of course the great guitar and vocals. Heavenly. I consider them my musical discovery of the year for 2001! (Neile)

I *love* Two Loons For Tea. (meth@smoe.org)

I just this evening listened to Two Loons For Tea for the very first time and was floored by them. (vickie@enteract.com)

Recommended first album:

Start anywhere—all are great. (Neile)

Recordings:


Two Loons For Tea

Release info:

2001—Sarathan Records—sarathan 042

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Scott—vocals
Jonathan Kochmer—electric, acoustic, and synth guitars

Guest artists:

Mell Dettmer—effects
Mike Dillon—vibes, tablas, percussion
Dale Fanning—drums, percussion
Trey Gunn—warr guitar
Brad House—bass, bass clarinet, percussion
Eyvind Kang—viola, erhu
Jessica Lurie—saxophone
Pat Mastelotto—drums, percussion
Chris Murphy—piano, Hammond
Skerik—saxophone
Paul Black—percussion
Geoff Krause—guitar

Comments:

A powerful first album that brings together years of musical experimentations and announces a talented creative partnership between Sarah Scott and Jonathan Kochmer. At times Scott's vocals are reminiscent of Karen Peris from Innocence Mission and of Stevie Wonder, while Kochmer's guitar rings with the atmospherics of The Edge (U2) or Henry Frayne (Area/The Moon Seven Times/Lanterna). The bevy of guest artists add a diversity to the soundscapes these two bring together. The bulk of the album tends to border on mid-tempo pop, but at its liveliest it funks-out like early '70s era R&B. Think a trip-hop Talking Book. Standout tracks are "Carousel" and "Neon Nothing." The most radio-friendly is "Boy," which granted is not their best effort is nonetheless nice ear candy. This ranks as a pleasant discovery in a generally lackluster year for new bands. (jmgurley@drizzle.com)

This album has been an obsession for me. The songcrafting on this album is amazing: Sarah Scott uses for voice and the lyrics like another element on the already-interesting instrumentation. I have played this album hundreds of times and never tire of it. (Neile)

I bought this largely on the strength of Neile's recommendation, and I was not disappointed. It arrived too late to make it into my top-10 of the year, otherwise it would surely be included. Well, this definitely should've been one of them. (afries@zip.com.au)


Blue Suit (single)

Release info:

2002—sarathan records—099

Availability:

See CDBaby or website for availability

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Scott—vocals & lyrics
Jonathan Kochmer—composition, guitars, string arrangment, production

Guest artists:

Paul Bushnell—bass
Matt Chamberlain—drums, percussion, production
Mell Dettmer—effects, mixing, engineering
Jeff Greinke—synthesizer
Trey Gunn—Warr guitar
Brad Houser—bass
Eyvind Kang—violin & viola, string arrangement
Eric Rosse—Hammond organ, arrangement, string arrangement, editing, production
Skerik—saxophone
Cameron Stone—cello

Produced by:

Eric Rosse, Matt Chamberlain, Mell Dettmer & Jonathan Kochmer

Comments:

This is a two-track single, released in advance of Looking for Landmarks. Two strong and wonderful tracks that will make you anxious for the full-length release. (Neile)

Looking for Landmarks

Release info:

2002—Sarathan Records—071

Availability:

Wide in the U.S., on CDBaby, or check their website

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Scott—vocals & lyrics
Jonathan Kochmer—composition; electric, acoustic, baritone, bass & synth guitars; lyrics; rhythm programming; string arrangment; production

Guest artists:

Tom Armstrong—percussion
Paul Bushnell—bass
Matt Chamberlain—drums, percussion, wave drum, v-drum, cajone, shakers, Marxophone, production
Amy Denio—accordion
Mell Dettmer—effects, mixing, engineering
Mike Dillon—vibes, udu, shaker, congas, percussion
Craig Fleury—flute, saxophone
Jeff Greinke—synthesizer
Trey Gunn—Warr guitar
Brad Houser—bass
Shahzad Ismaily—bass
Eyvind Kang—violin & viola, string arrangement
Keith Lowe—bass
Dave Palmer—keyboards
Reuben Radding—upright bass
Eric Rosse—piano, Hammond organ, Casio, arrangement, string arrangement, editing, production
Skerik—saxophone
Cameron Stone—cello
Chris Stromquist—percussion

Produced by:

Eric Rosse, Matt Chamberlain, Mell Dettmer & Jonathan Kochmer

Comments:

Layered with sound, powerfully guitar-based, and bound together with Sarah Scott's yearning raspy-honey voice, this album is a wonder, a sophomore album that plays on all the strengths of their first album. The tunes and lyrics are catchy; the production is rich and detailed but never cluttered. Each song is individual but adds up to a whole—an album to listen to obsessively.
     These songs are beautiful, memorable, earthy, light and dark and all colours, and they'll take you places as you listen.
     These songs are edgy and familiar, carefully constructed and layered with sound and yet still fresh and alive with a sense that they haven't been worked to death and allow for serendipity and the delights of invention.
     I was picking lavender blossoms when I listened to this disc for the first time, which somehow seemed appropriate—something familiar and yet powerfully fresh and spicy.
     This is clearly the next step in their musical journey. I would say that this is more or that this is better than their first, except in no way would I want to denigrate that first album, which I love and can play to death with no worries of ever tiring of it. I would say there's more variety in this, except there's plenty of variety in the first album too. I know that I'll be able to play this one as much and as obsessively as their first—if not more. (Neile)

I got this last year and was surprised and pleased. I thougt it would be more electronica-like, but it's actually really organic and interesting. (neal)

I got the most recent Two Loons For Tea album, Looking for Landmarks, which is actually the first of their CDs I've heard. I know, shame, shame. *wry smile* I like it a lot, both for Sarah Scott's great voice and the feel of the music. (mcurry@io.com)

Lovely ectronica..thanks neile! On my best of 2002 list. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

I bought both their albums this year, but I'm only mentioning the latest one here. Both are really, really great and will find their time in my player in the time to come as well. (onealien@mo.himolde.no)

A favorite album of 2002. (gordoja@optonline.net)


Nine Lucid Dreams

Release info:

2007—Sarathan Records—SAR 012

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Scott—vocals
Joanathan Kochmer—acoustic guitar, baritone guitar, basss, electric guitar, keyboards, vocals

Guest artists:

Tom Biller—bass, electric guitar, keyboards
Paul Bushnell—bass
Matt Chamerlain—drums, percussion
Mell Dettmer—bass, keyboards, Omnichord, percussion
Mike Dillon—marimba, Omnichord, percussion, vibraphone
Brad Houser—bass
Eyvind Kang—strings, string arrangements
Brian MacLeod—drums, percussion
Pat Mastelotto—drums, drum programming, percussion
Don McGreevy—bass, percussion
Sebastian Steinberg—bass
Steve Moore—celeste, keyboards
Eric Ross—drum programming, keyboards
Patrick Warren—keyboards

Produced by:

Tom Biller, Mell Dettmer, Jonathan Kochmer, Eric Rosse, Sarah Scott

Comments:

I confess that I am a fool for Two Loons for Tea. There's something about the wonderful way they construct their songs, the combination of Sarah Scott's soulful, rasping vocals, the catchy lyrics that always seem to take me into whatever emotion their songs are conveying. This new album is no exception: "Sunset Room" takes me into a dreamy sunset; "Monkey" and "Dixieit Up!" are lively and fun; "Waiting," "Strongest Man in the World," "Eyebrows are Nature's Makeup," "Toxic Shellfish in the Sun," and "Stand on Your Head" are torchy, yearning, powerful songs; "Consuela," with Jonathan's whispered vocals, is an eerie and intriguing; "Tragically Hip" and "Marietta" are lively but also haunting. A strong album, and highly recommended—the more I listen the more it grabs hold of me. (Neile)

Further info:

Email info@twoloons.com


Thanks to James Gurley for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2011-05-07 23:07:46.
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