By Walter Price
Featured Artists: Pearl Charles
In the 1960’s era of things groovy, revolutionary and let it be the world of music was driven in part by the California sounds of psychedelic rock and pop. Sounds that were seemingly influenced by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound recording techniques and transformed into varying odes to what the world needed to feel okay and/or don’t harsh our mellows man…
This is now and the new California sounds are certainly rooted in these same way cool vibes. Most notably created and delivered by Matt Adam’s and his Blank Tapes. Pearl Charles is a descendant of not just the mid and late 60’s sounds that drove a rebellious and hazy culture but also a nurtured past and (possible) future collaborator of Adams.
Charles has released two tracks to the world that finds the singer/songwriter entrenched in the memories of Mamas & The Papas, Tommy Boyce, the trippy era San Fran sounds and many things experienced with the before mentioned Adams.
Where Matt Adams uses his alleged unconventional views of the world around him to create far-out and at times experimental rock and pop, Charles goes straight for the groovy psych pop n’ roll reminiscent of Donovan, Mark Weitz, pick a Wilson and of course Grace Slick.
Let me add that although Charles’ sound is drenched in the past she is in the present. This artists isn’t throwback for the sake of cool. This is her culture.
With a future that will bring a (as yet untitled) release via Burger Records in 2015, Pearl Charles is already proving she is a stand-along artist. An artist with an impressive cavalcade of players in her corral and with an added heaping of charm that will please the most temperamental of music geeks…I asked Pearl to tell me a little about the foundations of these two impressive tracks ‘Night & Day’ and ‘You Can Change’ and she set this charming attribute forth.
Night & Day
Written by Pearl Charles / Sitar Guitar, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keys, Percussion – Matt Adams / Guitar – Taylor Locke / Produced by Matt Adams and Taylor Locke
Recorded by Taylor Locke at The Velveteen Lounge in Los Feliz, CA / Engineered by Kyle Fredrickson
The Blank Tapes were scheduled to play at an event called “Into the Portal: An End of the World Experience” on December 21st, 2012 in honor of the ending of the Mayan Calendar with our good friends the Family Folk Explosion in Mount Shasta but we ended up getting snowed out along the way. We tried to take a side road around the mountain but ended up having to pull over and put chains on in the snow (there are some great pictures of Matt and DA at work!), as soon as we got the chains on we turned around a bend and the car started swerving like crazy on the ice, then we see a truck hauling a boat hanging off the side of a cliff with the highway patrol there to help, that’s when we decided to turn back. We ended up having a very bizarre night in Redding instead which included going to see a strange live karaoke band and being told we were getting too rowdy on the dance floor because we were spilling our drinks and the patrons of the bar (it was an older crowd) were concerned about slipping and falling. Turns out we may have had a better night than our friends who had made it up to Shasta! The next day we were able to get up the mountain though we were basically driving in a white-out. Once we got to the house though we were completely snowed in, we ended up just cooking, playing music, hot tubbing in the snow and having a generally amazing psychedelic experience in the snow which was piled up so high we couldn’t open some of the doors of the house. That’s where I came up for the riff and idea for the song Night & Day.
You Can Change
Written by & Rhythm Guitar Pearl Charles / Bass, Background Vocals – Lauren Barth / Lead Guitar, Drums, Keys, Percussion – Matt Adams / Produced by Matt Adams
You Can Change was just an idea I had been sitting on for a long time until Matt from The Blank Tapes encouraged me to play at our friend Teddy Quinn’s open mic night at Pappy & Harriet’s in Joshua Tree after we’d been staying out at my parent’s place in the desert for the weekend. I can be a little lax about finishing tunes sometimes so this one really just came about from buckling down and putting my mind to getting it done. I ended up loving the structure of the one part so much that I didn’t feel like much more needed to be added, I just added the last two verses and a solo section. Though I try to exercise positive thinking more these days and do believe we have the power to control our destinies to certain degree, I still believe in what this song is fundamentally saying which is more or less you can’t change or help anyone if they don’t want to be changed or helped, going beyond trying to make someone yours as I say in the last verse.
*To check out images from these two trips check out the Pearl Charles directed The Blank Tapes video ‘Nothing’s Gonna’ HERE.