Spring is in the air. Trees are turning green. Birds are returning from their winter hideouts. And I’m in the mood for some sunny pop/rock. Luckily this week’s band serves up just that, despite their vaguely alcoholic name. The Morning Benders hail from California, virtual birthplace of sunny music, and they do everything possible to live up to their birthright.
Ok, so that’s not entirely true. The Morning Benders ARE from California, but not from sunny Southern California. They hail from Berkeley, where the band members met while attending college. Frontman Chris Chu originally started recording songs on his laptop, before seeking out drummer Julian Harmon, guitarist and keyboardist Joe Ferrell, and bassist Tim Or. The crew churned out a couple of EPs in 2006 and 2007. Then they released, for free, a full album of covers called The Bedroom Covers. Last year they released their first full-length album Talking Through Tin Cans. It’s one of those albums that’s better to listen to than to talk about, so turn up your speakers and hit play.
It’s easy to hear the influence of The Shins here, and certainly a little British Invasion. But it doesn’t fall into copycat. It takes the influences and derives something new out of them. Which is always cool.
“I Wanna Be Like You” (from The Jungle Book)
This has to be one of my favorite songs from a Disney movie, and this version is among the best I’ve heard.
“Waiting for a War”
“Crying” (Roy Orbison cover)