Around the same time as Bob Reuter's big CD release I was watching an awful lot of local bands. One of them was Getaway Car, a band with my old friend John Taylor and this genius named Don Williams as the leader. John Taylor was the bass player for the Unconscious, a band I managed to miss almost completely because I was living in Italy during the height of their fame.
Don put out a short CD in 2001 called "First Gear" that this cut, Deep Down, is taken from, and it's a really good collection of songs with great beats and lyrics. Since Don was a bass player himself, John Taylor isn't on the CD. They were a great live band, too. At the time I was impressed by the way they merged beats with a house music sound, though that particular style seems to have passed.
In the early naughts there was a lot of action around a recording studio run by Jason Rook and Chris Deckard called Penny Studios. Jason was a serious, very talented guitarist and Chris was an avant-garde electronics guy who also wrote songs. Hanging around the outskirts of this scene was the beautiful Larissa Dalle, who has one of the most heart-stopping and beautiful voices I have ever heard live.
Larissa would sing and the world would stop. It wasn't just me. I saw her sing at Frederick's Music Lounge one night, and the crowd, normally a drunken, rowdy bunch prone to talking and laughing and clowning around during bands, was dead silent. It was miraculous. Her voice did it. There's really no explanation for it, and I don't know if she ever realized it only happened when she sang; that other people didn't have this same gift.
She seemed to think her songs were simple little things that weren't deserving of any serious consideration, but I always thought some magic touch she had elevated them far beyond the ordinary. So here is one she sang often, Diva, which used to shush the crowds of drunken punks and grunge kids in the early years of the last decade.
I saw Larissa play an outdoor RFT gig in the early naughts with James of Julia Sets (who will be coming up in one of my next posts) and she managed to still an entire street full of people with her voice. Then this siren came up out of nowhere in perfect timing with some silent moment in one of her songs and everyone on the street, including Larissa, stopped in wonder for a second.
Larissa grew up a little, fell in love with Jason Rook, and married him. She now plays with Wormwood Scrubs, and they have toured the world in a small way. The last time I saw them play in 2009, they were doing some very cool acid rock long-form blues jams that were outstanding.