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Trading Twilight for Daylight

Great Northern

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Album Review

Great Northern co-leaders Solon Bixler and Rachel Stolte have both been around the indie rock block a few times, Bixler in the actor's ego trip 30 Seconds to Mars and Stolte in the now-forgotten '90s band Whirlpool. This time, however, they've gotten it right. Great Northern's debut album has a lot of obvious antecedents, mostly from the Dave Fridmann school of neo-psychedelia (Mercury Rev, Grandaddy, etc.) and in Stolte's narcotized, deadpan vocals, the classic 4AD dream pop bands. But Trading Twilight for Daylight's inviting textures are married to a solid collection of tunes, with the terrific and unexpectedly catchy indie rocker "Home," the trippy Flaming Lips-style singalong "A Sun a Sound" and the breathy piano ballad "City of Sleep" serving as particular standouts. Rather than merely relying on atmospheric production (although the well-recorded album has that in spades as well), Bixler and Stolte give all of the songs a strong melodic foundation: the combination of a super-catchy chorus, and some unapologetically ear-grabbing arrangement tricks makes the swirling "The Middle" sound like the great lost freakbeat single of 1967. Nothing in Great Northern's background suggests they were capable of something as impressive as that.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The Los Angeles-based quartet Great Northern creates a shimmering hybrid of alternative rock and textured dream pop. The heart of the band is singer/songwriter Solon Bixler, who was raised in a classical music environment as the son of a composer and conductor. His first introduction to the music business, however, was a stint as the guitarist for 30 Seconds to Mars from 2000 to 2003, followed by a short period in the Grandaddy-influenced psych pop outfit Earlimart. After writing and recording a...
Full Bio
Trading Twilight for Daylight, Great Northern
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