August 30, 2011

Lemolo: In Black and White [video]

by

On a crisp February morning we boarded the ferry bound for Poulsbo. A white winter sun broke through low-hanging fog, the smell of salt water and sea kelp filled our noses, the winter wind mussed up our hair. We stood on the deck, clutching hot, strong ferry coffee and looked in wonder at the city on the shore we were leaving behind and toward the expanse of Sound and islands that greeted us. To the ladies of Lemolo, who ride this ferry between gigs on the mainland and their quieter life, this is an every day journey, a routine. To us and the rest of the world, it is an adventure.

Once we made it to the Peninsula, we drove small, wooded, curvy roads with quaint names, the sea air still ever-present, huffing lung-fulls like addicts. According to the band, we would know we were close to our destination, the childhood home of Lemolo’s lead singer Meagan Grandall, when we reached Lemolo Drive. It was every bit as picture perfect as we imagined: coves strewn with drift-wood, the winter sun peeking through evergreen branches, an old gas station, long-closed with bold type-set on the awning, in all-caps: LEMOLO. We were very near.

Turning towards the Sound, we arrived in a small neighborhood of family homes, where Grandall grew-up and where Lemolo, the band, was born. Grandall and drummer Kendra Cox, stood like children, faces pressed against the windows awaiting our arrival, and ran to greet us like old friends. They grabbed gear from the car, chattered excitedly about us making it out to Poulsbo, pointed out the neighbors homes, the scenery, the little girl playing outside who was the inspiration to “Whale Song” with the pride of parents. On the kitchen table, a spread of hummus and veggies, crackers and fruit were carefully laid out, “Are you guys hungry?” they asked. We weren’t, that ferry coffee was burning holes in our stomach and we were giddy to get filming. The girls looked crest-fallen at our response before Kendra blurted out, “Someone, please just eat something … a carrot, anything. We’re starving.” Ever the gracious hostesses, the girls had been waiting hours, eyeing food ravenously waiting for us to take the first bite. On the walls there were family photos, prom pictures, baby photos … these are the glimpses of real life and real people off-stage that we are allowed to see when band’s welcome us into their homes and practice spaces.

Lemolo, a band now taking Seattle by storm with their sensual melancholy, practice in Grandall’s basement bedroom. It is neither sensual nor sad. The carpet is plush and beige. Photos from vacation hang beside gig posters. A brand new drum kit is placed next to an organ. Bay windows let the sun stream in and their songs stream out to the neighborhood. A bed pushed against the far wall. It is basic, a bedroom like any other bedroom, yet, this is where magic is made.

Sitting there on the plush carpet as the band banged barefoot through new songs “On Again Off Again” and “Fort Warden” you could still smell the sea air. Neighbors came and pressed their faces against the window, listening intently. There are no nasty notes here, just appreciation, because Poulsbo knew long before Seattle caught on, Lemolo is something is special.

This weekend Lemolo will take that ferry from Poulsbo to play the biggest shows of their lives: opening the Dave Matthews Caravan on Friday at the Gorge and playing Bumbershoot on Monday at 4:30 pm at the EMP Level 3.

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Lemolo ::: photo by Dianna Potter

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Lemolo ::: photo by Dianna Potter

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Lemolo ::: photo by Dianna Potter

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Lemolo ::: photo by Dianna Potter

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Lemolo ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

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Ferry Home ::: photo by Dianna Potter

p.s. Why if this is in a basement and in black and white just like the Pickwick video is this not “From the Basement?” Well, you see, it turns out there’s already a “From the Basement” and it’s a music series in the UK run by Nigel from Radiohead. We had no idea when we named the Pickwick video, so from here on out, these practice space videos will be called “In Black & White” not only because of the treatment of the video, but because we feel these sessions, shot in homes and practice spaces, show bands at their barest and most basic. Whatever the name, we hope you enjoy!

13 Comments

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  1. Could this be any better? I don’t think so. You’ve achieved some kind of perfection here.

  2. ben blood #

    Great video, great sound. Good job all around :)

  3. RFS #

    Wow, that sound is absolutely amazing! Saw this on my phone & ran home to listen to it on the big speakers. Niiice job!!

  4. JoshuaRule #

    Well done!

  5. Rita #

    OMG the tears are streaming down my face, so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing Lemolo with the world. xo

  6. Geoff #

    Nice job on the recording, the audio quality is awesome. I have never been impressed with Lemolo’s songwriting though, especially the lyrics. Way too often it seems as though Meagan repeats the same phrase over and over again. It is only effective to a certain point; then it seems like a crutch for someone that lacks the ability to write complex or intriguing lyrical content.

  7. Yvonne #

    I’ve never been impressed by people who, although entitled to an opinion, feel compelled to share it inappropriately.

  8. Brian #

    Saw Lemolo at The Gorge. Thank you for showcasing their talent, so I knew to seek them out. The show was fantastic! I loved the music – thank you Lemolo and Sound on the Sound – you have a new fan.

  9. Ashley #

    What a wonderful article and videos showcasing my most favorite band – thank you Sound on the Sound!! Lemolo’s songs are hauntingly beautiful and unique, they are always stuck in my head. I’m really looking forward to their album coming out in the near future. Also, I can’t wait to see them play at Bumbershoot tomorrow!!

  10. Ryan #

    This is in response to Geoff’s comment above. Meagan’s fans particularly love her lyrics and song writing abilities. Her songs are actually complex, even when her lyrics seem simple, and share raw emotions that capture real life experiences. Lemolo is my new favorite band and I’m really excited for their next album. Can’t wait for bumbershoot tomorrow. Gooooooo Lemolo.

  11. Roger #

    Thank you for these great videos of Lemolo! I’m headed off to Bumbershoot tomorrow – just for Lemolo really.

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