Electro Group, Hearts & Horses, and Arts & Leisure: 3/8

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Electro Group

Electro Group is a trio based “mostly” in Sacramento–they’ve been playing together since 1995, and now two of the three band members live in Sacramento (Matt and Ian), while the other lives in Seattle (Tim). “We make every attempt NOT to describe our style,” said Matt. “Usually others tend to label us ‘Shoegaze’. While the comparisons are usually flattering, and there are a number of bands in the genre that we appreciate, we don’t really think of ourselves that way. I guess that’s not really ours to decide, though.”

Over the years, Electro Group has released two proper albums, a number of 7”s, a couple EPs, and one single. “There’s ALWAYS an album in the works, and probably always will be,” said Matt. “Depending on how we count ‘em, there’s somewhere around 2 to 3 dozen songs in some stage of completion.”

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Hearts & Horses

Hearts & Horses is a Sacramento trio comprised of Juju Hearts, Wes Steed, and Tom Monson. Husband & wife duo Juju and Wes have been making music together for several years, as well as in other local bands. Drummer Monson played with CAKE, Anton Barbeau, and Ross Hammond. Hearts & Horses released their first album, “The Hearts & Horses Method”, a little over a year ago.

Juju said people tend to describe Hearts & Horses’ sound as ethereal, like a movie soundtrack. “Our previous project went through several phases until the maze we were finding our way through opened up to this new space – new enough that we felt it was time to leave our past methods behind and move forward with a new name… we were no longer writing songs, only letting the sounds mold themselves into long pieces strewn together, like the movements of a concerto,” said Juju.  I had stopped finding the words to create the feeling I wanted to portray with the music we were making, and instead, sometimes I would feel a certain sound would be more appropriate to the landscape of the pieces than actual words… Suddenly we were playing these symphonic pieces; we would start a set with Wes making beats or bloops and I would hear a motif in my head, see a story unfold, and start playing a melody on the Rhodes, and find words, if I felt them, as I went… but it still wasn’t quite right. After becoming enamored with Tom’s playing, Wes talked him into joining us for a show… It was an instant connection. He’s so freaking talented and has such a deep catalog of music styles to pull from – he really finishes the sound.”

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Arts & Leisure

Arts & Leisure, created by three former members of Baby Grand, began about a year and half ago, but they  haven’t played many shows since then. “It seemed appropriate after so many years and so many line-up changes to just start fresh,” said band member Cory Vick, “hit the reset button and see what happens.” Arts & Leisure’s style is along the same lines as Baby Grand (60s pop, 70s power pop, 80s new wave, and 90s shoegaze), but as bandmember Cory Vick said, they “dumbed it down”. In other words, they stripped down to the basics–two guitars, bass, and drums–but included two singer/songwriters. Cory described Arts & Leisure’s sound as “Dream-Gaze-Go-Go-Pop (Show Glam)”.

Arts & Leisure will be releasing their debut album, “Choose Your Adventure”, in June.

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