For the third Sunset Sounds festival it rained, it poured, it pelted down. Water came down in sheets, hell it came down in slabs. Even those who came with waterproof clothing were completely soaked not just to the bone but to the very marrow. Sunset Sounds became Sunless Sounds, Soggy Sounds and Mudset Sounds. It brought out the worst in some people and the best in others. Still the show went on and so we report on Sleigh Bells, Cold War Kids, Ladyhawke, Pubic Enemy, The National and Interpol on day one. While for the second day we braved the wet again to deliver reports on The Soft Pack, Peaches, Junip, The Morning Benders, Washington and Paul Kelly.
So that was 2010. What does Webcuts remember most about it? It's hard to say, really. The landscapes shift, the memories flickr and 365 days blur into one long unending soundtrack. One thing our favourite tracks of 2010 all had in common was that they appeared like one night stands that lingered a little longer than usual, almost all of them attached to a singular memory of the song being performed, either from a distance or elbows resting on the stage in mute admiration, or maybe just there emanating from a speaker aimed direct into our inner consciousness, refusing to budge.
For The Morning Benders, a big echo doesn't necessarily mean a big noise, but the latter is certainly what these Californian boys encountered following the release of their sophomore album Big Echo earlier this year, easily giving Webcuts one of our favourite albums of 2010. Perfectly formed and lavishly constructed, Big Echo stretched its influences across the decades, from the lush '60s doo-wop harmonies of "Excuses", the '70s Californian pop-rock of "All Day Day Light" to the peer rivaling, stark echoes (which the album lives up to its name) of "Hand Me Downs".
Oh, summery shimmery albums. Why must you hook us so? Berkeley, CA's, The Morning Benders serve up a treat.