You, Me, & Iowa: Safari Sam's, Hollywood, CA 8.24.07
Over the course of the summer writing for the LG Billboard Mobile Beat, I was reminded of how vast the music scene is in Los Angeles. Yet, I had not taken the chance to fully explore yet. Enter You, Me, & Iowa.
Discovered from my other job moderating for interactive text and music video request show Havoc on the 101, You, Me, & Iowa’s video for “The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful” quickly became popular, being a regularly requested vide on the show and garnering new fans around the country. When I heard they were performing at Safari Sam’s, I had to jump at the chance.
Featuring a good mix of indie, pop, and dance rock, You, Me, & Iowa stand out from much of the LA indie scene. They make simple, fun, and meaningful rock music that could be adaptable by hipsters, teens, and college kids alike (and everyone else, for that matter).
Their short, but impressive six song set featured a mix of songs from their debut EP Bigger Than Boston and a taste of new material from their upcoming, yet to be titled full length. Their lyrics are reminiscent of early Weezer circa Pinkerton with catchy indie pop melodies the likes of Death Cab for Cutie with a hint of prog thrown in to the mix. The band’s strongest point is their ability for great hooks with harmonizing guitars and synthesizers. Most other bands will put the emphasis of the hook on one or the other. Keyboardist Ryan Ross, guitarist Tizoc Estrada, and lead singer/guitarist/original co-founder Andrew Carroll blend together to create a layered sound of tingly keys and intricate guitar melodies that will catch anyone’s ear. Drummer Tony Benedetti supports the hooks with strong drum lines that go from hard and crashing to “dancy” and groovy. While bassist Ryan Julio completes the mix with thick and full bass lines and great stage presence head banging and really letting loose on the stage, getting lost in his band’s music.
(You, Me, & Iowa, joined by friend Ashley who contributed backing vocals on a couple new songs)
On early songs from the Bigger Than Boston era like “Runways and Freeways” and “Working Title” lead singer Carroll sounds like a perfect center between Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. His vocals remain calm and controlled even in more aggressive moments, showing emotion without resorting to scream his lungs out. Newer songs from their upcoming full length like “Goldfish” have the band opening up more musically and playing with song structure. The song’s pre-chorus breakdown sounds like it was inspired by the Starland Vocal Band, complete with synchronized “choreography” that is more quirky than corny, actually.
If I had a qualm, it was that I didn’t get to experience “The Good, The Bad, & The Beautiful” live, the song that introduced me to the band that opens with dueling guitar riffs and a trumpet. But, for the most part, I was left impressed and curious to know more about the band that was given the title of Los Angeles’ Best Alternative Rock Band of 2005 at the Los Angeles Music Awards.
Don’t be fooled by their name, as You, Me, & Iowa’s is great Los Angeles grown music, perfect for that drive home with friends at dusk.