Thanks to a hot tip from a fellow music blog addict, I recently got turned on to the swanky, fun, clever music of L.A.’s Hello Stranger. Fronted by that hot gal above in the red boots (Juliette Commagere), Hello Stranger has put together a polished, diverse, and radio-ready collection of songs on their self-titled debut album.
Hello Stranger formed in 2003 when Los AngeleÃ±a Juliette Commagere and drummer Joachim Cooder (son of bluesman Ry Cooder) met up with the freshly-arrived-in-CA Jared Smith (guitar). With the addition of their bass player Ben Messelbeck, Hello Stranger was born. Their first incarnation as a band was called Vagenius, but I must say Hello Stranger is a vastly better name, mostly because it doesn’t sound like an STD.
Fresh and retro-cool, Hello Stranger alternates between the warm loll of a voice like Chrissie Hynde and the teasing pop sound of the Cardigans, with just enough of the coy ’80s electronica pop sheen a la Blondie. With playful synthesizers and singalong harmonies, you will want to listen this until the last warmth of summer fades from the streets.
Hello Stranger has toured the country three times (once with Kings of Leon), and were recently holding the Wednesday night rotation spot at Spaceland in Silverlake, a gig previously filled by Giant Drag and Rilo Kiley. So keep an ear out for these folks coming to your town. They’re doing a bunch of shows at cool venues in the coming months; Aug 11 at Beauty Bar (San Diego), Aug 24 at Hotel Utah (San Francisco), Sept 5 at the Hi-Dive (Denver) and lots more across the country.
Fluxblog posted up this surprisingly plaintive and pretty two-minute song from them, lamenting the growing distance in a relationship. It is addictively simple, but wrenching as well:
We Used To Talk – Hello Stranger
And then I also highly recommend streaming these other two songs on the Hello Stranger MySpace page:
Her in These Lights (throw this on for your next ’80s house party)
Take It To The Max (Catchy hooks. Stream on MySpace or download a minute+ sample here)
Es Tu Vida (a sexy little Spanish dance hit, a nod to Juliette’s Mexican heritage).
Their new self-titled album comes out August 8th on Aeronaut Records. It’s produced by Ry Cooder and engineered by Don Smith (The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan). I am not sure what’s going on with the album cover — it involves some sort of lunar expedition, accompanied by wolves and crows, with completely appropriate red knee-high boots. Right on, right on. Regardless, this is a disc you should pick up. I am convinced that everyone’s music collection can use more good female-fronted sounds, especially one with a hot chick who plays the keytar at the fore.