A ‘magical’ music role

The short story is: In 1990, Robyn Rosenkrantz and Michael Glover quit their jobs, bought one-way tickets to Amsterdam and, with only their backpacks and guitars, moved to Europe, where they lived for 12 years, traveling the world and, as the folk-pop duo Bright Blue Gorilla, releasing four albums. Two years ago, they moved back to Rosenkrantz’s native L.A. to pursue Hollywood dreams and landed their music -- and a part -- in the Touchstone Pictures movie “The Last Shot.”

In the longer version of the story of how a couple who busked across Europe came to hobnob with the likes of Matthew Broderick and Alec Baldwin, Rosenkrantz makes frequent use of the words “magical” and “miracle.” It’s enough to bring a smile to the face of anybody who, perhaps in a coffeehouse or bookstore, has come across Bright Blue Gorilla’s charismatic act and winsome music, which features Glover on guitar and Rosenkrantz on a mini-guitar.

Their improbable twists included not just landing the part but also being written into the script by director Jeff Nathanson. “One day of work turned into six weeks,” Rosenkrantz says. “The whole experience was like a dream come true; we’re performers, we play music and we act, and Michael is a writer who had finished a script.” What’s ahead? Visitors to www.bright soon will learn of a November show in which the duo will perform before a screening of Glover’s full-length indie effort, “Sister Sarah’s Sky.”



Songs to party to

When Paul Layton was at home crafting the “dressed-up pop songs” that would fill his band Layton’s debut album “Grand Design,” he was going for modern. The sound he got was more retro -- which is more an indication of how close the 1980s and 2004 sound these days than a reflection of his talents.

The Orange County-based group, which Layton co-founded with his sister (and vocalist) Lara, makes electro-styled, computer-tweaked rockers -- songs in search of a good party. “I wanted the record to be a hybrid of naturalistic sounds captured on computer,” Paul says.


Included, for instance, is a string sequence sampled off an old gospel record.

And of comparisons the singer-guitarist has heard to the music of David Bowie? “I think we’ll have my sister sing more on the next record.”

The band, with multi-instrumentalist Jason Vivrette and drummer Michael Zirbes, is working hard to re-create Layton’s soundscapes live.

Layton performs tonight at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa and Wednesday at the Viper Room.