Her genes fit fine
Whether her tones are breathy or sturdy, her moods dark or bubbly, Inara George achieves one quality on her debut album, “All Rise” -- poise. It’s an attribute the 30-year-old singer-songwriter carried over to the first show Monday night in her August residency at the Echo (which featured a guest appearance on accordion by Van Dyke Parks). She charmed everybody in the house.
George’s open-hearted but clearheaded folk-pop has its roots in her childhood -- the daughter of Little Feat guitarist Lowell George, who died when she was 5, Inara grew up in artsy Topanga Canyon -- and the savvy she gained as a member of the bands Lode and Merrick. While some might view being the offspring of a respected musician as a burden, George says: “Lineage is a cool thing, wherever you come from. It gives people an idea of why you make music. It’s not good or bad.... You ask, ‘What is your voice?’ You have to figure that out.”
She figured out plenty in the yearlong making of “All Rise,” heaping credit on collaborator-producer Michael Andrews, who has composed scores for movies such as “Donnie Darko” and “Me and You and Everyone We Know.”
“Songwriting can be lonely, but if you have [strong collaborators] and if you leave your ego out of it, it can be very rewarding,” George says.
Only a year after three-quarters of Helicopter Helicopter packed their gear and moved from Boston to L.A., the band and its adopted home remain in mutual embrace. “You hear a lot of bad things about L.A., but we never experienced that,” singer-guitarist Chris Zerby says. “It’s a great scene with tons of really good bands and great venues.”
Zerby concedes the move has “really put us under the gun” to make H2’s third album, “Hello Ghost,” something special. In the studio of new bassist Phil Buckman, that’s exactly what Zerby, singer-guitarist Julie Chadwick and drummer Dave Foy have been doing.
The new material eclipses the punchy, smart power pop of 2003’s “Wild Dogs With X-Ray Eyes.” Still propelled by Zerby and Chadwick’s vocal interplay, H2 (which performs Tuesday at the Echo) has loosed the buzz-saw guitars and tricked out the arrangements while losing none of the sophistication and humor that set them apart.
“I’ve got 30 bucks to spend / and a hundred hipster friends,” Zerby sings in “Rats of L.A.,” a laconic look at palm-tree-dwelling rodents and whom they might recall. Now that’s somebody who knows Silver Lake.
Angst-y La Crescenta quintet Nural celebrate the release of “The Weight of the World” with a show Saturday at the Troubadour.... Eugene Edwards’ collection of ebullient power pop, “My Favorite Revolution,” has been picked up by Flagship Recordings and will get a wider release Sept. 13. Edwards’ band plays Saturday at Club Good Hurt as part of International Pop Overthrow.