Even the best bands in the world were local at some point, right? It's easy to forget something like that when looking for a new sound in your area to throw into your music rotation. Only so many good bands out there are already established. Why not catch up on some of those?
Sometimes, though, true gems can be found in the local scene. Aaron & Jane, an acoustic duo out of Glendale, definitely qualify as one such act. And what is most interesting about the pair is that—on paper at least—they seem like they should not even be together.
Aaron & Jane are Aaron Therol and Jane Kim, two Southern California musicians with little in common beyond a shared love for making music. Therol is a passionate guitarist with a gritty voice. Kim, on the other hand, is a classically trained cellist, and her soft, haunting vocals seem almost like an afterthought in the wake of Therol's powerful delivery. And they have only been making music together for just over a year at this point, having met in late August 2009. Yet somehow it works.
Their first album, "A Long Road Home…," portrays their style and personality much better than words ever could. Instead of the usual hard plastic case, the CD comes packaged in an elaborately embroidered felt pouch. While this may seem quirky at first, this humble presentation perfectly matches the sound on the album within.
Aaron & Jane's music is sweet, simple, unaffected, but also layered and profound. The lyrics are not always the most original—on "Miss You," the album's first track, the chorus is essentially "I miss you more than words can say" repeated over an over—but the song still somehow manages to retain a startling power. They could be singing in another language, or complete gibberish, and it would still sound soulful and sincere.
At its most basic level, the band could be dismissed out of hand as just another singer/songwriter team. That criticism fails to take into account Kim's startling contributions. Her cello—and sometimes even her voice—breaks in at the most unexpected times, transforming each track from a solid acoustic solo tune into a compelling and layered duet.
Aaron & Jane's passion and genuine desire to make beautiful music shine on "A Long Road Home…." The album is raw and free of unnecessary production, largely owing to the fact that the band has yet to sign to a label. Local though they may be, it is doubtful that Aaron & Jane will remain unsigned for very long.
Brian McGackin is an alumnus of USC's graduate creative writing program, where he focused on poetry and literary critical analysis.
What: Acoustic duo Aaron & Jane introduce the debut album "A Long Road Home…"
Cost: $10 plus shipping