The Young Tradition - California Morning EP

matinée 043  /  July 2003
The Young Tradition - California Morning EP
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The Young Tradition - California Morning EP

matinée 043  /  July 2003

First fruit of a partnership between Brent Kenji (The Fairways, The Guild League, Skypark) and a Swedish chap called Erik Hanspers. The two have yet to meet, collaborating instead through the marvels of our international postal service and a shared sense of songwriting. The Young Tradition is a unique alliance producing beautifully orchestrated songs with jangling guitars, keyboards, trumpet, rich melodies and Brent's captivating vocals. The sort of single that demands repeated listens again and again, this brilliant debut features two inspired originals and an earnest cover of "Isolation" by San Francisco pop heroes Poundsign. An absolute score for the Matinée roster, the duo is currently working on tracks for its debut album. In the meantime, marvel to the splendid sounds of your new favorite band! Limited to 1000 copies.

  1. California Morning
  2. All Up To Me
  3. Isolation


The Young Tradition is made up of Brent Kenji of San Fransisco-based indie poppers the Fairways on vocals and Erik Hanspers from Sweden on all the instruments. Despite the name, there is nothing traditional about the way this wonderful EP was recorded. The two architects of the Young Tradition had never met and all the recording was done by trading tapes through the mail. Maybe more bands should try this approach because these two have hit on some magic here. The three tracks on the EP are light and lush indie pop songs that are drenched in sunshine and bathed in instrumentation. Hanspers combines organs, synthesizers, trumpets, bells, harpsichord, harmonica, and various forms of percussion to create the perfect backdrop for Kenji's sensitive and aching vocals. Just to add to the almost unbearable lushness, Kenji multitracks his vocals and lays down some beautiful harmonies. Kenji and Hanspers didn't skimp on the songwriting, either. Many bands that tread similar Beach Boys- and Belle & Sebastian-inspired, arranged pop paths seem to feel creating a sound is good enough and that there is no reason to bother with memorable tunes. The title track "California Morning" is the kind of song that instantly brings a lump to your throat, pure mid-tempo melancholy. "All Up to Me" is a lilting tune with a dramatic arrangement. The third song is a cover of #Poundsign#'s "Isolation" that improves on the original and has Kenji's most emotional and affecting vocal. California Morning is a magical EP that will leave indie pop fans desperate for a full-length. Send your stamps to Matinée today and help speed the process along.   --All Music Guide
They say John Phillips is dead but I refuse to believe it. They say Carnie Wilson has had her stomach stapled and that the California Surf Soccer team are working in Burger King. I heard they just elected a Neanderthal as governor. None of this can be true, can it? I'll stick to my old surfing movies thank you very much. At least they always tell the truth. 'California Morning' is intoxicating, mesmerising, totally huggable, recalling the beauty of those late 1960s San-Fran anthems you can all name yourselves quite easily. Those with the benefit of deep pockets or a broadband connection and patience might also seek out for cross reference purposes Hurrah!'s 'Gloria', The Sea Urchins' 'Morning Odyssey' or The Springfield's 'Sunflower.' They might even still be currently available on some compilation or other. This is in the same class. The single of the year so far!   --Wide Open Road
Despite all my complicated theories about good music and what makes it that, deep down I know that things are simple - very simple: there is music that makes it easier for me to be who I want to be, and music that doesn't. The music the Young Tradition make certainly falls into the first category. When I first heard 'California Morning' my heart jumped as if the weight of the world had left it for a while, and I didn't care even though Nick called it 'this sixties pastiche', because I knew it was a song with the power to do magic. For it is a song full of pop clichés - California, sun, morning, summer, pebbles in her hair and Beach Boys' harmonies, Byrds' guitars and a trumpet - but with a real pop feeling and the most beautiful phrase I've heard all year: "There's a cloud in my heart for you." I've listened to it hundreds of times and it still brings tears to my eyes - probably because it feels like it tells my version of the story of my life in 2 minutes and 44 seconds. You could indeed call it a sixties pastiche, but then you would be missing out on its genuine nineties/noughties innocence: it's a record made from grown-ups who have stayed children for grown-ups who have stayed children - it is deliberately made to feel and sound this way. The second song - 'All up to me' - is less important as b-sides ought to be, pleasant and well-written, proud owner of a Beatles' bounciness and straightforwardness, a Gorky's Zygotic Munci's whimsicality and it would do very well as a carousel song - a quality I never fail to find endearing in a song. As for the third one, it is a #Poundsign# cover and it sticks out a little as being differently structured (which, if you think about it, is what it should do). It is a considerably quieter, lullaby-like version of the original and even though I am not sure I would say it is better, it is sweeter, softer and it goes a long way to reveal this rather unusual song's beauty. All in all, it is really quite haunting. One of my favourite things this year, and I really wish you'd love it too.   --Friends of the Heroes
The almost-nine-minute California Morning is The Young Tradition's first release, and from the sound of things, it appears to be the beginning of a long tradition (pun intended, terrible as it may be) of fine music from this pop duo. Members Brent Kenji and Erik Hanspers have yet to meet in person, but that hasn't stopped them from piecing together three sparkling songs via mail. The title track is a delightfully twee affair, with "ba-ba-da"s that come in exactly where you'd expect them to. Relaxing and luxuriously garnished with keys and trumpet, it's an excellent halfway point between the chamber pop of Ladybug Transistor and melodically brasher indie fare like Death Cab for Cutie, minus the striking guitars and in-your-face production. "All Up to Me" isn't as heavy-handed with its melody line, but it's still just dandy, employing a farfisa organ to great effect. The disc wraps up with "Isolation", a Poundsign cover that is treated with the same varied instrumentation as the band's other songs. All in all, this three song taster is well worth your time.   --Splendid
The Young Tradition are a duo of Brent from the Fairways and a Swedish fellow named Erik, who have actually never met each other, recording these three songs via tapes in the mail. The songs are unsurprisingly perfect pop in the vein of the Fairways, Ladybug Transistor and Belle & Sebastian. Jangly acoustic and electric guitars, a backdrop of organs, assorted percussion, a trumpet here and there, and of course, Brent's heavenly vocals make this a perfectly joyous masterpiece of light and airy indiepop! There's no point trying to pick favorites on this ep, as all three songs are wonderful, from the jangly title track to the bouncy "All Up To Me" to their acoustic cover of Poundsign's "Isolation"! A sure winner! MTQ=3/3   --IndiePages
More glorious stuff from Santa Barbara’s Matinée Label, The Young Tradition split their time between sounding like a modern-day incarnation of a drug-parched Beach Boys and working the sun-baked fields of Teenage-Fanclub’s jangly fey-pop. Okay, in places it may well tempt Brian Wilson’s lawyers into launching court proceedings, but there’s a veracity and optimism at work here that infuses every thick melody or stumbling trumpet solo with the soul of West Coast pacification. A wonderful work of art.   --Logo Magazine
A remarkably breezy debut release that’ll simply take your breath away. The Young Tradition happened as a result of a collaboration via transatlantic post between ex Skypark man Brent Kenji and Swedish musician Erik Hanspers. Three tracks that invite you to imagine a dippy meeting between Damon and Naomi and the Mommas and the Poppas. Elegantly willowy, there’s something so trembling fragile about this trio of songs that just makes you want to cuddle them, poignant, hurting and above all magical. Opening with the timeless tones of ‘California Morning’ a crafted gem of perfectly woven 60’s folk pop braided by a brief visitation of a lonesome trumpet, the delicately cared for melodies perfectly complimented by Kenji’s lulling soft vocals. ‘All up to me’ canters with a subtle Francophile twist that imagines what Stereolab might sound like if Paddy McAloon was invited to sit in on the writing process, quite exquisite. Finishing with a cover of Poundsign’s ‘Isolation’ which in all honesty I‘d never previously heard, longing and sugary with a faraway kind of feel that just gets you tingling, thoroughly irresistible of course. The duo are currently working on material for an album to be released later in the year.   --Losing Today
The Young Tradition are Brent Kenji of the Guild League and some Swedish sort called Erik Hanspers....and they've never met. Which makes this massively enjoyable single even more remarkable. It's such a shame that the English winter is upon us, because, if I listen to this one more time and I might have to put on my water wings and jump in next doors paddling pool, such is its summery vibe. The title track starts off like The Byrds version of 'Mr Tambourine Man', and doesn't let up on the west coast feel, whilst 'All Up to Me' could easily be Donovan at his hippy drippy best. Final track, 'Isolation' is far more downbeat - thank god, all this happiness isn't good for you - and takes a more introspective route....there's a still a sneaky farfisa in the background, mind. Cracking grown-up pop.   --Tasty
Having learned that The Young Tradition consists of someone in Sweden doing the music and sending it to someone in California to add vocals, I was expecting something really antiseptic. Don't get me wrong, I'm a modern kind of guy, but I think bands need some sort of organic component - like living on the same continent, for example. It's a pleasant surprise, then, that "California Morning" is probably the best single song in Matinée's new batch of releases. Compositionally, it soars way above most indiepop - like a great track from 60s softrock giants The Millenium, or a hidden gem of Simon & Garfunkel song that's somehow only just been discovered.   --The Big Takeover Magazine