A year ago last week, I wrote that L.A. septet Afternoons were a good bet to release one of the finest albums of 2009. So much for my crystal ball.
Instead, the business of writing, recording and releasing new material has moved glacially (and carefully) for the band, whose operatic pop anthems grabbed L.A. by the ears in 2008. Finally, at the outset of 2010, there is news to report: The group has changed its name to Shadow Shadow Shade (no MySpace page for that moniker yet) and has nearly completed a six-song release of all-new material.
Setting aside local favorites such as “Say Yes” and “Love Is a Western Word” for the time being, the band worked much of the year on new songs – as well as paid attention to its new management/legal team, which told the band in no uncertain terms that a name change was in order because the Welsh pop band the Afternoons were there first.
“It’s been six months of wracking our brain for a name,” says singer-guitarist Brian Canning, who explains that he and mates Aaron Burrows, Brent Turner, Claire McKeown, Sam Johnson, Steven Scott and Thomas Biller finally thrashed out a new name during a band meeting at a bar. That followed, Turner says, one 24-hour stretch that saw more than 250 e-mails exchanged between members.
The new material? It’s 35-plus minutes of music, somewhere between and full-length and an EP, and still subject to some editing, Canning says. “I want to call it a concept EP, but I shouldn’t say that because it sounds too indulgent,” he says. “Let’s just say the songs are long, and flow into one another.”
OK, so … Bands to Watch, 2010: Shadow Shadow Shade.