Ears Wide Open: Strangers You Know

Strangers You Know
Strangers You Know

Somewhere over on the Westside there’s a grist-pop mill, and the new L.A. do Strangers You Know are the latest to man the controls. The collaboration between Santa Barbara native Grady Lee and L.A.’s Adam Haagen began three years ago when they met at Coachella — where, presto, they will be playing this year. Some months of experimentation and a few singles later, they’ve nailed the now-familiar formula of advancing folk music into the new era. Which is — and stop me if you’ve heard Grizfolk before — to add synths and beats atop acoustic guitar, atop mandolin, atop piano, atop strings and atop banjo. And, of course, write a damned chorus. The music on their new six-song EP “Loosen Up the Leash,” out Friday, his its roots in knit-beanie-clad troubadours, and even the specter of John Mayer, with Lee’s guy-next-door vocals pulling all the right heartstrings (“Believe in Me,” “Tell Me I’m Alright”). Besides Coachella, Strangers You Know will be getting to know outdoor audiences this year at the Hangout Music Festival, BottleRock Napa Valley and the Firefly Music Festival. There will be much singing along.

||| Stream: “Used”

||| Live: Strangers You Know celebrate their EP release with a headlining show Friday at the Roxy, joined by Arms Akimbo and Ghost Lit Kingdom. They also perform at Coachella on April 16 and 23.