Premiere: Ray & Remora, ‘The Happening’

Ray & Remora
Ray & Remora

L.A. duo Ray & Remora got their start in a most interesting manner: After meeting at a club in Echo Park and bonding over music, Dan Crane and Amanda Walker gave their sensibilities something of a “test drive.” In 2014, they released an EP of songs from 1994; “1994” covered Guided by Voices, Dinosaur Jr., Superchunk, Pavement, Sebadoh and Weezer, dialing the mood toward dreamy, melancholy indie-pop. The test drive worked, and by and large the songs did too.

The vibe established, Crane (Nous Non Plus, Calamine, et al) and Walker (who formerly made music as Glen Parks) embarked on writing originals, and their album “Startle It Up,” out Sept. 16 via Aeronaut Records, is the result. It’s smart, evocative dream-pop that at times recalls the likes of Camera Obscura, Saint Etienne, (certain periods of) Yo La Tengo and, on the opening track “The Happening,” Belle & Sebastian. It’s one of Walker’s older songs, and says Crane, “when I first heard it I thought: That’s a great pop song. We started playing around with it and I was reminded a bit of ‘Sleep the Clock Around’ by Belle & Sebastian, so you can hear a little of that influence in there, I think.” Walker’s assured vocals, though, belie the conflict that inspired the song: “I was 18 and in a relationship that was about to become long distance — Los Angeles/New York,” she says. “It’s funny and sad. Funny because here we have this smiling peppy song but it’s about being young and figuring out the differences between love and convenience.” File under: New indie-pop sophisticates.

Live, the duo have added keyboardist Jeff Liffmann (MOONZz) and Damon Kellard (who drums for Robert Francis).

||| Stream: “The Happening”

||| Live: Rey & Remora will play the Chinatown Moon Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17.

||| Previously: “Gold Soundz” video, Ears Wide Open