All you need is a campfire and a circle of good friends. That’s the first thing we thought in 2016 when we saw Mapache, the duo of Glendale natives Clay Finch and Sam Blasucci. We jotted down their name and (even though they had released no music) included the twosome on our Bands to Watch 2017 list. Last week they proved worthy of watching, and hearing, by releasing their self-titled debut album via the label Spiritual Pajamas.
With their sublime harmonies, two-guitar interplay and earnest approach, Mapache (Spanish for “raccoon”) live in the smoky canyons of cosmic West Coast Americana. If the Milk Carton Kids are the charming, erudite duo who silence a coffeehouse with their voices, Finch and Blasucci are the guys in the knit ponchos working the sidewalk outside. Their songs are informed by their experiences outside Southern California — Finch, the cousin of Beachwood Sparks main man Chris Gunst, spent time at Chico State, and Blasucci missioned in Saltillo, Mexico. They made their album with Dan Horne, the producer/engineer/multi-instrumentalist who has recorded or played with the likes of Tashaki Miyaki, Cass McCombs, the Chapin Sisters and Allah-Las, among others. From the Crosby, Stills & Nash vibe of “Mountain Song” to the tender homage “Saltillo” to their take on the old Spanish tune “Aquellos Ojos Verdes,” Mapache more than do right by the music of their home turf.
||| Stream: “In the Morning Light” and “Chico River”
||| Also: Stream the whole album via Bandcamp.