The Good Listeners’ long, strange (musical) road trip



The Good Listeners have made three albums of good listening, but the Los Angeles duo – Clark Stiles and Nathan Khyber – have always been as much about the process as the product. Their debut “Ojai” was written and recorded, one song per day, at a small house in that town; their second album “Crane Point Lodge” was made amid ghosts and isolation in remote upstate New York. For their third, Stiles and Khyber tried something even more unusual:

Toting their recording studio cross-country in a rented RV, the duo over the course of 24 days made 12 songs at 12 locales with 12 different collaborators. The journey was filmed as a documentary for the CD/DVD release “Don’t Give Up Your Daydream.” The movie, which earned a special jury prize at the Nashville Film Festival, captures Stiles and Kyber – former rockers in the failed major-label band Absinthe – as they wrestle with their motives for making music in the first place.

The musical travelogue also features a zany cast of collaborators that includes Bingo Richey (in whose “Integratron,” pictured above, “Square Houses” was made; Bugs Salcido (with whom they worked on a ranch in Marfa, Texas); Ron “Black” Guidry (who recorded with them on his swamp-tour boat in Houma, La.); “Daddy Mac” Oar (an auto mechanic who demanded $500 for the session in Memphis); and actor/musician Adrian Grenier (a friend of the band who rendezvoused with them in Louisville).

It’s a trip you could not make up, and, in retrospect, how an album emerged from the journey is pretty remarkable. The film has its L.A. premiere tonight. Recommended.

||| Download: “Chemtrails” (expires Thursday)

||| Live: “Don’t Quit Your Daydream” screens tonight at the Egyptian Theatre (doors 6:30 p.m., screening at 7:30), followed by a Q&A with Khyber, Stiles and Grenier, as well as a live set by the Good Listeners.