Week in Pop: BSKi, The Ruby Suns, Tunabunny

Sjimon Gompers

Behind & beyond the celebrity masquerades with your heroes Tunabunny; photographed by Jennie Cain.

Latitude

Latitude’s own Amy Fowler; photographed by Yasamine June.

San Francisco’s Latitude (comprised of Amy Fowler & members from The Aerosols, Extra Classic, The Bart Davenport Band, etc) recently released the album L’atitude via Royal Oakie Records delivering the following listen accompanied by exclusive insights from leader Amy Fowler. Fresh from their four date west coast tour celebrating the release of their debut full-length—we present a following listen to some of the most cool & clever pop from the Bay that celebrates gifts of the past & future concurrently.

L’atitude is truly one of those remarkable happening song cycles that could only have been made in the Bay Area. The opening “I Call Lately” is something ripped right off the Sunset Strip in a modernist celebration of everything that is west coast & wonderful. The styles are updated toward new wave pastiches that showcase both Amy & the band’s break-neck versatility on “Say What You Mean”, to the punky no wave western dedication to destitution “We’re Degrading”, that arranges the ambivalent attitudes like something that Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Crosby, Clark & company would glady tip a hat to. Latitude excells in the realms of reinvigorating retro anachronisms where throwback influences are heard on slow dance numbers like “Empty Pockets”, the bravado of “Bad Dream”, fallen star fancies on “What a Shame”, beckoning the audiences with vintage rock & roll via “You Are Invited”, power pop odes like “Kitty Likes R&R”, keeping the nu-classics spinning with “Broken Record”, before the final bow of “Sea Anemone” that goes out on an electro floral high note that will dazzle long after the tape has ended. This is an example of contemporary & classic San Francisco pop at it’s sharpest highlighting everything the old school hippies & current era visionaries were tuning into stylistically.

Amy Fowler from Latitude penned the following introductory preface reflecting on the making of the new album:

Latitude started as a solo project. My buddy who worked at Avid gave me a copy of Pro Tools, which prompted a different approach to songwriting—hours spent in my basement (Boring Basement Studios) layering tracks and experimenting with instruments and effects. There’s even a violin in there somewhere. I didn’t really have a goal in mind at the time, I was just enjoying the creative process and learning how to record. Some of the songs came like lightning. Others were coaxed out of that trial and error in the basement.

Lucky for me, my husband Joe is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist. He’s the rhythm section on the first few tracks we recorded—”What A Shame”, “I Call Lately”, “Sea Anemone”, “You Are Invited”. Later I recruited Rob Duncan on bass & Luke Robbins on guitar. We actually ended up re-recording a couple of those early tracks because by then I had a better idea of what I was doing.

Lyrically, the songs are mostly vignettes of real people or moments. There’s a recurring theme about people getting in their own way—and there’s a lot of ways to do that. I can certainly relate to a few. Even “Kitty Likes R&R” is based on a true story about a cat who fearlessly popped into my friend’s room while we were blasting Dylan’s “Country Pie” at full volume. I heard the chorus for Kitty over the song right there. ‘Sea Anemone’ was an end-of-world tale inspired by a hurricane.

Latitude’s debut album album L’atitude is available now from Royal Oakie Records.

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