There’s so much electronic, and rock, and hip-hop going on out there. This time, we’re gonna do something different. This week, we’re gonna slow it down a minute. We’re gonna gaze at our shoes for a night. We’re gonna do something that’s totally ambient, and yet still, totally rocks.
If you don’t know about the Los Angeles based El Ten Eleven, then your ears are in for a treat. You might have heard one or two of their tracks pop up at a coffee shop or a friend’s dinner party. You might have confused them for Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai or some other group that’s equally dreamy. But it wasn’t them, it was El Ten Eleven.
It’s likely that you’ve heard of these guys because they’ve been around since 2002. In all this time, they’ve been steadily touring, recording and performing, but the group has just never caught on in a big way. Which is surprising, because the biggest appeal of this band is the fact that while they may sound like a lot of other soundscape or shoegazer bands out there, El Ten Eleven’s music is way more accessible.
Explosions can just be too epic sometimes. Mogwai can be too emotional. El Ten Eleven, on the other hand, is almost conversational. Their music is a soundtrack that can play in just about any venue, for any set of ears, for almost any occasion. Seriously. Just try to find a point in their most recognizable track, My Only Swerving (link to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfM46XR8wGQ), where the track becomes too much to handle. It just doesn’t happen.
And all of their music is like that: smooth, dreamy, beautiful, and composed. It’s that sense of composure that makes El Ten Eleven stand out. It’s also the reason why no one changes the track when their songs come on (unless of course, you’re just not in the mood for that kind of music).
The really sick part about El Ten Eleven is that their live performances are impressive as well. The band is only made up of two guys. Yep, two. Kristian Dunn provides the groups intricate melodies using a double necked guitar/bass. He uses a lot of effects to give the effect of a full band playing behind him.
Opposite Kristian is Tim Fogarty, on drums, who is much more talented than he might let on. Mixing a variety of acoustic and electric drums, and incorporating loops himself, he fortifies the group’s sound with a strong rhythmic backdrop. Watching the two of them work is fascinating. It’s really interesting to see how the whole thing comes together.
El Ten Eleven is playing at The Federal Bar in Long Beach, located at 102 Pine Ave. in Long Beach, Calif. Tickets are $15.