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Monday, December 26, 2005

Wendy & Lisa - near the Pacific, but not Pacifico - Jan 25

If you are in Wendy & Lisa's fan base, you are probably Far Too Famous to read lil' ol' Katrina. But if you're not, it's never too late.

Therefore, take note that Wendy & Lisa's residency at Largo Los Angeles is being continued into 2006. The new shows are duo-only, their temporary autonomous supergroup Pacifico (with folks like Mike Elizondo, Jr. and Doyle Bramhall II, and guests Eric Clapton and Nikka Costa et al.) having scattered to the winds of individual responsibility. But with the duo's dual responsibility in LA, they get to carry on the fun.

If you're in the LA area (or, if you're crazy like me and will fly in from Austin for these things), this intimate venue is the right place to check a group out. Largo is one of those places where the atmosphere is homey and -- like a home -- it incubates the unexpected.

If you're looking for Prince-like music, you are likely to be disappointed. Sorry. Since breaking the tethers of Columbia Records in the late 80s, Wendy & Lisa have gone fairly far afield into their own sound, a kind of singer songwriter meets alternative meets jazz piano with extra notes thrown into the chords. 1990's Eroica presaged the next several years of female alternapop, sounding like Sheryl Crow, the Indigo Girls, and Alannah Myles about two years before those artists or anyone sounding like that had ever hit radio. Mainstream media on this side of the pond didn't notice, but folks like k. d. lang and Michael Penn did, coming along for the ride. Since, the two have been mostly musician's musicians, which becomes obvious the minute you enter any venue in which they play.

The last show I atteneded at Largo was crowded with "close personal friends" from the biz (some of whom, like Eric Clapton, jumped up on stage to jam), and a few lil' folks like myself. So, if you want to know what Wendy & Lisa sound like, you probably already do, even though you've never heard Eroica or Girl Bros. Think early Seal (that's them), Neil Finn (yep), Sheryl Crow's "My Favorite Mistake" (okay, that's just one of them), Eric Clapton's Reptile or Riding with the King (oh, hi there again), and dozens of lesser known artists they songwrite and work with. If you're an Austin person, think Doyle Bramhall II's post-Arc Angels career.

Just do Miss Katrina a favor, and don't listen to any of the tracks on the "Wendy & Lisa" page on MySpace. I'm not sure who selected those, but they're ancient, "the label says we have to sound like Prince to keep our contract" nonsense. Better ignored, really. Oh, yeah - and do go see them at Largo if you're near LA, or just crazy like me. Wednesday, January 25 is the next show. The eve of Wendy's birthday, I can only imagine the surprises up this time.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Wendy & Lisa and the L Word

Of course.

It's been bothering me for a while. How on earth did Wendy & Lisa end up in an episode of Showtime's The L Word, anyway? It's not like anyone's ever heard of them.

But here they are, name checked in "Lynch Pin":

Jenny: What kinda music do you like?

Ewan: Well, uh, mostly I listen to, uh, R&B and funk. Sly Stone, Chaka Khan, Prince. [Jenny and Shane smile at each other.]

Ewan: But I've got no problem wearing headphones if you're not into it.

Shane: (smiling) No, no, Prince is excellent. Especially the Revolution.

Ewan: Yeah, with Wendy and Lisa?

Shane: Yes!

Jenny: God, I love Wendy and Lisa.

Ewan: (chuckling) That's his best shit, hands down.

And it finally occured to me this morning, driving around listening to Miss Gwen Stefani (who also name checks them on her recent solo album's UK release) -- it's got to be Lisa Cholodenko! Yes, I finally Googled the transcript for "Lynch Pin" today, and woudn't you know, the director is Lisa Cholodenko. Another pop mystery solved.