From the growing San Francisco collective/imprint 20 Sided Records, we present to you Li Xi who just released their Macro Gardens 7″ EP and share the 3 songs here today with us. Formerly members of Sleeptalks, Maryann Tran's vocals take center stage to James Vernon's compositions along with bandmates Will Cline and Dennis Galway care-taking of a musical menagerie of polychrome-floral, electro-pop tones.
On the EP's title track single “Macro Gardens” solid, static bass lines loop in multicolored prints that bring back the revolution of alt-90s-euro beats. Maryann holds tight the inner feelings, sacrifices, possibilities and apprehensions while wondering whether they can be made apparent or conveyed outside of herself. “I sold my soul for love but will it be known to you? The curtain is drawn, the door unlocked, my simple mind is blocked but will it be known to you?” Amid the lyrical wonder, the band picks and chooses their favorite pop moments from the global musical movements since the sunshine pop of the early/mid 60s to craft memorable, captured moments, like spontaneous memories preserved on Super 8 reels. “How will they remember this, the single thing that made them wish a film was made to document the whole of our existence here”.
Li Xi's name translates from Vietnamese to English as 'red envelopes', given out during the Lunar New Year for good luck. As a staple of Tran's upbringing, these red letters or “Red Spells” hold a kind of romantic, astrological power, here sung in half awake quips and accompanied by morning synth bells, singing of the chances, luck and wishes found within the crimson folds. “Then crashing along the guard rails skating across your icy voice, finding out that everything is happening again”, then from the slippery and snowy plains, “along the way, there is a kindness to your voice,” aligning the planets in their favor, “pluto, and venus and us”, and the importance of leaving tender moments alone, “timing everything to plan is scaring the unknown”.
Closing out the EP presents Maryann, James, Will and Dennis are “back in the plastic cell again” in the fuzzy-electric bright burner, “Lonely Sun”. Li Xi's ode to the sun describes it's cycles, post-noon retirements, gifts of afternoons and lazy Sunday mornings. “Now as the noon begins to sway, puts the sun to sleep… here and I've found my place, in the haze of the afternoon, wandering back to you”. After reviewing the merits of space's premiere fiery star in mantric psych tones; we feel as if the San Francisco band has re-asked the age old question, “Who Loves the Sun?”
Li Xi's Macro Garden 7″ is available now from 20 Sided Records. The band is currently working with Ruminator Audio's Monte Vallier in San Francisco on their full-length expected to be released this summer.