An Angle

An Angle


Led by singer/songwriter Kris Anaya, An Angle has a talent for beautifully orchestrated confessional indie pop. An Angle released their second full-length "We Can Breathe Under Alcohol" in May.


Another Saturday night in the house on P Street, and Kris Anaya is holding court. Anaya, the force behind Sacramento-based Drive-Thru Records’ band An Angle is kicking it with friends, musicians, ragtag boozers and total strangers. Odds are before the night is over he'll have written a couple of songs. Some may end up in the trash. Others may make it onto a CD. But it's all good as far as Anaya is concerned. The 22-year old singer/songwriter lives in a virtual crucible of creativity. For proof, look no further than An Angle's new CD We Can Breathe Under Alcohol.

Following on the heels of his 2004 debut ... And Take It With A Grain Of Salt, the new CD shows dramatic maturity from a highly skilled songwriter. Anaya calls the CD a concept album about Sacramento, a town best known for being Arnold Schwarzenegger's temporary home. Maybe that played a part in his inspiration, since much of the CD touches on the political as well as the personal. "My approach is to be as real as I can," he says, "to share myself with people and say what I need to say even if I get busted for it. It's a little bipolar, but I'm trying to be the best poet I can be."

Considering the quality of the songs on We Can Breathe Under Alcohol he may get there some day. Produced by Robert Cheek, and recorded with Kris' many friends and musical associates, the album puts Anaya's riveting half-whispered vocals front and center. His songs draw on multiple traditions, from folk to country to jam band chaos, but somehow each ends up with a uniquely Angular fingerprint. None more so than the enigmatic first single "Green Water."

Songs like the string-laden acoustically driven "Angry Drunk" and the quirky "Born in a Bottle..." cover ground Anaya knows well. He never romanticizes drinking, but rather holds it up to the light in a brutally honest way. "I write songs about not being in love," he says. Of course there are exceptions like "Whales," a minimalist guitar/vocal track on which Anaya takes his sweet time to express his true feelings. "It's about a girl I like," he says of the tune. "I say in it that even if the sun blows up at least we'll be together drinking. It's the only real love song on the record."

Other tracks, like the sad waltz "True Love" and the intricately arranged "White Horse" serve up wry observations about sterile American life and the futility of faith. Others, like the ultra-ironic "Change the World," tackle another favorite target: the indie music scene. "I think indie is mostly bullshit," he scoffs. "Most of the people in the scene talk shit and babble on. I wanted to tell the truth." The album ends with the fragile "St. Augustine," as confessional as anything written by its 4th Century namesake, though the spirit of Van Morrison can be heard tuning up in the background.
No surprise given his wide-ranging musical passions. Born in Monterey, CA, Anaya's first big musical influence was his guitar-playing cousin. Kris taught himself bass and guitar, and by 14 he was writing and recording songs. By age 17, Kris moved to Seattle to explore the scene there. Just as he was getting deeply into bands like Violent Femmes and Bad Religion, Kris also discovered artists like James Taylor, Bob Dylan and other folk-influenced 60's acts, as well as pioneers like Charles Bukowski and Jackson Pollack.

Eventually he relocated to the Sacramento area where Kris wrote and recorded his first solo album and also joined a local band called Double Think. The turning point came when he met producer/recording engineer Robert Cheek of Sacramento's Hangar Studios. The two began to collaborate regularly, producing a large body of work in a short time. Kris started his own indie label, Under a Cloud Records, for which he cut ...And Take It With A Grain Of Salt. The CD caught the attention of Drive-Thru Records and in short order, Anaya and An Angle had the unwavering support of the label.

In the year since the CD came out, An Angle completed a lengthy U.S. tour. The band also recently attended and played at the 2005 South By Southwest music festival about which Anaya says, "I'd never seen that many bands before. We said, ‘What do we do?’ Obviously we're gonna get drunk."

Anaya admits plenty of people in his life have expressed concern about his affinity for the bottle, but he can be remarkably sober on the topic, especially in his lyrics. So here's the deal: Kris Anaya is a complex young artist, and the best way to keep tabs on him is to follow the musical saga of An Angle. As he says in the song "True Love" from the new album: "Because I want to live a better life/Got to give these eyes a sight to see/So come on god well what you got?/Because I give our hearts another beat."

That's the voice of a true survivor, and We Can Breathe Under Alcohol is nothing less than his survival guide.



Green Water

Written By: Kris Anaya

Green Water

The music career is killing my liver
So let’s take the train out of the town
And we will follow it to the nearest body of water
And let the current carry us out.

And glass by glass new women pass
The say “healthy hearts make dusty songs”
So 50/50 I will be whisky
And we will stumble to the drunken horns

And the deeper the cut the bigger the bill
Hospital just sent mine in the mail
A tired lonely boy sleeps in his house
Kid you sharpen your knife well

And my girl you played a beautiful song
But it wasn’t your best one
And the chorus repeated more then once
So we all hummed along

That it is hard to be a star
When me, my friends we sit at the end of the bar
So come on love drink “green water”
And let the “white horse” carry you to the beat
Until you burst, because we beat until we burst

So if I fall down now will you pick me up?
Hey kid if I fall down now will you pick me up?
Hey kid if I fall down now we will just dance it off
So let’s dance it off.


...And Take It With A Grain Of Salt

We Can Breathe Under Alcohol