West Indian Girl
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West Indian Girl

Band Alternative Rock

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Nov
10
West Indian Girl @ The Independant

San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco, California, USA

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Music

Press



"WIG's music lies somewhere between the stoned California coastal mountain ambience of Neil Young's more outre '70's excursions and the sonic imagination and attention to detail of Neil Finn's solo work. The vocals of Robert James, Mariqueen Maandig and Amy White have a wistfulness that is hard to forget."
---Casey Dolan, Los Angeles Times (10/14/07)


“’Blue Wave,’ West Indian Girl: This psychedelic surfing tune rides shimmering synthesizers and blissed-out harmonies that could have come straight off a Sweet record.”
---Brian Mansfield, USA Today (10/16/07)


“Sweet his and hers harmonies, horns, playful synthesizer melodies, sweeping choruses, elongated textural forays -- those are the elements of a West Indian Girl song. The Los Angeles-based sextet has a penchant for crafting beaming pop tunes that groove, sway, bounce and best (or maybe worst) of all, move into mental replay.”
---Shawn Telford, Seattle Post Intelligencer (10/23/07)


"To Die In LA" - KCRW's Song Of The Day (10/24/07)


“L.A.'s hippified West Indian Girl cooked up loose, electronically augmented rock for 4th & Wall… the record's breezy ditties turn bright and ornamental.”
---Dominic Umile, Miami New Times (10/11/07)


“…artfully layered dream-pop…”
---Kevin Bronson, Los Angeles Times (9/13/07)
- Multiple


Discography

4th & Wall
(Milan Records)
1. To Die in LA
2. Blue Wave
3. Sofia
4. All my Friends
5. Indian Ocean
6. Up the Coast
7. Solar Eyes
8. Lost Children
9. Back to You
10. Rise From the Dead
11. Get Up

West Indian Girl
(Astral Werks) 2004
1. Trip
2. W.A.Y.A.O.
3. Hollywood
4. Miles from Monterey
5. Dream
6. Northern Sky
7. Visions
8. Still Lost
9. Leave Tonight
10. Green
11. Lay Down

Photos

Bio

Alluring and revolutionary, bright and buoyant, exemplary in their ability to evolve from what is expected, the Los Angeles-based musical collective known as West Indian Girl has created its majestic, engaging sophomore disc 4th & Wall, their first and long anticipated release for Milan (Emilie Simon, Lisa Gerard). On an album brimming with instant, artful pop classics, this one-time studio duo turned living, breathing modern rock sextet has vaulted beyond the electronic banner under which it once uncomfortably resided.

Launched by the expansive and amazingly memorable “Blue Wave,” West Indian Girl’s fusion of undeniable guitar riffs, prog-like keyboard flourishes and pulsing rhythms pour a perfect foundation for the mind-melding hook and tsunami of blissful harmonies that follow. “It’s about finding the best thing in life, be it a wave or a state of mind or a perfect escape,” co-founding bassist Francis Ten says.

Stemming from an infectious hook and a guitar part brought to the band by his musical partner Robert James, the ode to surfing on the bluest wave is destined to become a favorite of both discerning music lovers and aberrant fun seekers across the globe. Still, it’s surprising to learn that the shimmering, sun-streaked anthem (and its parent album) was crafted amid the decaying, urban environs where the group’s studio resides. And it’s that corner of the world that gives West Indian Girl – which also counts vocalist Mariqueen Maandig, keyboardist Nathan Van Hala, drummer Mark Lewis and keyboardist/vocalist Amy White – its album title.

“4th & Wall is our hidden sanctuary,” Rob explains. “It’s in an old warehouse surrounded by a humble community of homeless people living in cardboard boxes and tents. They’re our captive audience, listening to us every night in the rain, cold and sweltering heat. We play for them as much for ourselves. It’s the place where we conjure up spirits and manifest visions – visions of a better place.”

To which Fran succinctly interjects, “There’s piss and shit and rats. Therein lies the dichotomy, because our record is the antithesis of that."

As evidenced by the gorgeous, lilting soundscape “All My Friends,” the trippy surf-meets-soul concoction “Up The Coast,” and the exquisitely crafted, synth-bolstered mid-tempo rocker “To Die in LA,” 4th & Wall gives off an intoxicating, irresistible vibe with images of beautiful ocean views. Light years away from their facility’s dirty concrete and broken bottle glass world, the beach is alive in its members via the lilting, dreamy float of “Indian Ocean,” and the aforementioned “Blue Wave.”

“It’s become a subconscious thing when you live in Southern California. We’re all just fifteen minutes or so from the beach,” Fran says. “I just think it becomes part of you.” To which Rob adds, “It’s funny how being close to a massive ocean seeps into your consciousness. The waves, the deep blue horizons, the sound, the animals...there’s a parallel universe out there. It can't be ignored.”

Since its brief but successful stint with Astralwerks – which produced their eponymous 2004 debut and a subsequent Remix EP – Rob and Fran have morphed West Indian Girl into the current six member creative workforce behind 4th & Wall. With Mariqueen and Mark firmly in place, the group’s founders faced a series of critical challenges, working through each with finesse and aplomb. These included the January 2006 addition of Nathan (after the departure of their original keyboardist) and the January 2007 induction of Amy, thereby rounding out the current lineup.

Perfecting its craft with incessant touring, be it as headliners or sharing stages with bands like Gomez, The Album Leaf, Fischerspooner, Of Montreal, Apples in Stereo, Turin Brakes, My Morning Jacket and Phoenix, the road dogs in West Indian Girl count recent appearances at Sundance, plus exemplary performances at the San Diego Street Scene and All Good Festival as highlights.

Bolstered by the gorgeous presence and phenomenal range of Mariqueen, West Indian Girl takes its spirited live show to a level few acts can rival. These triumphant gigs are steered by the enthusiasm this band has for its songs. Crafted and edited meticulously by the group as a whole, it is not uncommon for the six piece to construct, deconstruct and change as the group collaborates.

“The songwriting process is ever growing,” Rob explains. “There’s never a shortage of ideas from everyone. I bring in a lot of the ideas, but really the creative spark can come from any single member in the band. Once the idea is out there, it goes through an elaborate filtration process. I help guide the ship but everyone gets involved.”

As for the harmonies, best exhibited on “Blue Wave” and the uplifting anthem “Get Up,” vocalist Mariqueen says, “I think harmonies are a natural thing for our band. Our voices tend to blend really well together, so we try to maximize that when it makes sense. When someone comes up wi