Whitley Heights
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Whitley Heights

Marina del Rey, California, United States | SELF

Marina del Rey, California, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

WHITLEY HEIGHTS MUSICS is A mixed metaphor of L.A. transplants from Northern Cal and the East Coast, Mike DiPirro, Jason Briggs, Michael Faiella, and Jason Ferro didn’t have to conjure up the neo-nostalgic juju that would come to haunt the sound of their impromptu band – it was already there, an ambient hit of the sweetly familiar and refreshingly unexpected, all around their digs in Whitley Heights. The neighborhood became shorthand for a vibe or a feeling or a few chords that got them going. It seemed both easy and obvious that they would just keep calling their band Whitley Heights until it took. And long after the trajectories of their own day jobs transferred them far from the hillside streets where their sound came together, the band’s name remains the same.

Whitley Heights makes ad hoc, homespun music that’s loose and unscripted. There’s no quest for static perfection a week in a studio can spool out. A little uneven, a little slow, a little fast, a trampled vocal, an overlong solo – all of it is part and parcel of the band’s fearless, trial-and-error, live venue quality – think early Eagles, before the tour and the radio love shined them up. Whitley Heights serves up a free-flowing mix of ballad-based vocals and jammified guitar lines and a pretty idiosyncratic drum component. More rock than stereotypical indie darling, there is something of a CSN & Y through line to much of the work, as well as echoes of the Band and Alex Chilton. Some Seger. Despite the references, Whitley Heights isn’t homage to anything that came before but adapts forms that are already out there to create musical language that feels original yet familiar to a few generations – which is hard to do, btw. That said, the music is kind of muddy, the components aren’t as distinct or as enunciated as you might expect. Folk rock mud. That’s it. And the vocals have a laggard, loping simplicity that suits and doesn’t clash with the twangy, ripe guitar. It’s a sound that lures the listener back into the headspace of the open road. Sure there are some nods to 70’s Southern Fried rock, but minus the corn. This music falls on the acoustic side of center steeped in the sound strains of a pre-Reagan California, a decidedly west coast feel, but as interpreted by a newcomer, like an Alabama transplant with crack guitar work who unlearned the rules of status quo society as soon as the Pacific waters licked his toes. Imagine the soundtrack to a long ride up the 101 in a ’68 Dodge Charger in early September. Don’t think studio rock. Don’t think statement rock. Don’t think re-warmed hippie standards of Sensitive Gray Ponytail Man. This is definitely the brainchild of four dudes zapped by the real deal luster of the golden state. No Portland influence, nor Seattle – no dirge-like despair here. Whitley Heights is a sunny trip – the music of the late afternoon, from a day that isn’t really half over. Instead, dusk is just the prelude to a wide open evening with decent friends and an unwritten wrap-up. There’s still a lot of fuel in the tank – and plenty of time to get to the coast before sunset or across the border before the rush of Anglo rookies to Hussong’s or Vegas even before dawn. It’s the music that rolls you around the next bend.