Nat Kendall made a great album in 2006 called Lovers and Ghosts that was full of jazzy undercurrents mixed with smooth beats and moody political raps. The former Bozeman artist has a new, San Francisco-based project, Symbols of the West, with Lauren Stark, and it seems like an awesome, fun evolution. "Save My City" starts off with delicate synth and a few reverberating timpani-style beats. Like Kendall's other work, it's not in-your-face, it's ruminating. They clap to the rhythm and harmonize, singing "Save my city, save my soul ... Savin' my body for, who knows."
In the first few seconds of the video for "We Are Ghosts," Kendall strums the guitar angelically as Stark presses a few contemplative keys. When the beat kicks in, it's reminiscent of Outkast's "Hey Ya!" and the two musicians groove to the music accordingly. The guitar becomes lonesome and surfy. It's a washed-out black-and-white video, a cool spectacle to behold I also expect a cool dance vibe at their Missoula show. "We Are Ghosts," which also happens to have the word "lovers" in the lyrics, is a testament to Kendall's deft way of taking a theme he riffed on years ago and echoing it in a striking new way.
Symbols of the West plays the Palace Sat., July 14, at 9 PM with Douala Vision and SpekAtlas. $3 to $5 donation.