The Equal Ground
3.8 out of 5
By: J Simpson
"Garage and surf rock are funny, loaded, layered and complex genres. They represent youth, wildness, recklessness, ferocity, and passion, almost by nature and certainly in light of the '50s and early '60s r'n'r that created the genre. Also, almost inherently, due to the aged source material, there is a sense of dreaminess and nostalgia that comes about, from listening to old records - the auditory equivalent of a Wonder Year's episode."
"These dreamy and introspective tendencies are really brought to the forefront, when combined with the ethereal distance of dream pop, as is the case on Light Years a short and bomb pop sweet EP from Boston's Aüva."
"Things start off with the glammy she-bop of "Into Place", with a skiffling and lighthearted drum beat - reminiscent of other garage rock revisionists like The Vivian Girls. The sparkling, chiming guitar arpeggios, and greyscale paisley psychedelia reminds me of 4ad bands like The Cocteau Twins or This Mortal Coil. This foundation is fleshed out with Aüva's distinctive 3 part harmonies, which has earned them comparisons to The Mamas & The Papas, although their much airier and sweeter."
"Things get a little moodier on "Sunburn", which blends Dick Dale surf-twang guitar, with a go-go beat and moody churning burning organs, which makes it come across like SoCal surf rock coming together with some Texan roadhouse psychedelia, like The 13th Floor Elevator. "Sunburn" is a good metaphor for the whole record - a day at the beach sounds refreshing, idyllic, paradisiacal, but at the end
you're left - sun stricken, faded, nearly crazed."
""Recollections" features some tasty lead guitar, over a quick disco-like beat that has real hit potential, with its Disney-like cooing wordless vocals. Light Years rounds out with "Nothing Else", the most subdued and reminiscent track on here, although still upbeat and driving forward. "Nothing Else" is the sound of driving home from the beach, with the giant orange sunset fading in the rearview."
"Light Years is so short, it's like a sun fever dream that's over almost before you can register that it's begun. You return, immediately, to the beginning, to double check and see what happened. Blending garage, twangy surf rock, and dream pop is not entirely a revolutionary concept, but it doesn't need to be. Calm down, it's only music! Drop a track or two, particularly "Sunburn" or "Nothing Else" on your summer sunset mixtape, and wait for Aüva's full-length, which is due out later this year."
"Sparkling, sublime stuff."
Best New DIY Music of 2015
By: Knar Bedian
"Among its many prestigious universities, the Berklee College of Music is one of Boston‘s most respected educational institutions, and one of the top music schools in the world. And consistently over the years, it has spawned many great artists and bands. A new DIY band, Aüva, is among the latest to join the ranks of bands born at Berklee."
"The four music students who make up the band arrange complex and sophisticated tunes that feature cross breeding and layering of garage surf rock and dream psych pop. Their tracks from the band’s new debut EP, Light Years, are wild, idealistic and full of energy as glimmering, glam pop tracks like “Into Place,” with it’s layers of harmonies, demonstrate. The second single, “Nothing Else,” is a more dreamy song, while still maintaining somewhat of a driving beat and rhythm."
"All of the band members – Miette Hope (vocals and piano); Jack Markwordt (guitar, vocals); Jake LeVine(guitar, vocals) and Michael Piccoli (drums) – are students at Berklee who decided earlier this year to form a band.
The band’s surfy, dream pop tracks, like “Into Place” and “Nothing Else” are catchy and hard to forget."
"Recently, friends and fans of the band have titled the band’s music as, ‘dolphin music,’ because of its watery driving guitar, over up tempo and dance-influenced drum set parts. “If dolphins made rock n roll, this may be what it would sound like,” Piccoli said."
"Auva has previously opened for bands like Bay Faction and Elizabeth Color Wheel; the band’s top musical influences include Tame Impala, Wild Nothing, Diiv, Beach Fossils, Mammas and the Papas, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young."
Sound of Boston
Listen Local: 5 Songs for August
"Hazy surf-rock track “Sunburn” is appropriately titled; it seems like the fuzzy-headed feeling after one-Corona-too-many, an accidental extra-long lie out under the sun. The repeated chorus makes your head spin, but when your vision starts to settle you’re left with one hell of an ear worm."
Break Thru Radio
Discovery Corner: Aüva
By, Zach Schepis
In the spirit of the late 1920s gospel crooner Charles E. Moody, there's a great hymn called "Drifting Too Far From the Shore." Moody penned the lyrics to conjure an otherworldly, celestial tempest that lulls the listener farther out into waters than he or she can rightly return from.
Before the tangential allegory also drifts too far, I'd like to tie the knot between this American relic and a brand new band fresh out of Boston, Massachusetts.
Their name is Auva, and the music they create rollicks in a sublime kind of ebb and flow--reminiscent of a moonlit tide, of the pull from shore that Moody forewarned.
The only difference is that, while listening to Auva weave their magic, there's no longer any such thing as too far. We can surrender to the flow of nuanced rhythms, aqueous guitar lines and siren-sent harmonies that beckon us off into the surf.
The surf, it turns out, is eternal. Skeptics who thought that reinvigorated Beach Boy fads and Dick Dale-fueled guitar cowabungas might slip into obsolescence have another thing coming. In a good way, though. These seven Berklee College students are fusing traditional surf-rock elements with dreamy pop hooks that make it impossible not to dance.
Or do water-crested back flips like a dolphin, for that matter.
"We've been calling it the dolphin sound," Jake LeVine explains with a laugh. He plays guitar and provides vocal harmonies for the band.
"It's very energetic, and there are lots of guitar effects so it's got a kind of wet, splashy sound. If dolphins were making rock and roll, this is what it would sound like."
It's interesting that for such a guitar effect driven palette, LeVine almost ended up a pianist instead. While growing up in Florida, his father knew beyond any reasonable doubt that he wanted his son to be a piano player. So at three years old, little LeVine was already beginning to tickle the ivory, dwarfed by the baby grand. For as long as he "can't remember," his father would record videos of him performing for audiences of family members and friends.
Fast forward a couple of decades and LeVine has finally found his match. Together with roommate and drummer Michael Piccoli, the two dreamt a musical vision and decided to "go for it." After playing in a slew of other local bands, the friends realized it was high time to forge something of their own.
Rather than drafting up a list of session musicians or putting up ads around campus, Piccoli and LeVine reached out to a group of their close friends that they would typically hang out with on weekends.
In true Berklee fashion, these friends also just so happened to be a group of talented artists that were yet to be recruited for other projects.
"Everyone has their unique timbre, their own place and background," says LeVine.
"It's really nice because we're able to sit in a room and really bounce ideas off one another. I can come up with a melody or guitar line, Michael can find the groove, and then we can consult Jack and Miette about vocal ideas and workable melodies. It's just magic."
The democratic writing process can work wonders for an ensemble that thrives on the eclecticism of its parts, especially when supplemented by a variety of professional resources. As students enrolled in one of the most prestigious music schools in the country, LeVine doesn't shy away from admitting that utilizing the knowledge and materials provided for his education have too fueled the band's self growth.
Take the lush vocal harmonies, for instance. Listening to Auva's debut EP Light Years, it becomes apparent that one of the reasons why tracks like "Into Place" and "Nothing Else" are so damn catchy is because the choruses are rich with three-part harmonies. The vocal spreads engulf the listener and plunge headfirst into compositions that swirl and shimmer.
To accomplish it, the band begins by identifying part of a song that seems to be particularly strong. Then they loop the initial melody, with each band member adding their own voice on top, one by one, like a choir. It's making use of an age old technique that Bach and Beethoven once revered called voice leading.
"It's like having a calculator," admits LeVine. "There's a reason and theory behind why these things are happening, why they sound so great. It makes it easier to figure out how to achieve what we're looking for."
The search continues; while Auva is only a year young, they've already got a full length release coming down the pipeline. After such a strong debut, it's only a matter of time before this ensemble starts making some serious waves.
No doubt the dolphins will be pleased.