Listen to Keeps perform and chat for WCPO Lounge Acts in the player above.
I once spent an incredibly lazy summer day at The Lafayette Hotel's pool in San Diego complete with a mermaid, drunken sailor and teenaged surf rockers providing entertainment, and if anything brings me back to that day -- it's these psych-tinged tunes from Nashville band Keeps.
Unhurried, buzzy guitar melodies noodle their way through 11 songs on Keeps' debut album "Brief Spirit," which Cincinnati's own Old Flame Records dropped in March 2016.
Gusti Escalante and Robbie Jackson, both on guitars and vocals, bonded over their shared fear of falling into Music City's pop-country trap when they met on freshman move-in day at college. They wrote a song together each day for the week after, drawing inspiration from classic artists like Bowie, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Jesus and Mary Chain, according to Old Flame Record's website.
The second track, "Translucent Girl," digs into the tragic phenomenon of loving the concept of something more than the reality of it. "Reality is lost to me inside her mystic gaze/ Then suddenly I'm heavy. My own thoughts reflecting/ Why even try? She'll never be mine," Escalante croons through the reverb-saturated choruses.
Even though he dodged on the real-life source of all this self-doubt and deprecation, we've all been there.
Two tracks down on Brief Spirit, this theme re-emerges in "Everyday," which the duo also turned into their first music video. They'd always been terrified by the idea of music videos, they told The Fader, but that's exactly why a song about how intense self-doubt "can cloud the entire purpose behind what it is you're doing" was perfect for the task. Keeps recruited their musician friend Josh Gilligan to produce what was also his first music video.
"We knew he’d be the right man for the job because he'd able to help create something goofy and ridiculous. We recorded the whole thing in the matter of a day, and are really pleased with how it ended up. Hopefully just the right amount of cheese," Keeps told The Fader.
Perhaps we'll get a better handle on the root of all this self-doubt when they visit WCPO Lounge Acts at 1:30 p.m. Friday. If not, we'll at least have a great time before Keeps opens for hometown indie rock group The Yugos at Southgate House Revival Friday night.