The longer one lives the greater the number of scars and scrapes one accumulates. It’s the same with a band, where the years build up layers one could never have expected when they set out in a van back in the day. So it is with San Francisco’s Tea Leaf Green, whose own journey began as a jam-minded party on legs in the late 1990s and now finds them some of the Bay Area’s most thoughtful, dedicated craftsmen.
As sharply carved and musically robust as any rock unit today, TLG have harnessed their surefire live prowess and ability to seize an audience into a bustling, emotionally dense, ear-snagging studio form with In The Wake (now in stores), a complete vision that represents the great skill and open-minded invention in this quintet - Trevor Garrod (keys, vocals), Josh Clark (guitar, vocals), Scott Rager (drums), Reed Mathis (bass, vocals) and Cochrane McMillan (percussion) – placing them alongside contemporaries like Delta Spirit, Everest and Dr. Dog in marrying honesty, artistry and grit in music that hums with bruised but unbowed life.
Listening to the new album, it’s clear today’s Tea Leaf Green is a far cry from the young men that wrote “Sex In The 70s” and other easygoing vehicles. That strain remains in TLG’s substrata, particularly in their always-invigorating concerts, but creatively and emotionally there’s just more heft to them now.
“We love our fans and are very fan-centric, but at a certain point we have to move on and explore new sounds,” says Clark. “It’s not going to sound like it used to, but we’re really not in any kind of control over this. We don’t sit down and discuss how we’d like to sound. It just happens. This time we got to explore some softer elements, and to move outside our comfort zones. Who knows where it’s going from here.”
Check out Tea Leaf Green on tour in 2013!
Purchase “The Wake”