The “repeat” button on my iPod is getting an extreme workout, and it’s Avalanche City‘s fault. Obviously I say this playfully because, in my opinion, it’s pretty difficult to “fault” Dave Baxter for anything. It’s rare that I find all my ideal musical requirements bundled up in one band, but Avalanche City fits them all. To over-exaggerate even further, I’ve found my musical soulmate. Do you have these requirements? A checklist for your music “type?” Listening to music is similar to being on a first date; you’re initially hyper-aware of those special qualities you like. That’s what I did the first time I heard AC’s “Love Love Love” on an 8tracks playlist. Are those folky guitars? A sweet message? Oh, a bell intro? Xylophones? Sold, to the girl swooning on the T during her morning commute. After having the song on repeat for, well, days, (let’s do the math: 60 minute commute divided by 3 minute song = 20+ listens. I would even replay the song from the midway point, to prolong the end even more.) I soon realized nit-picking made me more attached and it was love, love, love at first listen.
The earnest, light-hearted melodies captured in Avalanche City’s songs reflect the origins of the project. It started as Dave Baxter’s solo career; he was inspired by The Rocket Summer’s ambitious undertaking of producing, recording, and playing an album all by himself. The NZ native recorded an album in one week, and released “Our New Life Above the Ground” for free so others could appreciate his hard work with no strings attached. The result was enormous after he was recognized on a few local radio stations, and now Avalanche City’s Auckland fame is trickling around the world. (His Colin Meloy-esque vocals and thoughtfully paired instruments are perfect for this type of journey.) Unfortunately for me, Baxter still hasn’t made his rounds to the US (in person or in CD form- the only sour chord in this story), but I’m hopeful and listening for those joyful glockenspiels and harmonies to eventually cross the Pacific.
Besides his more publicized singles like “Love Love Love” and “Go,” my personal favorite is the powerful “Ends in the Ocean.” This song channels a sea shanty and bursts with energy. Hoist your sails, for the next stop is Avalanche City.