Elijah Ocean
"Laurel Canyon" is a reference that gets thrown around a lot by music writers (myself very much included). Though it began with a specific pack of artists living and working in that region of Los Angeles around the beginning of the '70s — Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Neil Young, Glenn Frey — it's now come to encapsulate more of a vibe than a sound — one into which Elijah Ocean directly plays.

Denim-clad, wide-brimmed-hat-wearing, chest-length-hair-having Elijah Ocean makes truly lovely '70s-inspired ballads. His fourth release, the upcoming self-titled work, still seems steeped in that post-Summer-of-Love sound. He doesn't quite stick to the dusty twang and vocal harmonies his Laurel Canyon counterparts featured so strongly, but he carries on the tradition of quiet acoustic chill made for a friend's living room.

Made up of mostly him, an acoustic guitar, and some transporting songwriting, recent singles "Malibu Moon" and "Barricade" are a welcome antidote to the current chaotic zeitgeist. They're the kind of hazy-sunset songs that, even if you were born and raised and are currently sitting in an office in California, will make you want to go to California and never come back.

Next month, he'll be playing not in a living room, but at Hotel Utah in San Francisco. If you're looking for a more subdued alternative to the rowdy expectations of Friday nights, head to Hotel Utah.

Elijah Ocean, the Easy Leaves Duo, Caitlin Lucia
Hotel Utah
August 11, 2017
9pm, $10 (21+)

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