California psych-rock band Cobalt Cranes is only a few weeks into its nonstop national tour touting last year's fuzzed-out Days in the Sun, but already members have been wowed by some of the places they've visited.
Still weeks ahead of its South Florida stops on March 27 at Propaganda in Lake Worth and March 28 at Churchill's in Miami, while driving from Savannah, Georgia, to Richmond, Virginia, the group chatted with New Times. "We're going a lot of places we've never played," said singer and bassist Kim Betuel, adding, "We're being really thorough."
Both Betuel and her songwriting partner, Tim Foley, who sings and plays guitar, were taken aback by the famous tree canopies of Savannah — something that isn't all that common in Southern California. "We're trying to take it all in," Foley said, specifically the "dark and ominous and beautiful" woods they'd driven through a few hours earlier.
Cobalt Cranes have made a habit of being influenced by the landscapes around them. Foley describes his band as a meeting place between desert rock and the sunny, jangly sounds of 1960s California. That makes sense considering what he said inspired much of Days in the Sun, written mostly on tour in 2013 and 2014.
"We were driving through a lot of desert and Western places," Foley said, "so I think the desert imagery just kind of got in there ’cause we were taking six-hour drives through Texas. What else are you going to do but sit there and look out the window thinking about things to write about?"
Betuel said the band is already working on songs for its next album, with plans to spend more than time on it than the week or so she said it took to record Days in the Sun. She hopes to do some writing while in the studio and is in talks to work with a producer she can't yet name, though both she and Foley said that person is popular and well-loved already.
Before they all get there, however, Cobalt Cranes' near continuous tour will take the band around most of the country with few days off. "I think it's good to not have days off," Betuel admits. "It keeps you in the pattern. Mike Watt famously said, 'If you ain't playing, you're paying.' So you gotta keep playing."
The band has six shows scheduled around Florida, a big number that is becoming typical for bands on Lollipop Records, because of the response they're all getting from the Sunshine State. Much as they want to get down here just to keep playing, Foley has an ulterior motive for heading to our tropical paradise. "We're looking forward to the sunshine," Foley said. "We've been driving through storms the last two weeks, so we kind of can't wait."
The band has been to Florida only once before, playing Gainesville, though Foley said he spent time here as a teenager because, like everybody else in the country, his grandparents lived in South Florida.
"When I was like 14 or 15, me and a friend found a fake ID in a parking lot," he said, "and we went to this strip club. I think it was kind of a shock."
While strip clubs aren't on the itinerary for this trip, Betuel contemplated hitting a male club to even up the score. "We're definitely thinking about going surfing," Foley adds. "Some of the guys in the band are into surfing. Even though I live in California, I never surf. But since we'll be in Florida, I might go surfing."
Considering they'll be in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois within a week of leaving the Sunshine State, it's hard to blame anybody for hitting the beach before getting back to the landlocked interior of the country.
Cobalt Cranes, with Sweet Bronco, Whorish Boorish, and Hypoluxo. 9 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at Propaganda, 6 S. J St., Lake Worth. Visit Facebook.
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