Before I’d even listened to British songwriter, Sam Duckworth’s music I was wary of the guy thanks to his nom de plume, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly. And the funny thing is, it wasn’t even because he took on that moniker for the dorkiest of reasons ( “Get Cape, Wear Cape Fly” was an instructional article in a British Computer Game magazine’s solution on how defeat the Batman Computer Game). It’s more the fact that as far as I’m concerned there is only one man in a cape. No, not Superman. Not Batman. I’m talking about the Larry David, Frank Costanza’s caped attorney, on the Seinfeld episode, “The Chinese Woman.”

Between that and the fact that the name “Duckworth” reminds me way too much of Duckburg, not to mention ex-Portland Trailblazers Center, Kevin “The Duck” Duckworth.” Needless to say, it’s tough to to listen to an album of acoustic almost whiny emo-confessionals when you’re picturing a 7-foot tall and very rotund black man or Launch Pad McQuack.

I imagine most of you guys haven’t heard of Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly, but Duckworth is already famous back home in England, debuting to a great deal of critical acclaim and success, signing to Atlantic Records and even getting a nomination for Best Solo Artist at the 2007 NME Awards. Apparently, life really is like a hurricane in duckburg (sorry, but I had to say it).

Well, It’s Good Cape Weather. Cool. Breezy.

Watching Duckworth on-stage is a strange sight. This isn’t some some Bright Eyes knockoff throb singing folk ballads to starry-eyed teens. He’s a dorky0looking guy in Cords, old Vans and a t-shirt. Backed by a lap-top and a drummer, Duckworth gives off the impression that he just woke up after falling asleep at the keyboard after an epic night of World of Warcraft.

As for the music, he’s an undeniably talented acoustic guitarist, with nimble fingers bringing to mind, Jose Gonzalez. When he opts for the spare acoustic route, his songs are moving and melodic. However, when the drummer’s booming snare hits and crashing cymbals hit, The Duck lost all emotional steam he’d built, coming off less like Billy Bragg (who he’s often compared to) and more like 3rd Eye Blind. At times, it felt like I was listening to the cheesy soundtrack for “The Hills.”

Still young, time remains in Duckworth’s favor. The kid is certainly talented, but still rough at the edges, frequently writing songs out of his vocal range and yet incapable of devising a stage show to properly frame his strengths. I can’t recommend checking him out live at this point, but in a few years it’s not beyond reason to suggest that he one day he will be able to proudly wear his cape.

MP3: Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly-“Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager”
MP3: Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly-“Once More With Feeling”

Hearts of Palm U.K.-No Longer Just a Vegetable

I’ve always been a fan of hearts of palm, the vegetable. What isn’t there to like? A South American delicacy, the heart of palm is a worthy addition to any meal, and when placed in salad, it has rightfully earned its nickname: “the millionaire’s salad.” But after Tuesday’s night’s very impressive performance at the Echo, the heart of palm now has a new meaning for me, as it’s the namesake of a very talented Echo Park two-piece.

Fronted by Erica Elektra, Hearts of Palm, play toe-tapping, laptop inde-pop, reminiscent of Camera Obscura, Stars, and maybe even a little Giant Drag (the title of their single is titled “Jonathan (the fucking motherfucker). Elektra has a gorgeous voice and a fully-formed knack for melody and in my opinion, the duo stole the show from the Cape-wearing headliners.

The live show is impossibly pleasant, song after song of breezy, slightly melancholic pop, full of shimmering electronic melodies and catchy hooks certain to please even the most jaded of listeners. If you like the bands referenced above, I highly encourage you to check out Hearts of Palm. They’re currently recording an album and playing all throughout LA during the month of April with the dates listed on their Myspace page.

MP3: Hearts of Palm UK-“Jonathan (You Fucking Motherfucker)”

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