California, here we come

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There are so many anonymous indie bands playing sunny California pop tunes that sometimes it's tough to tell one from another. But The Broken West actually hails from Los Angeles, which presumably gives them a leg up on much of the competition.

The band's 2007 debut, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, set them apart from the Pacific-breezy pack. The record fully embodied their surroundings, presenting a personal, lived-in L.A. The highlight was the sun-drenched, slightly country-fried keeper "Down in the Valley" - certainly not a hit (Does getting featured on Grey's Anatomy count?) but a hell of a calling card nonetheless.

When they play The Treehouse on Monday with Flotation Walls, The Broken West will come bearing a second LP that trades the last album's raw buoyancy for something slightly slicker. If I Can't Go On was the sound of sunshine, the new Now or Heaven embodies the moon, the stars and the light pollution of L.A. nights.

Theirs is still a sound steeped in the guitar-pop tradition, but Now or Heaven augments those chiming six-strings and cooing melodies with the occasional programmed beat or smart synth melody. It's a natural progression that carefully softens the band's sound without smothering it.

What: The Broken West

When: 10 p.m. Monday, March 16

Where: The Treehouse, Grandview