Fronted by Oscar Bugarin and Rae Cole, Calling Cadence is a band rooted in harmony — harmony between voices, between songwriters, and between genres like rock, country, swampy blues and Southern soul.
The result is a sound that's as warm and diverse as the duo's native California, where Oscar and Rae first crossed paths. He was an ace guitarist from L.A. who'd grown up listening to old-school rock and roll pioneers like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, only to discover country music while serving in the U.S. Army in Kansas. She was a lifelong vocalist who'd grown up onstage, starring in countless theater productions in her hometown of Huntington Beach before exploring her interests in classic rock, folk and modern pop as an adult. Together, they began writing songs that blended their vintage influences — the dreamy pop of Fleetwood Mac, the sunny soul of Stevie Wonder, the rootsy rock and roll of the Eagles — with modern melodies.
Calling Cadence, the band's self-titled debut album, showcases a group whose songs nod to the past while resolutely pushing forward. It's a classic-sounding record (recorded, mixed and mastered straight to analog tape) for the contemporary world. Computers were only employed for streaming prep and CD replication. Produced by David Swartz and Matt Linesch, the album is being released on their own hi-res records label. Producers and band thought long and hard about diving into the all-analog domain but came to the conclusion that the final product would benefit in a way that digital would not allow. All are pleased with the end results. These 15 songs shine a light on Calling Cadence's strength as a live act, blending Oscar and Rae's entwined voices with vintage keyboards, guitar heroics and plenty of percussive and low-end stomp. Josh Adams (Norah Jones, Beck, Fruit Bats): drums, Elijah Thomson (Father John Misty, Nathaniel Rateliff): bass, and Mitchell Yoshida (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros): keyboards, round out the core band.
"Before I met Rae, I played with two different projects: a blues-rock band and a band like Crosby, Stills & Nash," says Oscar, who co-wrote the bulk of the album's material with Rae and collaborator Coby Ryan McLaughlin. "When we began writing songs together, our styles meshed and it was like my two dream bands became this one thing. Our music was harmony-based from the very start, and it was all about storytelling, too. A lot of these songs are about our real lives."
From the dark, descending riffs of the album's anthemic opener, "Throw My Body,” to the folksy acoustics of the closing track, "Wasn't It Good," Calling Cadence offers a mix of love songs, breakup ballads and character studies. Along the way, the songwriters make room for '70s funk ("Good Day"), atmospheric Americana ("California Bartender") and country-soul ("Took a Chance"), shining a light on the full reach of their musical range.
"It's a lot of lessons in love, along with songs about self-realization, self-confidence and knowing your worth," says Rae. "There's so much authenticity in the music — not only because we're singing about our own experiences, but because we're singing without Auto-Tune. What you hear on the album is what you'd hear at our shows. It's raw. It's real."
For Calling Cadence (whose name pays tribute to Oscar's time in the army), recording to analog tape wasn't just a production choice; it was a way of maintaining honesty with themselves and their audience. Like the classic albums that inspired Calling Cadence's layered vocal arrangements and warm, guitar-driven sound, the record is a genuine snapshot of a band on the rise. And, once again, it all comes back to harmony.
"When you're playing live and people know your songs, it's like you're calling cadence in the military," Oscar says. "There's that connection — that call and response with your audience — that brings everyone together. And that's what we hope to do with these songs."
About The Hotel Cafe
From a close-knit family of local singer songwriters, to well known icons opting for a more intimate setting, the Hotel Cafe has been celebrating the live music experience for over 20 years.
With early career performances from names like Adele, Katy Perry, The Lumineers, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, Sara Bareilles, Leon Bridges, Haim, Mumford and Sons, Lord Huron and many others, the venue has been labeled a break-out room for independent and burgeoning artists.
The venue itself is located in the Cahuenga Corridor in the center of Hollywood, CA. With a total capacity of 300 over performance rooms, the vibe is intimate, yet bustles with the artistic community that survives by it as much contributes to it. It is a genuine listening room, where the performance on stage takes precedent.
The Hotel Cafe is also more than just a music venue, however. It is an internationally-known entity whose name has top-lined tours and music festivals from coast to coast in the US, UK and Europe. But most importantly, the Hotel Cafe is a community of discovery. Whether musicians or music fans, all realize this carefully curated roster of talent is no aberration; it is consistent, cultured and begs attention. Everyone who sets foot in Hotel Cafe is part of something special.