California Lite

by Key Losers

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This tape is a heartthrob. Bust it out in the dark, on the road, on a walkman while sleeping in a bed of warm, desert rocks. Mind freak.


It is my hope and expectation that all listeners to California Lite first notice the irony within the album title. Merriam-Webster defines “lite” as something “diminished or lacking in substance or seriousness” and “being innocuous or nonthreatening”. Lyrically, I believe this album could not be further from that definition. The lyrics (mostly metaphorically) suggest we are heading in a devastating direction as a human race. Musically, however, it was my attempt as a band leader to really capture the essence of “lite rock”, to utilize it as an ironic yet beautiful landscape upon which my judgmental lyricism plays in the foreground, but also to simultaneously twist the music into something enlightening for Key Losers Black Crow Session Band to play, and our supposed listeners to hear. (Keep in mind my lyrical judgment is not reserved only for others. Notice the lyrics on this album rely heavily upon the word “we”, as in “We Are a Program”.)

This album is about a few subjects at once: loneliness, transportation, and self-removal from nature at the hands of our increasing technological obsession. I use Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, as well as suburban Arizona and Oregon, as my backdrop. I employ the classic metaphor of the road, but not as a symbol of freedom or individuality. This road, our road, the freeway (as well as the “information superfreeway”), exists more as an ever-faster-moving path to an end. City and country merge on this freeway. Images of mountains distort into city skylines, hilly plains distort into suburban strip malls. We follow not the road, or our instincts, but the computerized image of the road projecting from a mounted GPS. The lyrics bring us to a break room in a corporate call center, and the I-405 in Los Angeles: places where many people co-exist, yet places oddly with a pervasive element of isolation. Technology helps us stay “connected”, so why are we lonely? Nature has become a landscape behind an interpretive sign, or a night sky behind an iPhone constellation app. We have adjusted to this comfortable experience of simulacra. The real mountains are covered in smog. But mountainous imagery on a laptop screen saver?

Heavy shit! Beyond all that though, I wanted to make a classic-sounding album, something that would hold up, and mean something, and make people feel good, for years to come. Something maybe like Steve Winwood’s “Back in the High Life”. I’m indebted to Key Losers Black Crow Session Band and Phil Elverum for helping this vision come to fruition. I encourage you to play California Lite on something like a 1970s turntable while you’re partying with friends, or through your car stereo via iPod while driving on a freeway, or on nice headphones in a candlelit room.

Peace on Earth.


released April 2, 2011

Katy Davidson
Andrew Dorsett
Karl Blau
Thomas Filardo
Gregory Campanile
Phil Elverum



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WIZARDS OF THE GHOST Seattle, Washington

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