Cutty Gold Fuses Motown, punk-rock across states

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Author: Natania Reed

Occidental’s own Brett White (senior) and previous Occidental student Sam Wilkes have collaborated to form Cutty Gold, the newest musical undertaking of White. White and Wilkes, who officially joined forces in Spring 2011, seem to be far beyond their years in talent, creativity and musicality. Their recently released, self-titled EP has only three songs, but each one is beautifully executed with hints of heady guitar and vocals a la the Black Keys and a Motown-gone-rock sound.

The EP reflects an inimitable and unpredictable nature. “Sweet Sunday” comes from a self-proclaimed crush on Ray Charles as well as a personally experienced heartbreak. The song interplays punk influences with Motown and soul vibes. “Bowery” sounds like a blues song interpreted by the Clash and is undeniably catchy and dance-inducing. Sounding like the Beach Boys tried the blues, the EP’s third track “Clean My Hands” maintains a surfer-rock ethic. Altogether, the EP varies in sound and style but is still permeated with a low-key, Americana vibe.

The duo’s inspirations are incredibly varied and encompass a broad range of musical influences. Cutty Gold creates music reminiscent of contemporary artists like the Black Lips and vocals that call to mind Girls’ Christopher Owens. Though the band also cites Sam Cooke and the Clash as inspirations, Cutty Gold ultimately makes music simply from the soul. “One of the best parts of when we get in the studio and start collaborating is that we have no idea where our sound will end up,” White said.

Wilke attended Occidental for two years before moving to New York City. The band has weathered the distance and managed to create an impressive and exciting EP despite almost 3,000 miles between them. The duo asserts that the distance has not been easy. “Recording and general activity as a band is made more difficult by the distance,” said White, who flew out to New York in January to record the EP with Wilkes.

When together, the two record and create music, but when White returns home to L.A., the two focus more on promotion and mixing already recorded material. White has managed to stay plenty busy while in California, though. His other collaboration with four musicians from Long Beach, Brown and Blue, opened for garage-punk band FIDLAR at an on-campus concert earlier this school year.

In the future, Cutty Gold plans on growing and developing as a band while recording as much music as possible. They currently have plans to record in L.A. next month. “We’re so productive with each other, and so thoroughly into our music, that we just want to do more and more and in turn, share it with everyone else,” White said. Occidental students should keep Cutty Gold on their radars; if the band follows through with this promise, they are sure to achieve prominence in the music world.

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