Until Sufjan Stevens gives California his "Fifty States Project" treatment, we've got Your Yellow Dress, a gentle indie-folk outfit that waxes wistful and nostalgic about the people and places of its native Orange County. The band centers around Alex Poska — who sings of SoCal coastlines, streets, childhood memories, and facts/demographics (à la James Frey's Bright Shiny Morning) and plays ukulele, banjo, and guitar — and Tim Rottenberg, whose stately trumpet, trombone, and French horn help turn everything sepia-toned and melancholy. Other players on their recordings (and, sometimes, their live shows) bring strings and xylophone to the bittersweet party. Occasionally, it sounds like an especially mawkish Arcade Fire or Beirut wandering through the Appalachians, not so much Laguna Beach. We certainly enjoy Your Yellow Dress's original compositions much more than their gimmicky covers of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" and Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl." But gimmick is their thing — for some reason, YYD plans to write EPs and LPs about all 58 California counties. Even Sufjan has called his "Fifty States" thing "such a joke." Your Yellow Dress seems intent on seeing its project through to the sentimental end.
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