Spain, Cuba and an $18 thrift store keyboard collide in the form of Bien Bien, a Madison, Wisconsin trio made up of Javi (vox, guitar), Marshall Arts (guitar) and Coniferous Wallace (beats, percussion), “three slices of suave cake fresh off the grain country groove belt” who, if Facebook is to be believed, are “likely to snag yer soul in exchange fer chinbobs and hip swings.” Rising out of the youthful, energetic college town of Madison, the trio draws on all kinds of inspiration to create their unique blend of jazz, soul, indie rock and hip hop, from time spent abroad in Madrid to the work of Javi’s personal idol, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Late this month, the guys will release She Grooves Me, their debut, four track EP, which they self-recorded and produced in Wallace’s home studio, Fort Knocks Studios.
Today, we’re premiering the band’s latest single, “Lake Superior,” a slick, groovy antidote to a rainy day. The band told Elmore about the track from their upcoming EP, “we made this song to provide an oasis from the madness that is the current election, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and the like. But “Lake Superior” is not trying to create a “hear no, speak no, see no evil” ideal, but rather give you an awareness of the troubles that are surrounding us and how we have to make our lives happier, healthier and more unified. Like we chant in the song, if the groove is slow, we need to pick it up; if the groove is fast, let’s make it last. Spread the bien bien.”
It’s a lengthy jam that unspools with an intoxicating, improvised energy and plenty of meditative breathing room. Towards the end, Javi contributes to the relaxed guitar solo with whoops and falsetto scatting. “We just want to make it through tonight,” vocalist Javi intones in his passionate croon.