To say that Greg Laswell's music career is fueled by girls may seem rather superficial. That doesn't mean it's untrue.
"As a joke, my best friend and I joined choir in high school," says the San Diego musician, who won the award for Best Local Recording at the 2004 San Diego Music Awards. "We had this huge realization that choir was where all the pretty girls were and the jocks weren't."
That femme-heavy choir experience started the transformation of Laswell into the multitalented singing/songwriting/producing machine he is today-all because choirmaster Mr. Goodhart pinpointed a unique voice underneath the intentions of a teen in danger of hormone overdose.
And it was the very same fuel (a dumb broad) that forced Laswell to write an album he never wanted to be in the position to write. Through Toledo, his second album, sounds like what would happen if Beck and Radiohead combined forces and droned out 12 steps to getting over the leaver that you loved. It is the soundtrack of a teddy bear coming undone at the seams, which is audible in the eerily beautiful first track:
"Another hum drum gray day/ I wonder if this rain passed Toledo/ I can't make shape or form of this new emotion/ I need to drive up San Francisco Bay/ I'd write this song on the way/And I'm not sure I belong here anyway/ She thinks that I've already gone away."
"Even though it is a break-up record, I find it oddly uplifting and not so completely depressing," Laswell clarifies.
Laswell's label, Twenty Inch Records (which I should note is the size of his computer screen and has absolutely no other connotation), is credited for his recordings as well as those by other musicians such as Molly Jensen, Dustin Shey and Joni Mendenhall.
After his CD-release party at Lestat's on March 4, Laswell will join Anya Marina for the "Unicorns are Pretty" tour, taking their route through the Pacific Northwest up through Vancouver.
Laswell's got a theory that the producing pays the bills and solo music pays for the alcohol. And by the sound of Through Toledo, he should be headed for a decent buzz. BGreg Laswell plays with Emerson Band, Anya Marina and Molly Johnson at Lestat's, 9 p.m. on March 4. 619-282-0437.