“Saying you don’t like The Beatles is like saying you don’t like the sun,” laughs bassist Todd O’Keefe. As one-fourth of L.A. pop-rock act The 88, it’s no surprise O’Keefe would go to bat for the Fab Four. Since forming in 2002, The 88 have championed the kind of breezy, open-chord guitar pop that put the mop-topped ones on the map. In their decade-plus as a band, The 88 have made a career out of weaving sunny SoCal rock tropes with pretty, poignant piano pop, and landed their songs in multiple films (The Lorax, Friends with Kids) and TV spots (most notably as the band behind the theme song for NBC’s Community). This Saturday, the quartet heads to Santa Barbara for an in-store performance at Warbler Records & Goods.
The show comes on the heels of Fortune Teller, The 88’s sixth full-length album, which the band self-released last month. Recorded live in pianist Adam Merrin’s Los Angeles home, Fortune Teller is a warm (and slightly somber) affair that draws comparison to ’70s icons like Fleetwood Mac and Elton John just as easily as it fits alongside contemporaries like Matt Costa and Cold War Kids.
In discussing the upcoming Warbler date, which came together during a recent visit to Santa Barbara, O’Keefe admits that he’s excited to team up with S.B.’s one-stop music shop.
“It’s so heartening to see a store like [Warbler], where the prices are good and the selection is good and the people are nice,” he said. “In L.A., a lot of record stores have opened up, but the people that work there can be dicks. They don’t say hi to you, and they’re expensive, and they want to charge you $10 for Rumors. Our band likes to associate with good things and good people and good ideas, and that comes across with Warbler.”
As for his favorite vinyl scores, O’Keefe name-checks Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden, an original pressing of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, an R.E.M. bootleg from 1986 (“those were really hard to find that year,” he explains), Neil Young’s On the Beach, and The Beatles’s Past Masters — “but if you asked me again in 10 minutes, I’d probably give you five totally different titles.”
The 88 play Warbler Records & Goods (131 E. De la Guerra St.) on Saturday, July 20, at 4 p.m. Call (805) 845-5862 or visit warblerrecords.com for info