The Lit Invasion: Meet Fialta

Four literary buffs from three of the four corners of the country (California, Connecticut, and Washington State) have united under the name Fialta to record 12 songs of “Central Coast literary pop.” Fialta consists of Beth Clements, Sarah Shotwell, Michael Bernard Leibovich, and David Provenzano, the latter two of which were members of the successful SLO indie rock band Sherwood, which broke up last year after ten years together. In the aftermath of Sherwood, the four started collaborated via Skype. Collaboration is key to Fialta, because in the tradition of bands like Queen and Broken Social Scene, all four members are lyricists. In addition, the band features both female and male lead vocalists, and a variety of instruments, including bass, drums, keyboard, trumpet, and the seldom-heard glockenspiel.

Both Mike and Sarah are graduates of Cal Poly, where Mike DJ’d for KCPR and Sarah majored in history, later getting her MFA in English and creative writing. They named the band after a short story by Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov called “Spring in Fialta,” about a fictional Mediterranean small town which bears many similarities to SLO. Further examples of their literary enthusiasm include the song “Porphyria’s Lover,” named after a Robert Browning poem. Local culture itself is another huge inspiration on the band, and their sunny, summery indie pop sound is largely influenced by SLO. However, the same cannot be said for their lyrics, which are much more dismal and dissonant. This musical contradiction is the reason they named their upcoming album “Summer Winter.” Of course, Beth, a native of Glastonbury, Connecticut who studied at UConn, and Michael, who hails from Seattle, were referring to the cold snowy winters of the East Coast and Pacific Northwest, which are not unlike those which Nabokov undoubtedly experienced in Russia.

Summer Winter is set to be released on Friday, June 21, appropriately the first day of summer. They will be performing a pre-release show at Kreuzberg. Tickets will be only $12, and in one of the sweetest deals imaginable, Fialta and Kreuzberg promise a free copy of Summer Winter and a free beer or coffee to anyone who purchases a ticket!

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