Brad Kohn and Vee Bordukov are Los Angles transplants who make music under the moniker of Social Gravy, an outfit which favors classic rock melodies and catchy ‘70s harmonies over any modern musical obsession. But they’re not a nostalgia act, merely two guys who adore the twangy, folk-ish rhythms and wide-open emotional resonance of earlier decades of music. Hailing from Britain and Belarus respectively, Kohn and Bodukov aren’t necessarily interested in redefining the boundaries of their inspirations, nor do they see their work as a way in which they can cloister themselves away in the past. For them, Social Gravy is a release, a way for them to revel in their own personal experiences while acknowledging the musical influences they effortlessly radiate with every verse and chorus.
Beginning in 2014, their initial rhythmic experiments quickly led them to grasp the depth of their mutual musical adorations. An award-winning producer, songwriter, artist and engineer, Kohn has worked with such artists as Foo FIghters, The Prodigy and Pendulum. As for Bodukov, he rebelled early in his native Belarus, a place where, at the time, rock and roll was considered dangerous and subversive. He soon latched onto the music of Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks and Bob Dylan, developing an extensive and forbidden love of classic rock and social commentary. Their debut record, 2017’s “Behind Every Yes,” was filled with a panoply of genre experiments that zipped from indie rock to old-school garage rock and country-rock before speeding off in some new and unpredictable direction.
On their latest single, “California,” the duo celebrate their love for their adopted state, pouring out classic rock melodies that would have found a good home on albums from Neil Young or the Eagles — or maybe the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They’re so good at this kind of musical sublimation that the track’s foundation is built from dozens of memories and musical histories. And while the guitars echo with those Laurel Canyon grooves, the vocals definitely sport some of that Anthony Kiedis swagger. It’s a difficult one to pin down and never yields its innate uniqueness in service to some universal emotional payoff. Kohn and Bordukov have successfully harnessed that inclusive California musicality, creating a song that speaks to native Californians as easily as it does to those who’ve never stepped foot in The Golden State.