Taking their name from a decommissioned train line that traversed the rugged California-Mexico borderlands, The Desert Line create an eclectic soundscape all their own. The band is led by songwriting duo, Jason Phillips (guitar/vocals) and Patricia Pauchnick (keys/vocals). The band first released a batch of songs as a duo in 2013 which the The North Coast Journal hailed as “elegant” and “exquisite.” These early songs, recorded at their home studio in San Francisco, displayed the songwriting duo's careful attention to arrangement and melody while also featuring their intuitive vocal harmonies.
Soon after this release, with a desire to further expand their sound, the pair worked with Humboldt-based musicians, Samuel Kaplan-Good (drums), Marc Jeffares (vocals, keys, guitar), and Michael Humphreys (bass). The band traversed regularly between the metropolitan mecca of San Francisco and the misty coastal county of Humboldt, playing shows at reputable local venues at both locales. As the band honed their craft, they continually composed new material, revealing influences as diverse as Wilco, Yo La Tengo, and Alabama Shakes. This lineup soon released a single called, "Heliotropic," which received acclaim and local airplay.
In 2017, the band released their debut full-length album, You and the Earth, You and the Sea, a song cycle exploring the pervasive use of technology and its effects upon privacy. While the music retains the pair's keen melodic sensibilities heard on previous releases, it also represents a huge leap forward in song craft and production. Many of the songs feature horn arrangements alongside daring soundscape design, reflective of much time experimenting in the studio creating sonic textures complementing the themes of the record. With this release, the band also created and directed two music videos for the songs, "Pastures" and "Business Casual."
In 2018, after the experimentation of their first album, the band once again moved in a different musical direction, paring down the lineup to the core duo in order to craft songs that clearly revealed their ambitious compositions and distinctive voices. The duo recruited close friends to fulfill drum and bass duties on the record, further embellished by swells of strings and horns, creating a vibrant, polished, and full sound, replete with an eclectic array of timbres. The self-titled album, The Desert Line, was mixed by James Riotto at Tiny Telephone (Spoon, Sleater-Kinney, St.Vincent) in San Francisco and mastered by Jeff Lipton at Grammy-nominated facility, Peerless Mastering.
The lead single, "Spend it All," is set for release in May followed by the full album on June 21st 2019. This summer, after living in San Francisco for a decade, the duo will be relocating to their hometown in San Diego where they will continue to create and perform.