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Balms’ new single “Candle” is a grungy rocker’s dream

Balms’ anticipated album Mirror hits the streets in February 2019 and the intriguing taste they’ve given us so far is their newest single, “Candle.” Self-proclaimed bummer pop, this chugging indie rock jam might make us a little more anxious if it weren’t for the cooing, sweet vocals shining through the darkness. It’s like Grizzly Bear took a dip in the grunge bath and we want to jump in. Every part of this song—the composition, the lyrics, the feelings—is a multilayered mélange that’s hard to shake. “I want your soul,” he says, a charming, echoing call. Songs like this are why categories like dream rock exist. -Michelle Kicherer, Associate Editor

 

   

LoFi Satellites debut new atmospheric psych rock EP at San Jose’s Caravan, November 30th

LoFi Satellites take psychedelic rock n roll, turn up the warbling reverb, add a chugging rhythm and tie it all together with the energy of Marc Belluomini’s vocals, ranging from wistful to angry and wild then back again. Track “Feet to the Fire” rumbles in with a sassy booming bass-drum duet and carries the song throughout its highs and lows. Did we mention that baseline? Recorded in San Francisco’s own Tiny Telephone studio, tracks are mixed warm and fuzzy. And better yet, they know how to put on a killer live jam. See them November 30th at Caravan in San Jose then mark your calendar! They’re playing Winters Tavern in their home town of Pacifica on February 16th. And what do you know, they’re a leading contender for November’s Artist of the Month by their adoring fans. Bravo, boys. – Michelle Kicherer, Associate Editor 

 

   

Small Crush well, crushes it, with latest album “Blush”

It’s hard to not be charmed by Oakland’s pop rock bunch Small Crush. They’re like The Strokes met a Weezerly guitarist and a crispy-wispy lady vocalist and threw in some extra smiles. Lyrics are often bittersweet and romantic in that man, I’ve been there, type of way. Take the song “Signal Dreams” from their latest album, Blush: “If I’m asleep or awake/what difference does it make/if you’re not here with me?” Killer melodies and like they say, Fun! Natural Fun! We agree and we’re not the only ones. Small Crush killed it at last summer’s Noise Pop and we can’t wait to see them again. Enjoy listening to their songs below and catch them at The Art Boutiki in San Jose on December 22, where they're playing with their Asian Man Record label mates Get Married. - Michelle Kicherer

   

Sun Hop Fat’s New “Elephant Parade” Gives Funky Twist to Ethiopian Jazz

Listening to SF afrobeat collective Sun Hop Fat makes you feel confident, like you’re on a mission and you know exactly where you’re headed. Pop on tracks like “Rhinosaur” and “Silly Putty” and it feels like you’re driving an undulating road, multicolored images calling you to dance or to ease you deeper into your chair, eyes closed toes tapping. This ten piece instrumental band tells stories without words. They’re Ethiopian jazz meets American funk, a touch of bossa nova and a little psychedelic twist. Luckily for us, they’re playing December 8th at The Independent with Royal Jelly Jive. Put your swaying, dancing, tapping shoes on and catch em. -Michelle Kicherer

   

Getaway Dogs' New EP Brings Beachy Psych Without the Stoned Out Zone Out

Santa Cruz-based band Getaway Dogs take beachy psych rock to a refreshing new place. What makes these guys stand out from the sea of surf pop is the unexpected turns their songs take. There’s plenty of time to zone into the music but you won’t zone out—just as you feel the foggy reverb floating through the air a nice touch of tambourine walks in, a snappy drum, maybe a whistle, and those soothing vocals reminiscent of a younger, more angelic Anthony Kiedis—and we mean that in the best of ways—and you’re hooked all over again. Songs like “Excuses/Opinions II”, which starts, “I cannot explain myself / to my demons” bring listeners into the story and give a feel for the characters within each song. Getaway, indeed. Check out their links and take a little musical journey. -Michelle Kicherer