November 4, 2013
Upstairs Downstairs dropped the band’s eponymous second album back on October 1 via David Mitchell’s 20 Sided Records, producing what we previously dubbed “a gripping record from start to finish, pulling inspiration from a myriad of influences.” It’s a beautiful mish-mash of folk and shoegaze, among other genres, and the quintet is celebrating the album’s release tonight at Brick & Mortar as part of the first night of Social Studies‘ November residency at the venue, a show that will be opened by stalwarts of the SF scene Tartufi and which is presented by The Bay Bridged.
I had a chance to catch up with band members Tory Ford, Dan Caporale, George Slavik, and Isaac Bonnell on the eve of their record release show, discussing the recording of Upstairs Downstairs, their great stop-motion video for album track “Parkas Indoors”, and how their participation in Social Studies’ month-long residency came about, among other topics. Read the interview and get full details on tonight’s show at Brick & Mortar, below.
The Bay Bridged: I understand the new record was recorded at Faultline Studios here in San Francisco. When did the band head into the studio, how long did it take to record the album, and were most of the songs already written by the time you arrived at Faultline?
Tory Ford: We started recording it in December of 2012, and we had about 10 songs ready to go. We were writing a couple of new things based on scraps that had been evolving and wound up using those new ones and cutting some of the other better-prepared songs actually. So, I think about 75% of the songs that wound up on the album were well thought out ahead of time.
Dan Caporale: We had some epic studio sessions where a lot of creativity just kind of happened. “Ghost House” and “Consequence” were just sketches at first and were almost completely pulled together in the studio.
George Slavik: It’s fun when you get that opportunity to just follow a loose structure and see where it ends up taking you. There are those times when you walk back into the control room and say—”wow, now we have to learn how to play that!” On the other hand, there are those songs that do evolve the longer you live with them.
Isaac Bonnell: I’m thinking it was a few weeks’ worth of recording spread out over a year.
TBB: Kyle [McGraw, the band's guitarist] ngineered and produced the album during the Faultline sessions, and then eventually mixed it up in Portland. What’s it like having a band member in the those roles, as opposed to an outsider?
Ford: We are really lucky to have Kyle to work on the recording. I’m a bit of a pleaser, so if we’re working with someone I don’t know, I tend to want to make their jobs easier and their day go by faster. That doesn’t necessarily make for the best recordings. With Kyle, we just do things until they’re right and what we all want.
Caporale: The only downside is that by the end of the process you’re almost too close to it…after all the writing, practicing, playing, recording, and mixing, there is the danger of losing any objectivity of what the songs sound like to someone hearing them for the first time.
October 30, 2013
In Live This Month, we sample some of the great local and out-of-town bands performing in the coming month in the San Francisco Bay Area.
For some reason, November’s concert offerings include a ton of exciting reunions, returns and anniversaries. This mix includes new music from Medicine, the shoegaze vets who are now touring behind their first album in 18 years, post-punk luminaries Wire, whose Change Becomes Us finds the band fleshing out ideas first generated three decades ago, and The Sonics. Widely credited with pioneering lo-fi garage punk in the 1960s, the band’s first San Francisco performance ever comes as part of the stellar Total Trash Halloween Bash.
Plenty of local bands have big concerts this month too. One Hundred Percent is celebrating the release of the group’s debut LP, All Teeth and Nails, arriving this month on local label 20 Sided Records. Meanwhile, SF songwriter Quinn DeVeaux is pulling the audacious and exciting move of simultaneously releasing not one, but two new full length albums this month; one of the new sets is a solo endeavor, while the other finds DeVeaux accompanied by his band, The Blue Beat Review. Finally, one of favorite SF groups, Social Studies, is holding down a Monday residency at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall all month long and inviting a bunch of their favorite local bands to take part in the shows. We’re excited to present the first show, on November 4, with Upstairs Downstairs and Tartufi.
Enjoy the podcast and then go see some concerts!
About the bands:
October 28, 2013
Social Studies takes up residency at Brick & Mortar Music Hall during November, and The Bay Bridged is proud to present the first of the band’s four shows on November 4, when the band is joined by local faves Upstairs Downstairs and Tartufi.
Social Studies, now nearly a year removed from their outstanding sophomore effort Developer, has set up four remarkable shows for their month-long stay near the corner of Mission and 13th, with the likes of Cannon and Clouds, Foli, Ash Reiter, and The She’s filling out the last three bills. The residency should prove to be four nights of moving music from some of our favorite local acts, and the band is keeping everything about the shows close to home, as even the show poster (above) was designed by guitarist Tom Smith.
Readying their third album for release at an undetermined future date, Social Studies recently premiered the single “Territories” via a Converse Rubber Tracks “Track of the Week” feature. The song was recorded earlier this year at Patrick Brown’s Different Fur Studios in San Francisco, and you can watch a short video of the recording session below and get a free download of the track on Converse’s Facebook page. Full details on Social Studies’ November residency at Brick and Mortar follow the video, and we’ll see you next Monday night at The Bay Bridged-presented gig.
The Bay Bridged Presents
Social Studies, Upstairs Downstairs (LP Release), Tartufi
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
November 4, 2013
9pm, $6 (18+)
September 25, 2013
Are you ready, South Bay? Thursday marks the kickoff of C2SV, San Jose’s first real music festival in recent memory. Hosting over 70 acts across 12 venues in the downtown area, stretched out across four days, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Stumped on who to see? In no particular order, here are our picks for best bets at what we hope will be the first of many C2SVs to come.
Brother Grand, Saturday,September 28th, 9pm, Agenda
Ben Henderson, and the many projects he’s taken part in, is a little bit of a legend around San Jose. His latest team-up is a more minimalist approach than he’s previously taken, outside of his solo work – just him and an upright bassist. Still, it’s more than enough to captivate a room – see the haunting video of Brother Grand below.
Cartoon Bar Fight, Sunday, September 29th, 6pm, Café Stritch
If you dig the darker side of indie, it would behoove you to check out Cartoon Bar Fight, who create lovely, shimmering pop with an aura of eeriness. Their live show is sort of hypnotizing, and their C2SV appearance at Café Stritch will also mark the debut of their new E.P., The Labyrinth Suite. They go on 6pm on the 29th – early enough for you to be home in time for Breaking Bad.
Curious Quail, Saturday, September 28th, 2pm, Café Stritch
If you’ve spent any time at all on the San Jose scene, you’ve probably seen Curious Quail already. But who cares? See ‘em again. These guys are busting out big time; having just played BFD over the summer and their Kickstarter for their next record well exceeding their initial goals. A combo of tight, almost-orchestral musical talent and digital gadgetry, Curious Quail are real and true geek rock. [More...]
August 21, 2013
Last but surely not least in our series of videos produced out of this year’s Phono del Sol Music & Food Festival, we present a live clip of Social Studies performing “Terracur” off of their latest album, Developer.
Social Studies was a no-brainer for the PDS bill this year, as their momentum has been building like a scene out of the Katamari game all summer. They played a phenomenal set at the festival this year, so enjoy this flashback to that sunny day in July:
June 18, 2013
On Saturday, July 13th, 2013, The Bay Bridged and Tiny Telephone are returning to Potrero del Sol Park for the third annual Phono del Sol Music & Food Festival, an all day, all ages celebration of great music and food.
We’ve got twelve amazing bands set to perform, led by SF’s Thee Oh Sees and LA-by-way-of-Portland band YACHT. They’ll be joined by garage pop duo Bleached, rapper K.Flay, guitar shredder Marnie Stern, and synth-pop duo Painted Palms, as well as Blouse, Radiation City, Social Studies, Cool Ghouls, Surf Club and B. Hamilton. This mixtape collects songs from all twelve Phono del Sol artists, and, as you’ll hear, it’s an exciting mix of performers.
As the festival’s name indicates, though, Phono del Sol isn’t just a music festival. In addition to all of the bands, the fest will also include eight local food trucks, local arts and crafts vendors, and a beer and wine garden. In other words, it’s a can’t-miss day of music, food, and tons of fun. Buy your tickets now!
June 11, 2013
SF indie pop quintet Social Studies recently shared this cover of The Grass Roots’ “Let’s Live for Today,” which took place during a Daytrotter session a few years ago. You can compare it to a live performance of the original after the jump.
We’re really excited to have Social Studies performing on July 13, 2013 at Phono del Sol 2013, alongside Thee Oh Sees, YACHT, Bleached, K.Flay, Marnie Stern, Painted Palms, Blouse, Radiation City, Cool Ghouls, Surf Club and B. Hamilton as well as some of our favorite local food trucks.
Tickets for Phono del Sol are moving quickly, so get your tickets now!
April 10, 2013
Local indie rock heroes Social Studies are releasing their Away For The Weekend EP, which includes a handful of remixes, and we’ve got the exclusive premiere of the title track as reworked by Painless (a.k.a. Nicolas Dobbratz from of Montreal, Yip Deceiver, and Sugar & Gold). The original, off of 2012′s excellent Developer (Antenna Farm Records), is a catchy-as-hell mid-tempo rocker. Painless turns it into a bass-heavy slow burner, mainly using Natalia Rogovin’s vocal hiccups as the melody draped over the drums and low end.
In addition to the original and remix of the title track, the EP also includes two remixes of another standout cut from Developer, “Terracur”, done by Ellie Herring and Skeleton Hands. You can grab a copy over on iTunes.