San Francisco band Swells has put out an unofficial EP of tracks they’ve been working on and I wanted to share it. I lived in San Francisco briefly in 2009 and I spent every Friday at the beach. These songs make me miss my temporary home. First track “Lost at Sea” kind of sounds like The Walkmen took a tropical vacation – click the link beneath the player to download the track courtesy of Swells. – stacey. // M|H
On their debut EP, Young at Love and Life, San Francisco duo Dominant Legs encapsulates the sound of the city, mixing danceable synths and a folky earthiness to pleasing effect.
Ryan Lynch heads up lead vocals on the four-song set, while Hannah Hunt provides dreamy backing vocals that are as integral to the sound structure as the synthesizers and guitars. The self-titled opening track hints at being reared on the Beach Boys and teenage experimentation with psychedelia, while the equally synth-heavy “About My Girls” trends toward funk and Prince.
“Clawing Out at the Walls” simplifies things, employing bongos and acoustic guitar. There’s a sense of earnestness about the song, Lynch questioning, “don’t you think that we’re hard enough on ourselves? / We believe that we do it all on our own.” Dominant Legs brings the EP to a close by infusing electronic elements into the acoustic setup on “Run Like Hell for Leather”, letting a beautiful acoustic guitar riff shine where synthesizers blast away on other tracks.
Last July I was lucky enough to catch the last two minutes or so of The Antlers‘ Madfork 2.0 set. I was also unlucky in only catching the last two minutes of their set. Shortly thereafter, I listened to everything they had posted on their site, and just wasn’t as impressed as I had been a few days before. Yesterday, October 30th, 2009, Daytrotter posted their session with The Antlers, so I gave it a listen. Hooray for Daytrotter, because they managed to capture much of the magic I was witness to last summer. Being reassured that The Antlers were as amazing as I remembered, I looked up tour dates and discovered the band was in town that very night. The good people at Tell All Your Friends PR responded to my last-minute request, and I had the pleasure of attending The Antlers’ opening set at the Independent in San Francisco, CA.
Though the Daytrotter set is superb, nothing compares to seeing The Antlers play live. Peter Silberman (vocals/guitar), Darby Cicci (keys), and Michael Lerner (percussion) play off each other to create ever-expanding landscapes, filling every available space with sound. Silberman stands to the side, his vocals mixed down in the wash of sound, giving the impression of drowning or speaking from beyond. Lerner’s precision tows Silberman along, and Cicci attacks his instruments as though they need to be powered by his touch.
The songs in The Antlers’ set range from catchy and misleadingly upbeat (“Two”) to hopelessly beautiful (“Atrophy”), commonly employing the struggle of triumph and hope against a nagging sense of despair and defeat. What The Antlers syphon out of the room emotionally in the course of a set may never be replaced, but we must do our best to stanch the flow with tourniquets and transfusions.
(PARTIAL?) SET LIST: Bear, Sylvia, Atrophy, Two, Wake