may come from San Francisco, but they seem to take you back to the sixties in the UK, where the Kinks were grooving and the Beatles were impressing journalists with their wit and fans with fun pop songs. Fun pop songs are, in fact, what the Greening does best. The four-piece uses the basic instruments of rock and roll: guitar, bass, drums, keys, and drums, but somehow push them to new heights of experimental pop, making a swirling sound with both retro throwbacks and modern, garage-y goodness but with a weirdo-approved twist. There's something for everyone: a little 90's brit pop, a little 60's brit pop, and a lot of experimenting with sound. The band refers to this mix as "collage rock" which is a punny but perfect explanation of The Greening. Forceful drumming, lots of head bopping, and blistering guitar make for a sweet, semi-psychedelic sound -- these boys know how to play off each other, and how to keep an audience entertained. With dual vocalists sharing both backing and lead duties, you are in for some amazing harmonies as Will and Karl sing their little hearts out. It only takes one listen to get these tunes stuck in your mind -- catchy, yet subtly complex, poppy, yet smart (if you have a song billed as The Greening (Ft. Google Translate) nerdy might be the more correct word). Expect lots of dancing, tambourine smashing, and many smiles during The Greening's high energy live set.
You won't find a more stylish group of young men than Hungry Skinny. They ooze San Francisco cool. And they sound pretty good, too: crunchy guitars, plenty of indie-rock whines and growls, beautiful backing vocals, and a stomping beat. Filled with attitude despite only having a handful of (admittedly good) songs, Hungry Skinny is a band that won't stop until they get what they want -- songs like "Pay Me" make that pretty clear. There's a wonderful warble in some of the vocals reminiscent of old punky pop singers, like The Buzzcocks or Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra -- though the music is straight rock and roll through and through. Live, the four piece is a bundle of fun. These are the guys who can entertain while being goofy and loving their time on stage. Get ready to dance, because that's what Hungry Skinny wants you to do.
Enter the dreamy world of Balms
, a San Francisco trio who are channeling the best of jangly indie pop legends that have come before them. A fuzzier take on Beulah's pop mixed with a pinch of goth and a less intense Modest Mouse type of instrumentation, Balms makes music that can work an your headphones during a long arduous commute, or as a party record the next time you have your pals over for a game night. Balms is sweet, without being syrupy, and intelligently dark without being a big downer. Live, these three dudes bring you the shoegaze without the boredom -- getting spooky sounds out of their guitars, with almost whispered vocals massaging your brain and ghostly surf rock rhythms and riffs to inspire some toe tapping.
The Other Tones
combine the blues and funk into their heady brand of rock and roll -- equal parts Hendrix and Weezer, The Other Tones keep you on your feet both live and on record. The Other Tones could have come from many eras, but we are lucky to have them here in modern day SF. Bluesy wails, perfect backing vocals, building drums, fun riffs all come together to form this immediately listenable mix of grooves. Special props to bassist Chris for getting this band together. You can tell that these musicians really love playing music, it's not just about the scene or the recognition. Bass, drums, and guitar is all they need to make excellent tunes -- and each band member is superb when it comes to his instrument. The Other Tones spin stories and build energetic tunes, giving each performance their all.