Posts Tagged ‘Bay Area’

It’s not every day you encounter a full-length album with only three tracks, This 38-minute debut LP from San Francisco Bay Area-based rock trio Terry Gross is a krautrock odyssey of epic proportions, and a sustained rock ‘n’ roll explosion you can’t help but move to. Guitarist and vocalist Phil Manley (Trans Am, Life Coach), bassist Donny Newenhouse and drummer Phil Becker co-own San Francisco’s El Studio together—it’s there they started jamming, primarily so as to put the studio itself through its paces, but one thing led to another, and the result is “Soft Opening”. Near-20-minute opener “Space Voyage Mission” is a roving, sci-fi-inspired motorik chug that speeds and slows like a workout for your ears, ending in a psychedelic bit of studio wizardry that sounds as if the song has narrowly escaped being sucked into a black hole. “Worm Gear,” too, is a like watching a flame flicker in slow-motion, with ever-shifting, serrated guitars atop Newenhouse and Becker’s pulsating, pounding low end.

Their loose, organic chemistry burgeoned into a deep camaraderie and a sound both expansive and exacting. The three experienced musicians crafted their first full-length album through the pure joy of playing together with no expectations. With the tapes rolling on their rehearsals, the band captures the exuberance of live performance and elevates those recordings through a deft use of the studio as their collective instrument. On their debut LP Soft Opening, Terry Gross channels their cosmic powers and considerable chops into a gleefully mesmerizing odyssey fit for an arena.

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Closer and single “Specificity (Or What Have You)” is Terry Gross at their most accessible, but by then, you’ll have long since left the ground, riding “Soft Opening” into the stratosphere. 

Specificity (Or What Have You) available now through Thrill Jockey Records 

Released January 29th, 2021

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I was first introduced to Jay Som this summer when she was on tour supporting Mitski and Japanese Breakfast. She opened to a small, but packed room and by the time she was mid-way through her set, she’d reached a level so captivating that you could hear the breath of the person behind you in between songs. At just 22 years old, she has a raw emotional vocabulary and has mastered the ebb and flow of successful indie rock that a lot of artists never quite get. I hope it rains a lot in 2017 so we can all just stay inside and cuddle to her 2016 album Turn Into. Or better yet, cuddle to anything she may have coming—her Polyvinyl debut LP is looming— in the upcoming year.

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An exciting new sound grips the Bay Area’s music scene as Plush pushes the bounds of genre and style. Plush is a four-piece originating from San Francisco, with members of local SF legends The She’s. While their debut LP, Pine, is a beautiful combination of surf-rock and shoegaze, their auspicious new release, Please, encapsulates a completely different tone, both sonically and lyrically. Lush and warm, it has cinematic quality which suggests, somehow, that each track takes place in a different climate. With the angular and ethereal falsetto of Karli Helm contrasted by the hypnotic and unwavering voice of Eva Treadway, Please echoes a melancholic honesty that captures the album’s heart-breaking, yet insightful versatility, deriving from both Wowee Zowee era Pavement and Painful era Yo La Tengo.

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Sonically, the album embraces twinkling guitar tones that are blitzed with spurts of grainy fuzz, flaringly precise and graceful drums, as well as complimentary bass riffs that swirl and swoon each track, working in unison to pin-point these heart-wrenching emotions with clarity and catharsis. After sharing the stage with bands such as Ceremony, All Dogs, Ducktails, Sales and Creative Adult, they have proven their ability to blend seamlessly into wherever they land.

Eva (there in spirit), Dylan, Sinclair, Karli