Social Studies

Naming their sophomore album Developer is a bold move for the still-young band Social Studies. But it is as apt a descriptor as you're likely to find for how the sound of this San Francisco-based five-piece has flourished, matured, and, yes, developed over the past two years.

The band - led by Natalia Rogovin (vocals, keys) and Michael Jirkovsky (drums), who were joined in 2009 by bassist Jesse Hudson and guitarist Tom Smith and this year by second guitarist Ben McClintock - has already won a loyal fan base thanks to their arch take on modernist pop as heard on 2010 release Wind Up Wooden Heart. Social Studies has become a force to be reckoned with in concert as well, transfixing audiences at the CMJ Music Festival, SXSW, and Noise Pop, and bringing their unique energy and spirit to stages shared with TuneYards, Wye Oak, Lotus Plaza, Thee Oh Sees, Dodos, Ramona Falls and many more.

Now, on their new album, the goal was to strip things down to the basics, straighten out some of the more jagged lines of their previous work, and put the focus more on texture and mood. "Before, we were rebellious. We fucked with things just because we wanted to push limits and boundaries," says Rogovin. "Developer is a more adult record. We tried to explore sounds and draw out parts to write more moving and focused songs."

They enlisted the able ears and hands of engineer and co-producer Eli Crews (Tune-Yards, Deerhoof, Thao & Mirah) who helped hone this new barebones attack as well as reflecting the excitement of their stage show. On Developer, all the pieces have come together perfectly. The clear-eyed production helps bring out the dark, sexy heart of these ruminations on life, love, pain, and pleasure. The themes of the album are as complex as the songs are streamlined. "The album is about art, but it's also a cinematic exploration of those turning points in life that you didn't see coming and didn't realize were important until much later," says Rogovin.

Lead single "Terracur" calls the bluff of a headstrong friend threatening to leave, while "Away For the Weekend" turns the tables to justify a departure: “Ever discover another that makes you feel good, you always feel right/ the notion of fleeing the corporeal being/Just run to your other life.”

In Developer, Social Studies has succeeded in evoking a set of feelings and emotions that will linger with listeners long after the last notes have faded away. Warm, cold, or downright chilling, there is a connection between the personal and universal that the band taps into through a set of fearless and gripping songs.

"The first thing you'll notice about San Francisco singster/songster Ash Reiter is her voice—a breathy, smoky little thing that hints at Chan Marshall and Jolie Holland, and sounds well suited for the coffeehouse circuit. That was before she formed a full band to back her up. Nowadays Reiter's music moves a little more, the quintet (also called Ash Reiter) providing loads of hooks and layered guitars that wonderfully contrast that wispy voice. It's all on display on the group's latest, Paper Diamonds, a record that's folky enough to maintain some of its intimacy, and poppy enough to keep from fading into the background. I like where this young woman is headed." --Portland Mercury

The She's are four natives of San Francisco who grew up as best friends in a city brimming with music. Inspired by their surroundings, each other, boredom and surfer boys, they began writing and performing their own brand of west-coast-garage-pop. They have played with touring bands such as GIRLS, The Morning Benders, The Thermals, and The Stone Foxes.

A recent write up in The Bay Bridged sums up what many have said:

"We have reported on The She’s in these (web) pages on several occasions, so of this night let us say primarily this: you can scratch “teen” off in front of “band.” This is one of the best bands in town, period. Their songwriting, their vocal arrangements, their tight playing and their polished yet completely unspoiled, cheery stage presence put them head and shoulders above volumes of their drinking-age peers."

The She's first full length record was released in November 2011, and they just finished recording an EP this summer.

$6.00

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Under 21 must buy $5 drink ticket at the door.

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Brick & Mortar Music Hall

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Social Studies with Ash Reiter, The She's

Monday, November 25 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at Brick & Mortar Music Hall