Bay Bridged Presents
Upstairs Downstairs, Tartufi
1710 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA, 94103
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
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.
"Mission-based indie rock band Upstairs Downstairs juxtaposes dark, atmospheric lyrics with lush folk-pop melodies, crafting the perfect soundtrack for foggy, rainy days in the city. " —Local Frequency music blog on Sfweekly.com
Upstairs Downstairs was born in San Francisco in the spring of 2008. With a striking mix of thoughtful lyrics, folk-tinged melodies and a bit of feedback, the results fall somewhere on the spectrum between indie folk rock and shoegaze with a stop somewhere along the way for pop.
Tartufi is Lynne Angel, Brian Gorman and Ben Thorne. They create loop-heavy sonically diverse soundscapes with overlaying harmonies, melodies, and polyrhythms that interweave between the lands of beauty, loss, and triumph. The effect is something unlike most popular music today; an aural overhaul, a hypnotic surrender to their sound, and a wonder to witness, live or on record. They have been voted one of the best live bands in San Francisco and the best indie band by the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
"This is huge. Tartufi are just two but sound like twelve. Drummer Brian Gorman must have arms like continents, while the way Lynne Angel loops her vocals makes it seem like three personalities are battling it our for possession of her throat, Hold on to your brains." –-NME
"A dizzying construct of lunatic prettiness that exists at some extra-dimensional intersection between noise, pop, folk, post-rock and who knows what else, 'Nests of Waves and Wire' is a mighty strange beast…it all flows together, like a fantastic alien river." –-Rock Sound (UK)