Welcome to Pass the Aux, where KQED Arts & Culture brings you our favorite new tracks by Bay Area artists. Check out past entries and submit a song for future coverage here.
If you didn't know any better, you might think The Y Axes' "Slide" had emerged at some point on the early-'90s indie underground. On first listen, it sounds like a bright-eyed guitar-pop band like Throwing Muses borrowed some dark clouds from British shoegaze contemporaries (think: Slowdive, Lush) and ran headfirst into a rain shower.
In reality, the San Francisco quartet (comprised of vocalist Alexi Rose Belchere, guitarist Devin Nelson, bassist Jack Sundquist and drummer Ash Hyatt) are very much of the here and the now. Despite its ability to harken back to another era, "Slide" was inspired by a very modern problem. "That feeling of uncertainty and listlessness," the band says, "while waiting to get texted back" by a love interest. It's about "trying to trick yourself into believing that you don’t care, paired with that blip of euphoria when they do text you."
Despite the anxiety weaving through the song, the video for "Slide" more closely matches Devin Nelson's choppy, sunshine-infused guitar lines. The almost-five-minute clip is a little slice of San Francisco joy that features a crew of female and nonbinary skateboarders and roller skaters hanging out and hitting ramps. The friends pay a visit to legendary skate spot 3rd and Army, before rolling through Potrero Skate Park, down 24th Street in the Mission, and winding up at The Secret Alley, where the band performed their first show since shelter in place.
"Slide" is the follow-up to The Y Axes' June single, "Burning Out"—a decidedly perkier slice of guitar pop. Both will appear on an as-yet-untitled forthcoming EP, via Text Me Records. You can also catch the band at Bottom of the Hill on Saturday, Nov. 20.