This month, Beach House are sure to entrance at Bimbo's with selections from their superb new album, Teen Dream. Sugar & Gold celebrate the release of Get Wet!, which moves the band out of the disco and into the '80s. Finally, The Ruby Suns continue to defy expectations, venturing into experimental synth-pop territory as they Fight Softly.
After owning it for over a month, I recently made it to the third side of Beach House's new double LP, Teen Dream. Such is the impact of the first five songs on the Baltimore band's third record, a masterful collection of emotive Gothic pop that should emerge as one of 2010's great albums. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally certainly captured some great haunting melodies on 2008's Devotion -- "Gila" and "Astronaut" could especially hold their own amongst their newer offerings -- but the new album is considerably deeper and richer. Avoiding the sameness that often plagues melodramatic music, each mini-epic on Teen Dream surveys a broad expanse of mood and tone, led by Legrand's commanding vocals. It will undoubtedly be difficult to not get caught up in the band's melancholy at Bimbo's on Wednesday, April 14. Bachelorette opens.
Over the past several years, Sugar & Gold have earned a reputation as one of the most fun live bands in the Bay Area, shaking up indie rock shows with their funky, disco-inspired pop. With their sophomore album Get Wet!, the SF quintet should move from being the "fun band" to join the likes of Of Montreal, !!! and Pyramiddd as one of the "smart fun bands." The new album only occasionally hints at the disco feel of Creme, from 2007, in some buoyant guitar lines; far more often, oscillating synths and old drum machines drive the new tunes. Despite the umbrella 1980s feel throughout, the band's got a number of sides to showcase. Whether it's yearning pop ("Bodyaches"), R&B-funk ("Sneek Freq"), or Italo house ("Salty Seraphim"), Sugar & Gold can infuse it into one of their well-crafted confections. For all the consideration of Get Wet!'s many merits, though, this is dance music that should be heard live, like at the band's CD release party at Bottom of the Hill on April 29. Nite Jewel & Baron Von Luxxury also perform.
Auckland, New Zealand's The Ruby Suns won't be accused of sticking to a formula any time soon. 2008's Sea Lion was a psych-pop affair incorporating a global range of sounds, from Maori chanting to traditional Kenyan music. The band has undergone something of a futuristic overhaul on the brand new Fight Softly, which replaces their previous light touch with a bevy of electronics, effects and heavy drum machine beats. The pop is now synth-pop, reminiscent of the grossly-underrated Russian Futurists, only with an inclination toward intricate experimental songwriting. Seen live, group drumming, live-triggered samples and collective vocals create a psychedelic feel, which turns into a sort of euphoria when the trio launches into a sublimely catchy melody. The band will be at Bottom of the Hill on April 12, with Toro Y Moi and dreamdate.
Ben Van Houten is the Programming Director of The Bay Bridged.