GRMLN, Social Studies, AAN, Hot Flash Heat Wave
Feb 28 @ 8:00pm
Advance tickets available at:
or at The Crepe Place
GRMLN is the musical project of 20 year old, Yoodoo Park. He was born in Kyoto, Japan and moved to southern California at a young age (though he still goes back to Japan every summer). Yoodoo started playing music at the age of 13 when he was given a bass guitar and has been playing music ever since.
During the summer of 2010, Yoodoo started recording relaxing songs for himself to listen to in his car during lazy, summer afternoons. To capture the sound of relaxation in his songs, Yoodoo incorporated clean sounding guitar rhythms with a mixture of drowsy melodies. Surrounded and inspired by trees and coastal surf, Yoodoo’s interest in nature shows through amply in his music. In his Explore EP, GRMLN has been described as a sound that blends clean-rock and dream-pop.
Empire is GRMLN’s album for the cruisin’ world: Upbeat rock music with the feel of 90s pop-punk. The new tracks are much more rock-driven than Explore’s gentle, dreamy tunes. The album was mostly written the months preceding and during Yoodoo’s sophomore year at the University of California Santa Cruz. When the fall semester began, Yoodoo would either write in between classes or just ditch the day’s lessons all together in pursuit of a song.
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.