Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.
Thursday January 20 2022
The previously scheduled show—with Sour Widows— is postponing, exact date unknown as yet. Your tickets will be transferred to the new date automatically unless you request a refund, which you can do at any time. Once it is rescheduled, we'll let you know the new date, and you'll again have the chance at that time to request a refund if you cannot make the new date.
Thursday January 20 2022
8:00PM doors -- music at 8:30PM
••• ALL AGES
$12 in advance / $15 at the door
Noise Pop and Sierra Nevada present...
alternative bedroom rock
lunch meat post-punk
indie pop folk rock
-from Oakland, CA
-With Crossing Over, Sour Widows discover a new intensity by turning inward. The second EP from this Bay Area band dials back some of the volume that drove their self-titled 2020 debut to make space for themes of self-reflection and painful change that cut through with sharpened clarity. The luminous vocal harmonies, complex guitar interplay, and understated drumming that have been at the core of the band's sound remain foundational; but these four songs reach deeper, all the more stirring in their subtlety.
Sour Widows was formed in 2017 by Maia Sinaiko, Susanna Thomson and Max Edelman. All three had been close since meeting in various phases of childhood, and when they found themselves living in the same area, making music together came naturally. Maia and Susanna initially performed as a guitar/vocal duo, with Max joining on as drummer in 2018 to add a rhythmic element that completed the band, grounding the songs and opening them to a new range of possibilities. With a musical connection that was an extension of their longtime friendship, the band began fine-tuning a sound that swung from gently glowing harmonizing to energetic bursts of feedback-laced catharsis. Before long they were touring and sharing bills with acts as diverse as Pile, Sen Morimoto, Tasha and members of Warpaint. After the release of their self-titled EP in February of 2020, the plan was to continue touring and start work on a full length album. As it did with so many others, the global pandemic abruptly changed plans for Sour Widows. Rather than slow momentum indefinitely while waiting to safely get into a studio, the band decided to work remotely recording new material themselves.
Sour Widows’ music already drew as equally on sharpness as it did tenderness, but the deliberately spare atmosphere of Crossing Over enhances both. Tempos slow and the instrumentation softens while anxiety and grief crackle through these deceptively opulent songs. “Bathroom Stall” shares the experience of losing a partner to addiction with staggering vulnerability. It’s devastating and serene at once, shuffling quickly from placid scenes of quiet bedrooms to articulations of what it’s like to carry permanent, irreversible loss. Like much of the EP, the song is evenly paced and softly lit, but conveys gravity in even its most delicate moments.
The title track is perhaps the strongest marker of the distinct evolution in sound throughout Crossing Over. The song slowly expands from a subdued two chord guitar progression into a dynamic, breathing organism, building tension as it winds through an unconventional song structure with aching lyrics centered around a long-distance relationship. It’s a song about the weight of love that sprawls out with the loneliness of an endless highway. Susanna and Maia worked on the song while quarantining together, and the protracted arrangement embodies both the frustrations of physical distance expressed in the lyrics and the strange new ways time felt in 2020.
Crossing Over represents a new phase of Sour Widows’ artistry, and points to further growth with their soon-to-follow full length debut. The unique form of this EP documents the band discovering a voice which derives its translucent power from restraint and intentionality.
-from Oakland, CA
-Fake Fruit distill Pink Flag era Wire, Pylon, and Mazzy Star to expound on the absurdity of modern life. Front woman Hannah D’Amato leads the group through three minute clap backs of minimal, moody post-punk. “I Am the Car” is the new single from San Francisco-based Fake Fruit, available digitally on Fire Talk imprint Open Tab. Lead vocalist Hannah D'Amato's acerbic wit is bitingly emphatic, providing a necessary vantage point into the absurdities and emotion of human connection, and Bandcamp christened the trio “our new no-bullshit harbingers of disgruntled punk.” The new single takes the best of the band’s keen ear for melody and flips it into an impossibly catchy anthem that full of melancholic yearning. The band’s “electrifying” (Pitchfork) brand of nervy guitars and call-and-return vocals have made them one of the new names to know in indie rock.
-from San Francisco, CA
-There’s a certain magic in the ability to gild tragedy with rhinestones, and Zelma Stone, the moniker of Bay Area native Chloe Zelma Studebaker, perfects that sleight of hand on The Best. Where 2020’s lauded Dreamland was a backward glance at fresh grief, Studebaker’s third record is an homage to what’s ahead, and the EP’s marriage of vulnerability and bravado asserts Zelma Stone as a captivating voice in contemporary songwriting. “In the past, I often felt caught up in the sensation of constantly looking back, wondering where the time went and what could have been,” says Studebaker. “I spent a lot of this year learning to trust myself and embrace new chapters. The theme of moving forward and accepting change is very present throughout this record, and it was exciting exploring these ideas with a fuller sound and more dramatic dynamics.”
Written in pre-pandemic San Francisco and recorded last fall in Stinson Beach, CA with producer and repeat collaborator Maryam Qudus, The Best is the culmination of Studebaker’s years of songwriting and performing since starting Zelma Stone from her childhood home in 2017. Citing classic country stars like Patsy Cline and contemporary outfits like Amen Dunes among her inspiration, Studebaker’s influences play well together on tracks like opener “Gift Horse,” which sees her snarling “I’ll be on my high horse when the words come to me,” as sinuous, reverberating guitar snakes underneath. The rumble of the bassline and Studebaker’s polished, distinctive delivery evokes a jukebox standard, but it’s the doubt beneath this and every track on the EP–a doubling back, lyrically and sonically–that renders The Best particularly multifaceted. “I’m fine now, I’m fine now, I’m fine,” she sings later on “Money Honey,” and it could be a promise or a white flag, waved in defeat. The Best acknowledges that a heart is always holding more than one thing, and that what it contains can’t always be labeled.
After a series of formative losses over the past decade, the songs on The Best are about grief but also discovery, the shedding of old identities and relationships to make space for an evolving self. “Come Back” is an earworm plea for constancy, the perfect encapsulation of our desire to be fully known and our fear of that exact phenomenon. “In my writing process, lyrics often materialize subconsciously, and the underlying meaning does not always come to me right away,” Studebaker says. “Sometimes even months or years later, the meaning takes on a new form.” True to her word, these tracks deepen with each listen, from flourishes of pedal steel to one-liners that stick like tattoos.
When plaintiveness rears its head—“I have things to say, I have many feelings” opens the EP’s final and titular track—it feels like a moment of suspension between a curtain’s rise and fall. Belied by her age, Studebaker’s ability to withhold and reveal is a marvel, and these dexterous songs are a masterful balancing act between the self she knows and the self she projects, as winsome as they are wistful. Exploring new sonic terrain and marking her growth as a songwriter, The Best cements Zelma Stone’s place among modern indie music’s brightest up and coming acts.