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Best Postpunk Garage Bands San Francisco 2010 -

Artwork by Jonathan Burstein

Young Prisms


The Art Museums

Most garage-rock bands take inspiration from one place: the original Nuggets,/i> double LP, compiled by future Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye and Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman in 1972. That album featured a slew of groups like the Chocolate Watchband, the Standells, and the Knickerbockers trying to sound like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, or late-era Beatles. Lately, however, there's been a growing movement within San Francisco's garage scene that's indebted to postpunk as much as Merseybeat.

Local quintet Young Prisms weaves haunting female vocals and declarative boy-shouting throughout waves of bristling guitars, taking the Seeds' psychedelic thrust to where My Bloody Valentine lived.

The trio Weekend evokes a garage-bred version of Joy Division, offering the tension and release of pounding basslines, squalling guitars, and drawn-out caterwauling. (The group's black/white visual aesthetic of button-down shirts and black jeans doesn't hurt the comparison.)

The Art Museums were founded by garage-psych purveyor (and onetime SF Weekly contributor) Glenn Donaldson as a way to showcase his love of fractured British postpunk acts like Television Personalities. The group's Woodsist Records debut, Rough Frame, features home-recorded gems full of cheap keyboards, serrated guitar hooks, and nonsensical lyrics, as much Young Marble Giants' "Colossal Youth" as Kim Fowley's "The Trip."

While garage-rock has always been conservative in its strict adherence to era, these new acts are — finally — attempting an evolution of sound.

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