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This week: Jay Som, Major Powers & the Lo-Fi Symphony, and Spooky Mansion

Major Powers & The Lo-Fi Symphony (Photo by Sam Madnick)

If you like: Queen
Then you’ll like: Major Powers & The Lo-Fi Symphony

“Adventure rock” is not an actual subgenre, but that’s how East Bay band Major Powers & the Lo-Fi Symphony describes its music. Actual subgenres that would describe the band would be art rock or progressive rock, but that’s getting too deep in the weeds.

What you need to know is that these three dudes sound a lot like Queen. Usiing a heady blend of keyboard and guitar, the Bay Area trio makes upbeat, elastic rock with a theatrical, sing-song vibe that showcases numerous vocal styles from members Nicholas Powers and Kevin and Dylan Gautschi. Harmonies are a big part of Major Powers’ music, and if you listen to the opening chords of “93,000,000 Miles,” you’ll be forgiven for mistaking the vocals Freddie Mercury’s.

It’s clear that though both Queen and Major Powers take their crafts seriously, they’re also just having a whole lot of fun.

Catch Major Powers & the Lo-Fi Symphony on Friday, April 21 at Great American Music Hall. 

 

Album Spotlight:
Everybody Works by Jay Som

You know you’re doing well as an artist when the mere act of uploading old, unfinished tracks to Bandcamp leads not only to a record deal, but to tours with Mitski and Peter, Bjorn, and John. That’s what happened last year to Melina Duterte, the Oakland singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known as Jay Som, when she released Turn Into one drunken autumn night.

A year later, she followed with her debut album, Everybody Works, a collection of delicate indie-rock songs overlaid with string instruments and Duterte’s breathy, feather-light voice. The 22-year-old wrote, recorded, played, and produced the album entirely by herself (except for some of the backing vocals), and made the 10-track project from her West Oakland apartment in the span of three weeks.

Album opener “Lipstick Stains” sounds like an interlude from an Andrew Bird album, while “(BedHead)” is a rumpled number filled with droning feedback and acoustic guitar. One particularly strong cut is “The Bus Song.” A paean for, well, using the bus, it features muffled vocals, harmonized choruses, and a classic guitar melody that sounds not unlike the opening chords to John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland.”

 

SF Weekly Song of the Week:

“Night Owl” by Spooky Mansion

Filled with languid keys and spoken-word vocals, this lo-fi, R&B-tinged tune sounds like nothing we’ve heard yet from the San Francisco band.

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