Locals Only

This week: Locus Pocus, The Total Bettys, Nef The Pharaoh

If You Like The Dandy Warhols,
Then You’ll Like Locus Pocus

It can take a miracle to stand out in the Bay Area music scene, and San Francisco psych-rock newcomers Locus Pocus just got one. A few weeks after the quintet released its self-titled debut EP, Spotify included the track “My Girlfriend Won’t Dance With Me” on its Fresh Finds playlist. The song — filled with sun-drenched melancholia and spiraling, scuzzed-up guitar reminiscent of L.A. psych outfit Allah-Las — racked up more than 100,000 listens in mere weeks.

But Allah-Las are hardly the most fitting comparison. Seattle indie stalwarts The Dandy Warhols are a better one, as Locus Pocus shares the Dandy’s passion for airtight musicianship, rollicking neo-psych songwriting, and muscular sounds with winking references to classic ’60s garage-rock.

The band also channels Yes and AM-era Arctic Monkeys to create the proggy, after-dark feel of “Muscle Man,” while EP opener “Stuck” contains strains of Indigo Meadow-era Black Angels (with the brightness turned up to 11, that is).

All told, Locus Pocus’ sleek sonic identity doesn’t sound like yet another half-baked white boy psych band. Even in a nation as divided as ours, that’s something we can all get behind.

Album Spotlight:
Peach — The Total Bettys

If their debut album makes anything clear, it’s that San Francisco band The Total Bettys believe we belong to each other. The fourpiece spends nine punchy alt-rock cuts ruminating on the ties that bind — and how sometimes those ties reveal both our best and most self-indulgent sides.

On sparkling standout “You’ll Be Sorry,” frontwoman Maggie Grabmeier confronts the selfish pain of a lover moving away. In “Stay Here All Night,” she gets space to air out her loneliness, cooing some of her best lines, like “Two guys walk into a bar / And I strike out with both.”

Lyrically, Grabmeier sends the record ricocheting between crippling self-doubt and harebrained confidence, drab weekday slogs and wasted weekends. And while Peach trades on particularly contemporary feelings (such as the despair of not getting a text back or trading love notes for vapid Facebook posts), it also longs for something deeper than a world where relationships hinge upon read receipts. But don’t worry, its sweet ’90s rock riffs are still at a fever pitch the whole way through.

SF Weekly Song of the Week

“Bling Blaow” by Nef the Pharaoh

This rubbery, bassy track — which pops up in the middle of the Vallejo rapper’s debut album, The Chang Project — is filled with braggadocio-heavy lyrics and scathing disses, like “You pussy boys smell like hella period.”

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