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This week: Steep Ravine, Society of Rockets, Yared Kiflai

If you like Grizzly Bear,
then you’ll like Society of Rockets

Society of Rockets

The Society of Rockets is a San Francisco band that has gone through numerous metamorphoses during its 15 years of existence.

Formerly the Shimmer Kids Underpop Association, the psych-pop outfit changed its name to The Society of Rockets in 2004, but it has taken them a few years to find their sound. Each of their albums range in style, from the delicate folk of Sunset Homes to the funky, ’70s vibes of Plutonian Blues, to the grungy, reverb-soaked chords of Where The Grass Grows Black.

Populuxe, Society of Rockets’ most recent record, is the one that sounds the most like Grizzly Bear. Rooted in psych-pop and folk-rock, Populuxe mixes elastic guitars and nimble keys into one richly detailed whole. But it’s the record’s choral vocals and copious harmonies that give it the most resemblance to the Brooklyn band. No one voice stands out over the rest, which helps keep the songs interesting and the listener guessing.

Album Spotlight:
Turning of the Fall — Steep Ravine

Equal parts folk, Americana, and bluegrass, San Francisco quartet Steep Ravine also pays homage to jazz and rock in its swirling, string-heavy productions.

Turning of the Fall, the band’s third album, released on Friday, April 7, is its most polished yet, encompassing a range of styles, sounds, and moods. “Out My Window” is a string-filled slow-burner that crescendos at the midway point, and “Wallflower” is a galloping guitar number with soft-spoken, multi-tracked vocals that remind one of Simon and Garfunkel. Mellow rocker “I’ve Tried” has lyrics — “Believe me / I can’t change / My heart / I’ve tried” — that sound like something out of a Marshall Tucker Band album, and there are two songs on the record — “Interluder” and “Highland Hornpipe” — that are entirely instrumental.

The compositions of the songs are inventive, ensuring that no two tracks sound alike, but there’s an earnest, roots-y undercurrent within every one that helps tie the album together. With so much going on in each tune, Turning of the Fall is the kind of record that warrants more than a cursory listen.

Catch Steep Ravine on Saturday, May 20, at the Fillmore with Dustbowl Revival and Steve Poltz.

SF Weekly Song of the Week:

“7:30” —  Yared Kiflai

This textured, chopped rap song sounds like your brain on Klonopin: laidback, fuzzy, and chilled-the-fuck-out.

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