SF quartet Social Studies sign to Antenna Farm, announce May tour, and prep their first album of hooky, angular pop
“Wind Up Wooden Heart” due July 27th, 2010
MP3: Time Bandit
With their finger on the pulse on the Bay Area’s inspiring, burgeoning music scene, Antenna Farm Records (Papercuts, The Dry Spells, Sugar & Gold) is proud to welcome Social Studies into the family. Interested in exploring fresh approaches to pop songwriting, Social Studies manages to stray far away from traditional structures yet still engages listeners with plenty of sugary hooks and surprising twists throughout each song. Their impressive first full-length “Wind Up Wooden Heart” will be out July 27th, 2010. The quartet will be on the road throughout May, with plans to tour more extensively throughout 2010.
Social Studies crafts intricate songs that combine angular indie rock and classic twee-pop. What distingishes the San Francsico-based group is their ecclectic, complex song writing: unusual structures and mathy beats are tempered by soft edges and danceable casio hooks. Moody, defiant and hopeful, the lyrics celebrate duality through themes of discontent, violence, innocence, renewal, nostalgia, regret and joy. All these elements take shape in unpredictable, catchy songs that burrow into your consciousness and demand repeat listening and a critical reading between the lines. Combine this imaginative songwriting with a consistently high energy live show, and it is no surprise that Social Studies has generated a loyal fanbase and strong buzz in the SF Bay Area and beyond.
At the core of Social Studies are Natalia Rogovin on keyboards and vocals, and Michael Jirkovsky on drums. Natalia spent her youth on a commune in rural Oregon and trained to be a classical pianist, while Michael grew up in Chicago and cut his teeth on the Chicago punk scene. The two met in college in Santa Cruz and assembled Social Studies upon graduating and moving to the SF Bay Area a couple of years later.
Social Studies has built their local following while serving as an incubator for talented San Francisco musicians. Members of bands like Maus Haus, Tempo No Tempo, and the Lovely Public have passed through their ranks. In mid-2009, the band recruited Jesse Hudson (formerly of Dealership and the product of a musical family whose father played with the likes of Joan Baez and Jorma Kaukonen) on bass. He was quickly followed by a former bandmate of Michael’s, Tom Smith, guitarist from Chicago pop sensations Office and Mazes.
With several US tours and a self-released EP under their belts, Social Studies has shared the stage with the likes of The Pipettes, the Long Blondes and Handsome Furs. Between shows, the band spent much of 2009 recording and producing a full-length debut album that pushed their songwriting skills to new heights.
The result, “Wind Up Wooden Heart” tempers the experimental lines of the Deerhoof with a love of unadulterated pop songwriting, and heightens the arching melodies of Beach House with dramatic twists and turns. With consistently catchy melodies, Natalia’s enchanting voice, masterful engineering by Jay Pellicci (Deerhoof, Subtle, Erase Errata), and special guest appearances by members of Bright Eyes and Thee More Shallows, Social Studies have crafted an album that’s equally infectious and innovative.
In ten tracks, the band offers us a glimpse into a prophetic future that, upon closer look, is crumbling with nostalgia and regret. The songs mirror the contradictory themes that run through the album with a balance between danceable melodies and unique structures that break out of the “verse/chorus/verse” boundaries. Wind Up Wooden Heart is pop music fully realized for a modern era, and it’s a debut LP that begs to be talked about, sung along to, and played on repeat. It announces Social Studies as a band ready to break out into the national consciousness.
5.14 Oakland, CA @ TBA
5.15 Santa Cruz, CA @ Porterpalooza
5.16 Fresno, CA @ Audie’s Olympic
5.18 Seattle, WA @ The Comet Tavern
5.20 Portland, OR @ Ella Street Social Club
5.21 Nevada City, CA @ TBA
5.22 Los Angeles, CA @ Silverlake Jubilee
5.23 Los Angeles, CA @ Silverlake Jubilee
5.23 San Diego, CA @ The Soda Bar
5.25 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
5.27 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop/SF Popfest
5.28 Davis, CA @ UC Davis Quad
5.29 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
“It’s as if we’re able to hear salty sea swells in their every movement and we’re able to feel the buzz of a good getting’ drunk night in Natalia Rogovin’s rainy wet singing and the quaint whispers of the passage of time in the melodies and stories.”
“After receiving an increasing amount of hometown buzz in the Bay Area press, Social Studies makes their way to a Williamsburg loft, the place where indie-rock dreams come true. Tonight, we hope they do for the sweet-voiced Natalia Rogovin and her baroque-leaning band.”
“Imagine the pre-Islands band The Unicorns in all their glory; that album, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone. Now think of their triumphant return, matured a decade and now female-fronted.”