Electro Group, a shoegazer mainstay of the local music scene in the late ’90s, have managed to stay together and put out several albums in the 2000’s. The latest, Ranger, was out on 1/27. I got in touch with the band–Matt Hull (drums), Tim Jacobson (guitar & vocals), and Ian Hernandez (bass)–to talk about the new album, their history with Sacramento and their plans for a spring tour.
Tim: At least the beginning of 2014 if we include planning. It’s funny; the whole reason we went to a studio and worked with a producer this time was to get it done quicker than we can on our own. We did get it done quickly but it still came out in 2017.
Back in the late ’90s, Electro Group had one of the most defined musical styles in town and blew out many eardrums as the noise pop vanguard of the local scene. Though it has been a full 10 years since their last LP Good Technology in 2007, the band has managed to eke out recordings on vinyl and even put out a cassingle (!) in 2015. Last month they released a new LP, Ranger, on their longtime label Research Sound Recordings.
The album is strong out of the box with “Like Pelicans,” introducing you immediately to the elements that make up such a consistent sound for a band that has been together for 20 years: falsetto vocals over deeply crunchy guitars, heavy bass, and inventive drum lines. Characteristic atonal riffs and hard-driving fuzz make “Undone” another standout, and “Mandobo” is a sweeping, My Bloody Valentine-inspired anthem. The epic Built to Spill inspired outro of “Monotron” is a standout of the latter half of the album. Electro Group may wear its influences on its sleeve, but this is no mere copycat band. They’ve got the chops to back it up.
The sound is mature, pulling in strings on “Unwind” and a synth-and-keys vibe on “Gong.” Electro Group are still interested in moving their sound forward rather than just covering old ground. Ranger is a solid album from a band confident in its sound, one that should gather lots of “where has this been all my life?” reactions on their upcoming tour.
The City of Trees music festival tickets went on sale this morning. The event, to be held August 15 at Gibson Ranch in Elverta, features as a headliner a little local band called “Cake” whose work has been featured in such things as “TV” and “the movies.” In addition to Cake and some other hot acts like Of Monsters and Men and BORNS, the lineup will include a “listener choice” option:
We’re letting YOU, the listener, help us pick the rest of the line-up. Just TEXT the name of your favorite band that you want to see play on stage!
So I’d like to use my social media presence and this bully pulpit that is thesac rag dot com to ask you a favor. Please vote for Buddy Holly and the Crickets. I think Radio 94.7 can pull this off. Text “BAND Buddy Holly and the Crickets” to 31858. Let’s make this happen Sacramento!
Death Grips, the Sacramento-based experimental artcore/hip hop group that I sometimes write about here, and therefore am obligated to write about now, have broken up, notifying the world via Facebook post, as you do.
Death Grips was and always has been a conceptual art exhibition anchored by sound and vision above and beyond a â€˜band.â€™
If you missed the documentary “Give Us This Day,” about the 2012 Grant Union High School football team, the film is coming back with some local screenings this weekend. I first wrote about this film last summer when the trailer dropped on YouTube.
The film, by locals (and brothers) D.L. and Adam Stern, got a great write-up in the Bee last month: “‘Give Us’ is not some booster-club video. It looks professional and polished” says Carla Meyer.
The film’s website has a link to buy tickets to the screenings, which, awesomely, will be taking place at the auditorium at Grant High.
Give Us This Day
Grant High School Auditorium
1400 Grand Ave
Friday, 5/16 6:00 PM
Sunday, 5/18 1:00 PM & 6:00 PM
$10 General Admission / $5 Student (with ID)
On April 19th, Record Store Day 2014 will feature a number of limited release records from more than 100 artists. The eight record box set from CAKE is sure to create a local buzz among collectors and vibraslap aficionados. The set will include their entire LP discography plus the unreleased LP Live at the Crystal Palace recorded in 2005. I was there, it was awesome.
Sacramento area vinyl vendors are likely to get a good supply of this career spanning retrospective from our most famous hometown band, but fans will have to be smart and quick to snatch one up. Otherwise, the only option will be massively inflated prices on eBay.
I’ll stop being a one-man Arjun Singh PR firm when he stops making incredible video content, or when he becomes embroiled in a nasty personal scandal, and even then it would have to be particularly nasty. Here he is interviewing indie singer-songwriter ZZ Ward when she appeared in Sacramento last week before her appearance at Coachella over the weekend.
Downtown Sac Partnership announced the schedule for Concerts in the Park today, with performances starting May 2 at Cesar Chavez Park. Making a return visit to the park on July 18 is New York’s !!!. (Editor’s quandary: How to respect the band’s chosen label in a sentence that ends with the name of the band and then an exclamation point? e.g. “Excellent concert Friday night by !!!!”)
Old favorites like Arden Park Roots, The Nickel Slots, Zuhg, confirmed Sac Rag fan Autumn Sky, and of course nobody has to worry about getting their Brodys fix as the band will close out the summer on July 25, but lots of new names on the list as well. Anyone excited to see their favorite band at the park this summer?
Wizard World, the fanzine publisher who hosts geek conventions in various cities including Chicago and Philadelphia, is bringing their con to Sacramento for the first time this year. The guest list is insane, including William Shatner, Stan Lee, and Bruce Campbell, and about half the cast of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
Huge news for Sacramento’s geek community. As a dad with kids I just hope the cosplay presentations are family friendly, which I guess is probably in vain. The Sac Bee’s Snapshots from the recent Anime con at the Convention Center were mostly safe, which bodes well. I think cons should have a “family friendly” cosplay area but I’d hate to have to put someone in charge of judging whether costumes are friendly.
Sacramento has quite a few murals but my new favorite is at the midtown YMCA. The walls of the patio in the pool area were decorated with a “whimsical” mural depicting undersea life last month, painted by local artist Markos Egure. I haven’t been to the pool since last year so I first got to see it this weekend. Makes the pool experience just a bit better!