Interview: Electro Group

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.

See my review of the new LP “Ranger”

How long have you all been working on this album?

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.

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Electro Group, “Ranger” LP

Electro Group, Ranger (2017, Research Sound Recordings)

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.

Tomorrow: An interview with the band.

Electro Group on Bandcamp.com

City of Trees festival lineup to include “listener choice”

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!

City of Trees – Tickets $50-$100 on sale now

Grant Pacers football documentary adds some local screenings

10151218_301577453300420_1954247868485807109_nIf 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
Sacramento, CA
Friday, 5/16 6:00 PM
Sunday, 5/18 1:00 PM & 6:00 PM
$10 General Admission / $5 Student (with ID)

Boxed Cake Mix

Like this, but much cooler.
Like this, but much cooler.
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.