Release me - Page 2

Bay Area rock begins 2011 at a record pace, with new releases from Sic Alps, Young Prisms, and Sonny Smith
A triple-dip of Bay rock


Sic Alps has been recording and releasing music since 2004. The band had a prolific 2008, putting out two full-lengths. In the fall of 2009, it released a 7-inch single on Slumberland, toured with Magik Markers, and made up one-half of a 12-inch split release on Yik Tak. The next year began with a handful of shows opening for Sonic Youth. And then Sic Alps went quiet for a bit ... but the wait has been worth it. Now a trio, the group is set to release the new double-LP Napa Asylum (Drag City) on Jan. 25.

Napa Asylum displays Sic Alps' flair for irresistible hooks and torrid experimentation. As usual, the new tracks were recorded with "a delay pedal, reverb tank, two microphones, $100 preamp, and Tascam 388." There are 22 cuts in just under 48 minutes, with some delicious pop-rock morsels, including "Cement Surfboard," "Ball of Flame," and "Zeppo Epp."

What's new is how often this San Francisco no-fi band slows its tempo and explores the psychedelic side of its sound, like on the serene "Low Kid," reverb-riddled "Ranger," and the closer, "Nathan Livingston Maddox," which is based on a dream Mike Donovan had about the late Gang Gang Dance member, who was killed by lightning. Napa Asylum's other bizarre lyrical ruminations on magic and schizophrenia prove Sic Alps, as ever, aren't afraid to wander into new sonic and poetic terrain. *


With Ganglians, Melted Toys, and Speculator

Jan. 19, 8:30 p.m., $10

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 621-4455


With the Blow

Jan. 30, 8 p.m., $15

Great American Music Hall

859 O'Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750


With Thee Oh Sees.

Feb. 9, 8 p.m., $13–$16 (benefit for the Coalition on Homelessness)

Great American Music Hall

859 O'Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750

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