Austra, which has toured internationally with groups like the XX, Grimes, and the Gossip will test the balance on a quick jaunt through the States, only stopping in a few major cities. One lucky enclave is San Francisco — the group plays here this week (Wed/26, 8pm, sold out. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF). Noted for its creative use of stage layout and synchronized twin dance movements ("they're kind of like our cheerleaders!"), Austra has a lot to live up to at its live shows. Postepski tells me this very short tour includes a massive, beautiful new backdrop, rented from the Chinese Opera Group in Toronto.
"People are having fun at the shows. I just want it to be a dance party, you know?" Postepski says.
There's another group traveling to San Francisco this week that also will likely be filling up the dancefloor — and, coincidentally, also has toured with the Gossip — Magic Mouth. To get a taste of the explosive energy Magic Mouth exudes, check the YouTube video "MAGIC MOUTH LIVE: MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS," it's like watching James Brown front a garage-punk band. The lively Portland, Ore. queer soul-punk quartet will play Hard French Hearts Los Homos (an event described by DJ Carnita as "an intergalactic Pride Party for all the gayliens who love to dance in outer space").
Magic Mouth will open for fellow Northwesterners, Seattle's THEESatisfaction at the event hosted by Lil Miss Hot Mess (Sun/30, 4-11pm, $20. Roccapulco, 3140 Mission, SF; hardfrenchpride2013.eventbrite.com). This will be the band's second time in SF, after stopping by El Rio last fall. But other tours have taken the group around the country opening for the Gossip, and JD Sampson's MEN.
Magic Mouth has a glut of reasons to be keyed up for the SF show.
"I'm really looking forward to playing with THEESatisfaction. We've been admirers of theirs from afar for a minute and in kind of the same music community," says frontperson Chanticleer Trü. "And also to celebrate at Hard French, because we love what they do."
Guitarist Peter Condra adds, "And I'm excited to play a party that's dedicated to a political cause, which is Bradley Manning. With what went down in San Francisco Pride, I think that fueled the organizers' enthusiasm about the topic and I want to help them create awareness in any way we can as a band. I think it's cool they took a stance on that."
A crash course on those events: The LGBTQ community was torn apart when the SF Pride Board rescinded the election of Wikileaker Bradley Manning to the position of Community Grand Marshal at this year's Pride celebration. There are planned actions and marches in support of Manning (see pTK) at the Pride parade, June 30.
So yes, Magic Mouth comes to us on a mission of both solidarity and fun. And likely, to gain new fans.
The group's electric Believer EP saw release in 2012, and now it's in the process of finishing up another, Devil May Care, which was funded with $10,000 raised through Kickstarter. The foursome worked on the record with Nathan Howdeshell and Hannah Blilie of the Gossip, who walked the band through the process, gave feedback, and connected Magic Mouth with a producer. Devil May Care will be released on vinyl in late summer.
"I'm really proud of this record," Trü says.
Drummer Ana Briseño says, "Yeah, I think it's taking us into the next level, a little more grownup, of taking this band seriously. The quality of the recording, and getting to put it out on vinyl, and being able to be involved in the artwork — I think we're really lucky and not a lot of bands make it to that point."
"In comparison to our first EP, which we recorded like, between two of our friends' bedroom studios," Trü says. "It's definitely been an evolution, and this time around I feel like we really captured the type of energy we bring to a live performance."