Plus: The West Coast re-emergence of Aa, local label love at the B.A.R.F.
"We don't want to be making straight-ahead pop songs, but at the same time, I'd say the sounds of pop music have broadened our palette, while sticking to the way we like to put songs together," says Atkinson. The changing lineup has helped the band's sound evolve, as well: "Everyone listens to different music...dark industrial heavy stuff, electronic stuff, metal, punk, another drummer is into Samba, world music and jazz...everyone brings something different, so it's great to watch that kind of stew congeal into something that still sounds like us."
Playing the Hemlock on Feb. 15 will be the second stop on a weeklong West Coast tour that will take the guys up to Seattle, after which Atkinson will be making a point to stop at every basketball stadium he can on the way back down — the Jersey native is a fairly new appreciator (not a bandwagon fan, he wants to be clear) of California basketball.
As for the NYC/LA transition in general: "New York's always gonna be home to me, but every time I go back, so much has changed about Brooklyn — all these condos, cookie-cutter new restaurants, and the vibe of the city is just not what it used to be," he says, "LA is a really hard city to get to know, but that also means there's a ton of interesting new stuff to discover all the time. It's starting to feel like home."
Last but definitely not least: Don't forget to check out the first Bay Area Record Label Fair, (or B.A.R.F., which is funny whether or not you are 12, admit it), at Thee Parkside on Feb. 15, the brainchild of SF promoters Professional Fans and the city's own Father/Daughter Records. Some 18 different labels will be represented at the daylong affair, plus live performances from Cocktails, Dog Party, and others TBD. Oh yeah, and it's free — so bite your tongue the next time you find yourself saying that everything in this city has gotten too expensive.
The Independent's 10th Anniversary Celebration
Feb. 19 - Feb. 26, show times and prices vary
628 Divisadero, SF
With Alan Watts, Wand, and Violent Vickie
Saturday, Feb. 15 9pm, $8
Hemlock Tavern 1131 Polk, SF
Saturday, Feb. 15 12pm - 5pm, free
1600 17th Street, SF