Localized Appreesh: Waterstrider

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Berkeley's Waterstrider practicing the most casual yoga.

Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. Each week a band/music-maker with a show, album release, or general good news is highlighted and spotlit. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com.

They seem a plucky bunch: Nate Salman, Alex Siegel, Clayton Ernst, Sean Suess, Brijean Murphy, and Walker Johnson – a.k.a Berkeley's Waterstrider. The group, which somewhat formed in 2010 (but really got together this year), blends Afro-pop and synthesizers – and yet manages to sound authentic. Perhaps the intimacy of the Berkeley co-ops helped shape the sound; this is a six-person collective that is in-tune with itself, though the current lineup has only been together about a month. What they've accomplished in such a short amount of time is the main reason they're here in Localized Appreesh.

Check out “Midnight Moon” off Waterstrider's recently released EP, Constellation. There are so many audio-treats: delicate shaker, hand-drumming, floating synths, Fools Gold-reminiscent guitar, and lovely vocals, yet it feels inclusive, tight – when it spreads across cultural landscapes, it always spins around back to the core. You have a chance to hear it all live this Thursday, Oct. 13 at Bottom of the Hill – the band opens for pals Gardens & Villa. (If you need more convincing: Gardens & Villa bassist  Shane McKillop described Waterstrider as “Afro-beat meets Fleet Foxes.”)

Nate Salman (lead vocalist fellow):
Year and location of origin: 
Fall 2010 in Berkeley, but we went through a lot of evolution (and had a lot of changes in instrumentation and members). It really started taking shape around March or April of 2011. Almost all of us met in the co-ops and attended UC Berkeley. Walker, our drummer, is a friend of my older brother and a Cal graduate as well. The current lineup is only about a month old though.
Band name origin:
 It was a nickname and/or spirit animal that a friend from Santa Barbara started calling me.
Band motto:
 All we ever need is energy...
Description of sound in 10 words or less: 
Heavily rhythmic ethereal melodies steeped in surreal, romantic imagery.
Instrumentation: 
Nate Salman on Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Ukulele. Alex Siegel on Harmony Vocals, Electric Guitar. Clayton Ernst on Bass. Sean Suess on Harmony Vocals, Synth, Flute, Sax. Brijean Murphy on Congas, Percussion. Walker Johnson on Drums.
Most recent release: 
Constellation on August 1, 2011
Best part about life as a Bay Area band:
The people are wonderful! We make some really fantastic friends wherever we play.
Worst part about life as a Bay Area band:
We're pretty optimistic people, so hopefully we will never have much of a problem with the music scene here.
First record/cassette tape/or CD ever purchased:
Ray J Everything You Want -- It was probably when I was nine-years-old or so. I think I got that cassette after watching Ray J performing a couple songs on an old Nickelodeon show. However, I just looked it up after completely forgetting what it sounded like... some of the production on that album is pretty sweet! Surprisingly funky.
Most recent record/cassette tape/CD/or Mp3 purchased/borrowed from the Web: 
Little Dragon Ritual Union.Their grooves are fantastically beautiful and Yukimi Nagano's voice melts my soul.
Favorite local eatery and dish: We frequent Taqueria La Familia. It is the best Mexican food in Berkeley. Their veggie burritos or chile rellenos do the trick for me.

Waterstrider
With Gardens & Villa and Young Man
Thurs/13, 9 p.m., $10
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF
www.bottomofthehill.com

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