Localized Appreesh: Swells

Mission trio, Swells.

Localized Appreesh is our thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com. 

When you grow up around surfers (I didn't), you often hear talk of swells (or so I'm told). The swell conjures dreamy images of magical, mythical, perfectly curled waves and poses struck on glossy retro surfboards with the sunset soft and orangey behind it all. When you hear San Francisco trio, Swells, you might feel the same. 

The relatively new garage rock act may be based in the Mission, but up here (points to brain), the band is forever floating out at Ocean Beach, or likely some warmer coastal region. Check indie love story “Ships Set Sail,” with its bouncy drums, surf guitar riffs, and Strokes-like vocals, or reverby “Lost at Sea” for a peek into that state of mind. 

This week, Swells – made up of vocalist-bassist Ian Bruce, guitarist Diana Salier, drummer Rob Justesen – plays the Hemlock. But first, the band (which, full disclosure, is friendly with recent Localized Appreeshers Magic Fight) took our survey: 


Year and location of origin: October 2011, San Francisco.

Band name origin: Rob suggested Swells and everybody vetoed...then he brought it up again and we forgot that we'd vetoed. I think we were almost called Merchants or Polar Ghost. But Swells was a cool blend of our retro thing and beachiness. 

Band motto: "It's not whatever, but fuck it."  

Description of sound in 10 words or less: Chilled out garage rock with said retro and beachiness.

Instrumentation: Ian "Dad" Bruce - vocals, bass, soccer mom; Diana Salier - guitar player with mystique; Rob Justesen -  just plays drums.

Most recent release: We wrote a Christmas song called "Xmas Lights" and released it back in December. We're planning to record some of our newer tunes this spring. 

 Best part about life as a Bay Area band: Lots of great venues to play in a small area. Also Karl the Fog

Worst part about life as a Bay Area band: Planning a West Coast tour is like doing figure eights across state lines -- whereas Northwest bands can just straight shoot down to LA and back, and vice versa. 

First album ever purchased: Ian -- Tom Petty Greatest Hits; Led Zeppelin II (on the same day); Diana -- Green Day, NimrodRob -- Outkast, Aquemini.

Most recent album purchased/downloaded: Ian -- Mike Hurley, First SongsDiana -- Beach Fossils, Clash the TruthRob-- Local Natives, Hummingbird.

Favorite local eatery and dish: St. Francis! Ian -- hog cakes; Diana -- two egg breakfast+coffee; Rob -- country breakfast.

With Torn ACLs, Sunrunner
Thu/21, 8:30pm, $6
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk, SF




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