Best of the Bay 2011: BEST DARKWAVE EMBRACE

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"Dark is the new light!" raves one online fan of San Francisco bleak-star rockers the Soft Moon. Outfit leader Luis Vasquez does double duty on conga and synth in Oakland-SF band, the Lumerians, weaving a sparkling, seething thread of exotica into that combo's tropi-psych mind-meld. But the Soft Moon is where Vasquez chooses to tread darkly, venturing into an extremely chilled, vaguely menacing, yet exquisitely goth-derived and highly synthesized future. Rest assured, the way comes black-iced with '80s-era shivers and intimations of Krautrock. Armed live with driving beats, bat cave echoes, and stabbing black-and-white visuals, Vasquez and Co. are the Bay's prime entries in the "darkwave" wave that's been sweeping underground dance floors. The Soft Moon released its self-titled debut on Captured Tracks in 2010. Next stop — your shattered earbuds.

www.myspace.com/thesoftmoon