Australian indie-pop band set to play in Columbus
By Justin Kreitzer
Australian indie-pop band San Cisco just released their self-titled debut album on July 16 via RCA Records in the United States. It was released by Fat Possum Records in Australia last year to great praise from both critics and fans alike. The young four-piece band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Jordi Davieson along with Josh Biondillo on guitar, keyboards and vocals, and the tight-yet-spastic rhythm section of bassist Nick Gardner and drummer/vocalist Scarlett Stevens. Their strange name doesn’t reference the city or anything else for that matter, giving the band a blank slate. Together they create a youthfully jubilant, pop-leaning brand of jangly indie rock that is packed to the brim with infectious, sunny melodies that are spray-painted with colorful synths and danceable rhythms.
The album opens with the rumbling ‘80s-inspired synth bass, glittering keys and soaring chorus of “Beach” and is followed by the standout single, “Fred Astaire” which is just as catchy as the man himself cutting a rug. Also included are beefed-up recordings of previously released singles; the stalker-baiting “Awkward” – with its cowbell-infused rhythm and deliriously catchy sing-along chorus – and the folkier “Rocket Ship” – with its shuffling beat and big, piano chords, handclaps and even bigger, rafter-reaching chorus. New song, “Hunter” really plays up their comparison to Vampire Weekend with Davieson’s sun-soaked vocals recalling Ezra Koenig’s distinct voice, yet without coming off as a copycat. “Wild Things” is highlighted by a rubbery rhythm as some psychedelic synths wash over the fun vocal melodies for another standout moment. The anthemic “No Friends” is a revved-up punk number complete with a choppy rhythm and a short guitar solo just for the heck of it.
One of the album’s greatest surprises comes in the form of the warped, Muppets-like doo-wop vocals and pounding piano of “Lyall.” Slowing down a little bit is “Metaphors,” with its elastic guitar lines and infectious vocal harmonies. The post-punk-inspired electro-pop of “Mission Failed” shows off their impressively diverse range with its cosmic synth blasts and brooding beat. Jordi lets loose with his unhinged vocal histrionics on the upbeat “Stella,” which also features some more crazed and cartoonish background vocals that are way more fun than they are annoying. Closing out the 13-track album are “Nepal” with its thumping beat, synths and emotionally-charged vocals, and the short instrumental “Outro,” which sounds like elevator muzak beamed from outer space.
In support of their excellent new album, San Cisco is currently out on their first headlining tour of the United States and will make a stop at The Basement in Columbus July 26 with special guest, Small Pools. Bassist Nick Gardner gave the Dayton City Paper a quick interview and spoke about their first headlining tour, their favorite songs to play live and their diverse influences.
How did San Cisco form?
We all made friends in school, had similar interests and eventually started jamming. – Nick Gardner
In reviews, you have been compared to many great bands like Vampire Weekend or a sunnier version of The Strokes. But who and/or what do you say are your influences?
Individually, we all have quite different influences. I’m a big fan of soul music [and] Jordi is really keen on rap. But we all share an interest in a lot of music. However our influences come and go pretty quickly. There’s so much music coming out from everywhere, it’s exciting to keep up. – NG
After releasing two EPs to great praise, your highly-anticipated debut album was finally released here in the United States. How does that feel?
It feels great. It seems like so long ago we released the album in Australia, so it’s good to get it out everywhere. – NG
My favorite song on the album is the super-upbeat “No Friends,” and it seems like it would be a blast to play live. What is your favorite song to play live and why?
Yeah, either “Stella” or “No Friends.” The faster ones are more fun. – NG
You have toured the U.S. three times previously, but this is your first headlining tour of the States. How has it been different this time around?
It’s great. I think there will be a few tougher gigs in places we’ve never been before. But overall, I think everyone’s really excited! – NG
What have you been listening to in the tour van?
[It] depends [on] who has control. I’d be playing Charles Bradley’s latest record or Mac DeMarco or something. – NG
What can we expect from your live show?
A small amount of dancing and hopefully a pretty solid party. – NG
San Cisco will play Friday, July 26 at The Basement, 391 Neil Ave. in Columbus. Also on the bill is Small Pools. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $12. For more information visit sancisco.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.