Battlehooch is the kind of band you thought went extinct along with landline phones and cassette tapes. In one sense they’re a band from another, sturdier era: a band that releases consistently quality material on a consistent basis, a band that doesn’t sacrifice creative drive for commercial interest, a band that grows and evolves with each successive release. From the beautiful madcap mess of debut LP Piecechow to the more refined yet still quite surrealistic jams on Hot Lungs to a cool, polished psych-rock sheen on 2014’s Wink EP, Battlehooch has proven itself as a band built to last. They may possess an old-school mindset, but their music is diverse and daring enough to fit perfectly into this wild new century.
Formed in San Francisco – the birthplace of psychedelia – it’s fitting that the six-piece collective echoes the city’s tie-dyed past in its own compositions. However, the group isn’t content with becoming a mere tribute to a time period they never lived through. Instead, Battlehooch updates the sound of psychedelia for a new generation, one that can now access dozens of genres and millions of songs with a few clicks of an iPhone. Battlehooch reflects this modern trend of manic music consumption: on any of their many releases, the listener will be treated to a sonic smorgasbord, bouncing from hard rock to dance-pop to mind-warping head trips to flirtations with electronica and jazz and Afrobeat and everything in between within the span of a few minutes, sometimes even seconds
AJ McKinley | Guitar
Ben Juodvalkis | Synth
Grant Goodrich | Bass
Pat Smith | Vocals
Ryan Huber | Drums
Tom Hurlbut | Winds
Battlehooch @ Cafe Du Nord
An ambitious follow-up to Cave Clove’s eponymous 2016 full-length studio album, Dollars to Tokens (EP, slated for release 5.3.19) demonstrates a potent formula for why vocalist/songwriter Katie Colver and her band are on a fast track emerging as one of the Bay Area’s most compelling new acts. Dollars to Tokens presents five unflinching chronicles of Colver’s own emotional yet often existential triumphs and struggles. Set to psych-rock infused production brimming with electrifying guitars and a West Coast Americana songwriting sensibility, Colver explores what it means to follow one’s most fervent dreams, while addressing all of the risks and sacrifices that such a journey entails. Set aside some time to delve into these anthemic stunners while Colver and Cave Clove dive to the depths of her idiosyncratic psyche.
"This EP is about the dance between self-actualization and self-sabotage," Cave Clove frontwoman Katie Colver says of her band's new five-song release Dollars to Tokens. "A vigorous impulse to experience things as deeply and fully as possible has haunted me for my whole life. I'm quick to throw myself into the fire, push myself right to the edge of my comfort zone, or beyond, with a goal of becoming stronger. These new songs reflect a sense of recklessness and coming to terms with what’s sacred in this life."
Even in the diverse do-it-yourself San Francisco music scene, local psych-rock band Agouti stands out. Singer/songwriter Carmen Caruso built her own instruments. She built her own studio. And, through Agouti, she built her own sound: eclectic and wildly unrestricted, nodding knowingly to generations of psych and 70’s hard rock.
Drawn from a dream Caruso had, new single “Dragons” sees her envisioning being able to fly away from anything, escaping from the turmoil below in a visually-drawn metaphor for anxiety. Upbeat and melodic, Dragons stands out for its syncopated patterns and bare synth interludes, riding a three-and-a-half minute high that carries listeners through with its lighthearted message.
Drawing sounds and ideas from artists ranging from Pink Floyd to Tame Impala, Agouti’s sonic disposition is thick and irregular, breaching walls of synth noise with guitar, catchy lead lines, and rhythmic bass, tied together with Caruso’s light melodies and cathartic vocal stylings.