Backseat Beat is a video series highlighting indie musicians and the city by the Bay. Armed with Flip cameras, we interview bands in the back seat of our ‘83 Volvo as we spirit them away to unexpected, forgotten corners of San Francisco, where they plug in outdoors to play a few tunes. Each band’s performance transforms these urban spots from their anonymous day to day existence into surreal, magical backdrops.

If it’s Friday night and you’re facing a quiet evening at home, perhaps playing Farmville while finishing off the cold second half of the burrito you bought for lunch, then The Downer Party would be the perfect soundtrack. The perfect soundtrack, that is, to burn your ears off with hook-laden tales of whiskey-soaked debauchery, and to propel you off your fucking couch and into that loud dive bar you’ve been meaning to go to but haven’t yet because it’s on top of a hill and you only have that stupid fixie.

In addition to having the best band name ever in the history of rock, The Downer Party have been busy recording, playing “an extended tour… of the Bay Area” (including in swank venues like the Academy of Sciences), and plotting to break laws in several other urban areas next year. Elementary school music teacher and resident hellcat Sierra Frost sings, writes the songs and plays guitar, and has done a bang up job surrounding herself with some legitimate rockers (i.e. more than just tattoos and cigarettes – although there are plenty of those to go around).

The band may look like a walking hangover, but August Churchill plays guitar while working more pedals than you have fingers on one hand, Josh Merry holds down the bass while harmonizing with August and Sierra, and Christopher Crawford is not only the band’s lone ginger, nonsmoker, and vegetarian, but he also works up a lather behind his drum kit. The band steamed up the back seat as we drove them to an abandoned Greyhound bus yard, where they played a few tunes off their yet-to-be-released EP, Cities.

Not to damage their reputation, but The Downer Party couldn’t have been sweeter or more polite during the shoot. The songs in episode 4 will be lodged in your head for days (see above). Enjoy — and while you’re at it, take a moment to like Backseat Beat on Facebook, and while you’re there, leave a few kind words for the latest addition to the show, host Jaime Lee Currier.

— Dana Goldberg

The Downer Party​downerpartytime

Backseat Beat

Created by Brad Robertson
Hosted by Jaime Lee Currier
Produced by Dana Goldberg and Brad Robertson