Tiaras is talking about how many of their band members will be jumping around and playing in other bands at upcoming festival Deathstock, but it could easily apply to the community of Bay Area slop-pop outfits brewing and consorting together recently. You’ll find them at venues like El Rio or word-of-mouth backyard shows, and you’ll recognize them by the names of Part/Human, Stalls, and The Strange Land.
Tiaras itself is a sort of weirdo-pop supergroup. Lead singer / guitarist / keyboardist Ryan Grubbs and lead guitarist Kyle Hoover were the main forces in Ganglians, while guitarist Adam Finken came from Blasted Canyons and drummer Antonio Gualco from Fine Steps.
Despite the slop-pop labeling, their s/t debut album shimmers with hi(gher)-fidelity quality. Released last year on Sacramento boutique label Mt. St. Mtn., the album’s catchiest tracks include “Anyone and Everyone” and “When You Come Back.”
They’ll be hanging out with The Bay Bridged and playing Phono del Sol on July 11. In anticipation of this, we grabbed the band and chatted with Ryan Grubbs in their SOMA studio space.
TBB: Have you been to Phono del Sol before?
I went a couple years ago
. It was Dominant Legs last show. I was lying on the grass, and it was fun.
TBB: You’re also releasing a cassette version of the debut on Death Records separately from the Mt. St. Mtn. release.
Yeah, Brian [founder of Death Records] is my roommate. I went through the process of setting-up the label with him and the festival he has coming up [Deathstock]. He needs a lot of encouragement, because he’s a Leo. He’s a very functional stoner and very ambitious, and he’s been killing it with this label. There’s a band called Clumsy that we just heard the other day. They’re 16 or 17. We were at Burger Boogaloo last year and they handed me a CD because they knew me from another band. When I got home Brian asked what was in my pocket, and then we listened to it and it was so good. He’s constantly searching for new music.
TBB: Who’s your favorite active San Francisco band?
I saw Strange Land a few times this weekend. I felt like a groupie. I saw them play a backyard show, and then followed them to a show in Oakland. I remember seeing them a year ago and they didn’t have a drummer or a drum machine, and ever since they got a drummer, they’ve been killing it. I’ve seen Thee Oh Sees probably 10x, and I think they can give Thee Oh Sees a run for their money. And then I also like Kyle’s new band Part/Human a lot. Air Surgeon is really good, and Stalls. It’s just fun to see your friends getting better and better, and be constantly blown away by them.
TBB: Are there any new songs that you’ll be playing at Phono del Sol?
Probably all of them! Most of them. We have at least 10 songs in varying degrees of finalization. That first album had been written for a year before we got around to recording it, and then putting it out. Since the record just came out, you still have to play the songs that are on there. If I saw a band and I liked their last record, then I’d be bummed if they didn’t play anything off of their only record.
TBB: You have to placate the fans.
[Laughs] Yeah, exactly.
TBB: I read in an interview you did with Noisey that you thought the Excelsior was way better than the Sunset. You wanna back that up?
I’m very affected – what’s it called when you’re affected by the weather? Seasonal Affective Disorder? I just can’t, I can’t . . .
TBB: You’re SAD?
Yeah, I’m so SAD. I lived in Sacramento for awhile [while in Ganglians] where there’s 80 degree weather, so it makes me really bummed that this is the weather in late spring, early summer. I can’t live in the Sunset, but I like going out there, like to Howard’s Café.
We like the Excelsior because people think it’s so far away, but we’re just a few blocks away from Balboa Park BART, which is a hub for all of these other transit systems. Glen Park’s there too, which has amazing hiking. It’s 15 minutes on a bike to the Mission. It’s quiet, peaceful, our friends all live out there. Remember those race car circles that happened after the Giants won? It gets hyphy. It’s part of the culture.
My body is a wonder bread. Tweet me: @grlsgonevinyl. Words can be found elsewhere at KQED Arts, Bandcamp, Paste Magazine. In another life I was in PR at a record label called Polyvinyl. Deerhoof made me send haikus along with press requests. Now you know everything.