La Sera at the Rickshaw Stop, by Jon Ching
La Sera (photo: Jon Ching)

La Sera‘s Music For Listening To Music To arrives next week, but Wednesday night’s show at the Rickshaw Stop was the group’s de facto record release party, debuting songs from the new album in a stellar set. If it was no longer fair to call La Sera “bedroom pop” or “surf pop” by 2014’s Hour of the Dawn, the duo’s new album makes the point doubly clear. They are now wholly a rock and roll band, seamlessly incorporating elements of punk, twang, and pop as each song requires.

Even more notably, La Sera is now officialy a two-person project, with Katy Goodman joined by Todd Wisenbaker, who had produced the band’s previous record, but now shares songwriting and singing responsibilities. The couple’s chemistry is undeniable, and their enthusiasm on Wednesday night was infectious. Unlike a lot of bands releasing record number four, it feels like La Sera is now in its best incarnation yet, and I’m excited to further digest the new album and watch where they head next.

Between their name and the bio on their Bandcamp page (“Two dudes who love pizza, music, movies and each other.”), I was reflexively skeptical of Reno-based Surf Curse, half-expecting a set of by-the-numbers surfer fuzz. Instead, guitarist Jacob Rubeck and drummer Nicholas Rattigan bashed their way through a really fun set of songs. The band was a blunt garage-pop instrument of the best kind. Most optimally experienced up close and extremely loud, they are the sort of band that must kill at house parties. Just as I’d come to terms with how wrong my expectations had been, the guys announced that the show was to be Surf Curse’s last for the near future — Rubeck is apparently moving to Chicago soon. But both guys appear to have ongoing solo projects, which I’ll approach with higher enthusiasm moving forward.

Burning Curtains is a name I hope to see a lot more of this year. The SF/Oakland-based band includes Tyson Vogel (Two Gallants, Devotionals), Andrew Kerwin (Trainwreck Riders), Stephen Oriolo (Yogurt Brain), and Scott Rideout. As all those parentheses should suggest, there’s a shit ton of talent involved here. Absent much in the way of recorded material — they have a 7″ currently out and an album on the way — it’s a little tough to pin down the band’s sound. On Wednesday night, the group bounced between laconic country-rock, melodic beach-pop, and harder rock and roll with an impressive ease. Keep an eye out for these guys.