Y La Bamba

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, Palentine’s Day, or are noncommittal about it all, there will always be that perfect song that manages to set your heart aflutter.

Platonic or romantic, here’s a few shows that might set the spark for the type of love you’re looking for this holiday.

Hot Flash Heat Wave @ The Independent, 8pm
Bay Area mainstays Hot Flash Heat Wave released Soaked on Oakland’s OIM Records in late 2017. Their shifting sound delivered their latest psychedelia-tinged single, “Sky So Blue” in early 2019. We’ve covered the band a ton over the years, but it’s well deserved. Each new release finds them deftly delivering their ’60s pop hooks with ease while navigating new territories. This show will be ideal if you need a little toe-tapping after your dinner date.

Rhye  @ August Hall, 9pm (SOLD OUT)

If you’re intoxicated by the soothing, restorative power of love, Rhye bottles up the sentiment and delivers gorgeous, gentle tunes for romance. 2013’s revered album, Woman, quickly brought the group to prominence for their delicately arranged strings, horns, and Michael Milosh’s sensual vocals. Milosh’s androgynous voice recalls Sade, and the band is exquisitely sustained by a down-tempo modern R&B template that is never overcrowded in its production.

Often, songs about heartbreak are the ones that consistently draw us in, but Rhye has the blueprint to guide us into falling in love.

Juan Son, Y La Bamba @ Slim’s
If you’re looking for something left-of-center, look no further than Juan Son and Y La Bamba.

Known for his vocals in Porter, an alternative rock band from Guadalajara, Mexico, Juan Son (Juan Carlos Pereda) ventured into an experimental solo career after the band’s dissolution in 2007. Released in 2009, Mermaid Sashimi garnered a Latin Grammy nomination and more exposure. Fans of Bjork or Sigur Ros will find much to like in Pereda’s peculiar vocals. This is music for rousing contemplation.

Y La Bamba writes music for a better world. Taking a similar experimental cue, the Portland-based band brings bandleader Luz Elena Mendoza’s Mexican and American roots together. Marrying cumbia, mariachi, folk, psychedelia, and indie pop, Y La Bamba are in a world all their own. Their newest record, Mujeres, is a tender, enthralling listen that evokes the likes of Feist and Broadcast while tackling subjects of misogyny, machismo, fraught familial relationships, and self-identity.

“Cuatro Crazy,” a lead single from the record, was written while Mendoza was in San Francisco. “I think it’s beautiful to learn the many ways we can express love,” Mendoza said of the song. “I think a lot on how society speaks on the idea of intimacy and romantic relationships. I think it’s important to be real and open and allow each other to feel what it’s like be held and support one another. These are my honest thoughts while contemplating affection and how we can evolve into a deeper understating of compassion and care.”