Bright Light Fever
With its raw rock sound, Bright Light Fever from Placerville easily recalls the Strokes. Trust Your Ears columnist Jackson Griffith writes, “[Bright Light Fever] can bring the rock, the kind of pharmacologically hyperactive minor-key guitar noise that makes underfed Gotham fashionistas swoon.” Brothers Evan and Matt Ferro, along with bassist Dan Sauve and drummer Robert Torres, currently are recording their debut record, Bright Light Fever Presents: The Evening Owl, due on Stolen Transmission Records in September.
These local sweethearts feature Sammies Hall of Famer Mike Farrell, Sacramento’s (and possibly California’s) best guitarist. Retaining a ’60s-rock sound akin to the Who, the Sonics and the Rolling Stones, this band destroys stages wherever it plays—sometimes literally. The Streaks’ debut LP, Sounds of Violence, received rave reviews and charted many radio stations throughout the United States. As SN&R contributing writer Dennis Yudt surmised, “The only thing that can stop these guys are four well-placed bullets, but whydja want to do that?” Pets
Faith Wolfram, founder of Blue Bell Records, calls Pets “the cutest and most talented rockers in Sacramento right now. They are definitely a band to watch!” Allison Jones and Derek Fieth combine crunchy distorted bass, fuzzed-out reverb, effect-drenched guitars and a ready-to-rock drum machine to create their sound. They have been compared to the Jesus & Mary Chain and Love and Rockets, with a sound SN&R contributing writer Cary Rodda calls, “Great electronic sex-pop!” Rock the Light
Ambitious? Yes. A bit crazy? Perhaps. SN&R contributing writer Christian Kiefer says Rock the Light “has a commitment to absurdity one doesn’t see that often in music. … Rock music has made itself absurd, and the only way to really play is to recognize the ridiculousness of it all, accept it and take that self-knowledge out onstage.” This attitude is even evident in the band’s MySpace blog, where it made this announcement: “We know we’re the best rock band in the whole Union, but thanks, Sammie, for reminding us. Oh yeah, you should throw a bone to that Jackie Greene kid.” Two Sheds
One of Sacramento’s most celebrated bands, Two Sheds features Caitlin Gutenberger, her husband, Johnny, and his Jackpot bandmate Rusty Miller. Clayton Nutting of Concerts4Charity describes Two Sheds as “shoe-gazing, lo-fi, whiskey-sippin’ blues.” SN&R’s Erin Sierchio calls Caitlin’s voice “strongly reminiscent of Chan Marshall of Cat Power, and that could never be considered a bad thing.” Poetic, moving and subtly powerful, Two Sheds is a local force. Witness its new release, Strange Ammunition, on UnderAcloud Records.
Folk/AcousticBe Brave Bold Robot
Who they are: frontman Dean Haakenson on vocals and guitar, bassist Matthew Gerken, drummer Aaron Haakenson and vocalist Raquel “Rocky” Rupple. What they are: “A collection of people who play music in the same room at the same time.” Well, OK, maybe a little more than that. Why they are being described here: the appealing combination of experimental flair and true tunefulness. The palpable sense of “Hey, we’re making good music and what fun it is.” Roberta Chevrette
Luna’s Café proprietor Art Luna calls Roberta Chevrette “a folk singer-songwriter in every sense of the word! Roberta is political, insightful and poetic, executing her songs with style, passion and accomplished guitar work.” Like Ani DiFranco, but with less of the rage and more of a sweetly serious Earth-mom thing going on, Chevrette has a name for what she makes: “fast, fierce, feminist folk music.” And she means business, as in the song “Can You Hear This”: “Yeah sometimes I just feel so powerless / cuz I know my vote doesn’t count for shit / and I wonder what happened to democracy / cuz I know this isn’t it.” Dre
Nowadays, when Dre asks the musical question, “Do You Feel Me?” The answer is, um, heck yeah. As a singer, she’s a natural who knows both how to fill a room and how to command it; her songs come off comfy and sultry all at once. Now fronting the trio Parlour Dames—or, as she would put it, “folkin’ it up” with bassist Jacob Chilton and drummer Brent Wiggans—Dre has entered the rotation of local Fox & Goose favorites, and much-loved Sammie nominees. Justin Farren
Art Luna of Luna’s Café wants you to know that Justin Farren is quite the “charismatic performer” and, in fact, “just an amazing talent as a singer-songwriter.” But come on; you already knew that. Farren seems so winningly open to his own inspiration—explaining one song’s origins, he simply writes, “Fell asleep in a parking lot. Had a dream about transforming into a tadpole.” Likewise, his songs often take the shape of sunny, melodic charmers. They’ve made Farren something of a local golden boy—yet he’s still gracious enough not to be all in-your-face about it. Julie Meyers
Now some of you might be asking, “What’s such a proud purveyor of knife-edged, electrified alt-pop doing in the folk category?” Well, you need to get outside the category walls, as Julie Meyers often does. After all, as she admits on MySpace, “I still own Tiffany’s first record from when I was six years old, and I have a Journey and Boston fetish.” A veteran of varied Sacramento acts—SquishtheBadMan, the Famous Celebrities, the Splints, the Sores—guitarist-singer-songwriter Meyers says she “never wanted to be a solo artist.” Well, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
When he’s not jet-setting between Sacramento and Oxford, England, this singer-songwriter clocks time in the studio—in both countries! This summer, fans will see the release of three Anton Barbeau albums. In June, look for the long-awaited “psychedelic odyssey” In the Village of the Apple Sun. Come July, fans will get a taste of What If It Works?, a collaborative project with Scott Miller of the Loud Family. Finally, if you’ve yet to get your fill of Barbeau, the prolific artist will release Drug Free. Is it possible that Barbeau is trying to take over the world one album at a time? We can only hope. Knock Knock
“This unassuming pop band has some of the best songs I’ve heard,” writer Cary Rodda observed of local pop outfit Knock Knock. The band—which consists of Allen Maxwell, Heather Conway, Mike Cinciripino and Nicola Miller—will return to the studio this summer to record the follow-up to its debut, Warm Fronts, Cold Shoulders, which consists of 12 head-bopping, toe-tapping, feel-good pop songs. We’ve heard they’ve got a lot of new material; here’s hoping it’s comparable to the pop perfection that blew our way last year. Didley Squat
Picking up two Sammies (Outstanding Pop Band and Keyboardist) at last year’s event, these grandkids of the Sacramento music scene—did we mention the median age of the group is 20?—are back for another go at the coveted pop award. With two albums already under its collective belt, the pop quartet is already back in the studio doing preproduction on a third yet-to-be-titled album. We can’t wait to see what Didley Squat comes up with this time. Adrian Bourgeois
It’s official! Adrian Bourgeois has graduated from the Jammies, nabbing his first Sammies nomination, thanks in part to his many adoring fans, including Trust Your Ears columnist Jackson Griffith, who described Bourgeois’ songs as “among the finest post-Beatles pop tunes [he’s] ever heard.” Another local music legend in his court is Kevin Seconds, who had this to say about Bourgeois: “He’s so good and writes some pretty kick-ass pop songs, and I’m not talking about current bullshit radio-pop stuff but more like the Beatles, Beach Boys-type stuff that came out of the ’60s and ’70s. Really awesome stuff.” Daisy Spot
Formed in 1992 by then-sweethearts Mike Farrell (guitar) and Tatiana LaTour (vocals), Daisy Spot took a hiatus during which Farrell went through a dark period of self-destruction and subsequent rehabilitation. When the two decided to collaborate again, they asked bassist Brian LaTour (Tatiana’s hubby) and drummer Alex Jenkins to come on board. The quartet released a self-titled debut album, which was well-received by fans, including SN&R contributing writer Keith Lowell Jensen, who called it “an eclectic mix of decidedly noncontemporary sounds.”