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Fri August 23, 2019

The Soft White Sixties, King Dream

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The Soft White SixtiesAlta California, the new bilingual album by The Soft White Sixties, finds the Los Angeles 5-piece expanding upon their contemporary concoction of rock 'n' roll and soul while also exploring some of their most relevant lyrical content to date (in both English and Spanish).

Produced by Elijah Thomson (Father John Misty, Delta Spirit, Richard Swift), Alta California was written and recorded at New Monkey Studio, a room formerly owned by Elliott Smith, over the course of several sessions that began on Election Night 2016. Lead singer Octavio Genera -- a first generation Mexican-American who grew up in a bilingual Spanish/English family - always wondered what it would be like to sing in Spanish, it just didn't occur to him to try it professionally, and he wasn't sure there was space for it within the band. "Speaking and singing in a language are two different things," says Genera. "There was a feeling of joy and passion when I sang these songs in Spanish that I wasn't expecting. And then hearing the songs back -- it was right."

The sweaty, gyrating energy of their live show has garnered praise from Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, and LA Weekly over the years and landed them on club and festival bills like Outside Lands, BottleRock, and SXSW, sharing the stage with the likes of The Hives, Eagles of Death Metal, The Flaming Lips, and Paul McCartney. But this time around, it all glimmers with a subtle lysergic sheen, thanks in part to Thomson's influence. "Eli was a big proponent of making the studio feel like 2am on a Saturday night at all hours of the day," multi-instrumentalist Aaron Eisenberg explains. "Certain songs called for certain states of mind and sobriety generally didn't factor into the equation."

The band felt it would be irresponsible to develop lyrical content that ignored the inescapable global climate developing literally while the tape was rolling. New territory was explored, as observations on the despair of the American Dream ('Reaganomixxx'), immigration ('Brick by Brick'), gentrification ('I Still Love You, San Francisco'), paradigm shifts ('Teen Wolves'), generational and ideological gaps and what happens when one generation begins to the feel the inevitable changing of the guard crept its way onto the record.

Packed with deep, thunderous grooves from the rhythm section of Joey Bustos and Ryan Noble, squealing fuzz guitars and roaring analog synths courtesy of multi-instrumentalists Aaron Eisenberg and Rob Fidel, and the signature soulful rasp of lead vocalist Octavio Genera, Alta California is an honest snapshot of a modern rock band in their prime.King DreamKing Dream is an indie psych-rock project from Bay Area songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Lyon. With a soulful voice, roots planted in the golden era of California psychedelia, and a wry energy that places him firmly in the 21st century, Lyon charts a path through timeless themes: disillusionment with oneself, with adulthood, with one's country -- and the discovery, time and again, that somehow there's still plenty worthy of a love song.

Lyon, a Bay Area native, previously co-founded the folk-rock band Tumbleweed Wanderers, who toured the country for five years before disbanding in 2016. Inspired by songwriters like Jim James, Jonathan Wilson and Blake Mills, Lyon spent the next two years questioning and reinventing himself -- and, thanks to his vocal ability and versatility, soon became one of the most in-demand sidemen in the Bay. Playing with different bands, he picked up a few things: new instruments and arrangement techniques; a love of darker textures and moody, atmospheric sounds on electric guitar. And then an invaluable collaborator- producer: Lyon credits Graham Patzner of Whiskerman with helping to shape and carry the new project from idea to reality.

King Dream's self-titled debut, out now, 2018, is a reemergence of sorts. It's also a good record for a long drive along the coast. It's about places, relationships and empires crumbling, and the possibilities that announce themselves when the dust has cleared -- when you find yourself alone for the first time in a long while, and you open your mouth and see what comes out.

- Emma Silvers

King Dream blends anthemic and cosmic, bombastic and subdued, with reckless abandon and finesse.
The Soft White SixtiesAlta California, the new bilingual album by The Soft White Sixties, finds the Los Angeles 5-piece expanding upon their contemporary concoction of rock 'n' roll and soul while also exploring some of their most relevant lyrical content to date (in both English...
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628 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

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