Noise Pop 2022: Five Bay Area bands you can’t miss

By Lydia Svyatoslavsky

Bay City News Foundation

Since its creation in 1993, Noise Pop has defended independent musicians of all persuasions.

The annual Noise Pop music and arts festival, once a single night at The Independent (then The Kennel Club), has since become a Bay Area mainstay, featuring an eclectic variety of established artists and promising. Previous headliners include well-known names like the White Stripes, Modest Mouse, Best Coast, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, Television and the Flaming Lips.

After a COVID-related hiatus in 2021, the Noise Pop Festival is back. From February 21-27, featured bands and artists will span venues in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.

Festival-goers can choose to purchase tickets for individual shows or purchase festival badges for full access to all general admission concerts, happy hours, and festival-related activities.

This year’s festival lineup includes King Woman, Alex G, Moor Mother and The Microphones, to name a few. To acquaint you with a wider range of Noise Pop artists, here are five local favorites you shouldn’t overlook this year.

DOUBLE BODY

The Oakland band, fronted by vocalist Candace Lazarou, can be found on Bandcamp at bodydoubleusa.bandcamp.com.

What excites you most about performing at Noise Pop Fest this year?

Candace Lazarou: I want to see what other people are doing! In my last band, I was too upset to really appreciate what my community was doing – I never listened to new music, took naps during other people’s sets, and mostly complained that no one was writing good songs. pop. But that was stupid – my teenage self would have killed for my life. There were shows every day, all my friends were crazy multidisciplinary artists and everyone was happy to help me make musical projects happen. But just when I was ready to debut my new positive mental attitude, COVID told me to stay home. So I’m ready to spend all my pent up excitement seeing new things and making new friends. Hopefully Body Double’s performance will entertain someone as well.

Are there any artists you are particularly looking forward to sharing a festival poster with?

Lazarou: I’ve never seen King Woman before, but judging by the music videos the lead singer is probably a frontman, which is my favorite. Also, Hand Habits seems like my kind of weirdo.

What can festival-goers expect from your set?

Lazarou: 25 tight minutes, and no one in the band speaks between songs. The songs are catchy, but they can provoke. There is the guitar. And I’ll probably look you straight in the eye — don’t be scared!

MARY B.C.

The San Francisco solo act can be found on Bandcamp at mariabc.bandcamp.com.

What prompted you to pursue music over the past two years? What motivates you ?

maria bc: Every time I write or record something I’m proud of, it feels like the last time. I’m sure I’ll get dizzy with music, one day I’ll wake up and have all the noise out of my system. So there’s this urge to test myself, which is stressful but also exhilarating, because then, even though each new song feels like the last, it’s just as shocking as the first. I’ve heard a lot of songwriters say something to that effect.

What is it about your sound and artistry that makes you an interesting addition to the Noise Pop Fest lineup?

maria bc: I think my voice stands out for some people. A friend once told me after a show that I sounded like I was whispering and singing at the same time. I was really moved by that. I work to create unique textures with my voice.

Are there any artists in the lineup that you would be particularly excited to meet?

maria bc: Arooj Aftab! Luckily for me, I’m opening for her, so I might have a chance. “Vulture Prince” is such an enlightening record. He has been a guiding star throughout this year, for me and for so many others.

What’s next for you, creatively? Current projects?

maria bc: I have a full album coming out in 2022.

SOUR WINDOWS

The Oakland band, consisting of Maia Sinaiko, Susanna Thomson and Max Edelman, can be found online at www.sourwidows.com.

Maia Sinaiko: I think as a band we represent a wide variety of influences – from shoegaze, to americana, to folk, to math rock, to psych rock, to grunge, the list goes on. We’re not easily categorized, which means we’re a versatile and exciting group that brings together various elements of Bay Area music.

Are there any artists you are particularly looking forward to sharing a festival poster with?

Acid Widows: The lineup is so amazing this year! Obviously Titus Andronicus. Alex G, Ian Sweet, BNNY, Hand Habits, Moor Mother are all important to us. We also love local artists Fake Fruit, Boy Scouts (Taylor [Vick] plays what will surely be a magnificent solo set), Provoker, Lara Sarkissian. There’s a ton more!

What can festival-goers expect from your set?

Sinaiko: Lots of smiles, intensity and concentration, intimate moments punctuated by wacky jokes.

MY HEART, AN INVERTED FLAME

San Francisco duo Marc Kate and Andee Connors can be found online at myheartaninvertedflame.com.

What excites you most about performing at Noise Pop Fest this year?

My Heart, an Inverted Flame: Although we formed a band years ago, we are just testing our mettle live. And the fact that almost every band we’ve been in has played Noise Pop over the years makes it very special that our new project is making its debut there. Overall, it’s a really fun festival, very diverse sonically and run by great people. But perhaps more than anything, we take particular pride in adding serious red tape to the process.

Are there any artists you are particularly looking forward to sharing a festival poster with?

My Heart, an Inverted Flame: Our debut is a Zum label showcase, where we’ll be sharing the bill with label mates The Acharis and Body Double, which already puts us in great company.

As for other artists, we’re especially excited to see King Woman (there’s an MHAIF collaboration in the works with the KW guitarist) and William Basinski, who we both love.

What can festival-goers expect from your set?

My Heart, an Inverted Flame: Extreme volume. Tempo slows down. Soul crushing synths. Thundering drums. Sinister atmospheres. Nice crush. Slow and sickly devastation.

THE ACHARIS

The Oakland band, fronted by Shaun Wagner and Mila Puccini, can be found on Bandcamp at theacharis.bandcamp.com.

What was the driving force behind “Blue Sky/Grey Heaven”? What made you want to record this album?

Shaun Wagner: This album has been in the works since 2017. Four very dark years for us living in Oakland, dealing with death, depression, addiction, betrayal and tragedy but also love, inspiration and hope. We wanted to create something timeless that truly represents who we are without following any trends or genres. We had the opportunity to work with John Fryer from This Mortal Coil, which was a dream come true. Ever since I heard “Song to the Siren” in David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. I dreamed of somehow approaching this world it was created in, never thinking it would actually happen. The result is a darker, more polished sound than our first album, “Lost in the Vortex”.

What is it about your sound and artistry that makes you an interesting addition to the Noise Pop lineup?

Wagner: We don’t play local shows very often. We only make one album every five years. We take this seriously as emotional artistic expression. We’re not really a party band or a live band or a hip band. Sometimes it’s perfect and beautiful, and sometimes it’s a violent disaster. You never know what you are going to get.

What can festival-goers expect from your set?

Wagner: We are excited to be playing shows with our new full band after spending five years playing with just the two of us on stage. Janice Arteaga (Silver Shadows) joins us on drums and Adrian Saenz (Daisy World, Flower Pattern) plays second guitar. We’ve just toured France and the UK with this band, and we think our live sound is now on par with the recordings. Also, I like the Sonic Youth aesthetic of the four piece band with a wild/interesting guitar noise. It really feels like a band now.

What’s next for you, creatively? Current projects?

Wagner: We are both more and more interested in alternative media rather than rock’n’roll. We shot a music video for the song “Traces” in the Lake Tahoe area earlier this year that Mila directed. This is by far the largest and most cinematic production we have done so far. Once edited, it will be released in 2022. There is also another video made by Denis Barclay from Cranes Records (our European label) in Paris for the song “Soft Inside”, which he shot in Morocco. It’s really nice, almost more of a work of art than a music video. We also just bought a house in Detroit, Michigan. Maybe we’ll do another album, or maybe we’ll just become DJs playing Detroit techno. Who knows, really?

IF YOU ARE GOING TO

Titus Andronicus and Acid Widows: 8 p.m. Feb. 21, Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., SF. Tickets: $27. https://bit.ly/3njKpwO.

Double body, My heart, an inverted flame and The Acari: 8 p.m. Feb. 22, Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF Tickets: $13-$15. stubmatic.com/bottomofthehill/event/10359.

Arooj Aftab, Uri and maria bc: 8 p.m. Feb. 22 at Gray Area, 2665 Mission St., SF Tickets: $35. eventbrite.com/e/arooj-aftab-tickets-204229765727.

All three shows require proof of full vaccination. Masks should be worn indoors when not eating or drinking.

Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival: February 21-27. See the full schedule and find festival badges, $179-$399, and individual tickets, $13-$35, at noisepopfest.com.