As organic instruments battle it out—sweetly—with electronic beats and synths, San Francisco’s powerful live act Loquat complicates what seems like happy pop music with bittersweet, sarcastic vocals. It’s as if The Cardigans, Björk, The Sundays and Massive Attack had a dysfunctional family picnic.


Kylee Swenson and Earl Otsuka met in 1996 and began writing music together under the name of an exotic fruit, Loquat. Five years later, bass player Anthony Gordon came along and asked the duo, “Why aren’t you playing live?” To which Otsuka and Swenson just shrugged their shoulders and went back to their guitars. Gordon then recruited childhood friend, drummer Christopher Lautz, and original Loquat keyboardist Ben Kasman to whip the band into shape. After Kasman left, Ryan Manley entered the fray, and the happy quintet now makes stunning pop music while trying—sometimes unsuccessfully—to drink in moderation.

Armed with its organic-meets-electronic guitar pop, Loquat released its first two EPs—The Penny Drop (self released) and Fall (Dreams By Degrees)—in 2002, and various Loquat tracks have found their way to compilations, including Listen.com's Listen Picks Vol. II and Amoeba's Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. IV. In 2003, Devil In The Woods records released Loquat's EP, Before the Momentum, including a cover of The Smiths' "There is a Light That Never Goes Out."

The SF Weekly wrote about the band, "It's the combination of the superb musicians and their significant restraint that makes Loquat so habit forming." And DIW magazine said, “Loquat [is] where electronic and organic sounds meet to make eloquent, gorgeous music.”

The band has shared the stage with The Cardigans and Evan Dando, was voted "Best Pop Group" at the 2003 SF Weekly Music Awards, toured from California to Texas for SXSW, and had its beguiling track “Swingset Chain” featured on The WB’s One Tree Hill.

A month after the U.S. release of the band’s debut full-length album, It’s Yours to Keep (Jackpine Social Club)—released in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Sweden on Dearstereofan records in 2004—Loquat has already reached #85 on the CMJ Radio 200 chart. Additional support has come in the form of regular airplay on SF commercial radio Live 105, and the band was also the Editor’s Pick for the launch day of CNET Music Download.

Backed by the lilting, moody dynamics of her bandmates, Swenson sings in sepia tones, mixing bittersweet nostalgia with sardonic humor through penetrating lyricism. Hauntingly familiar and captivatingly ethereal, It’s Yours to Keep calls to mind the wistfulness of childhood and languid remembrances of friends passed on and out of reach.


The Penny Drop EP (self released, 2002)
Fall EP (Dreams by Degrees, 2002)
Before the Momentum EP (Devil in the Woods)
It's Yours to Keep, import (Dearstereofan, 2004)
It's Yours to Keep, U.S. release (Jackpine Social Club, 2005); #14 CMJ Top 200 Adds, #85 CMJ Radio 200 (to date)

Set List

We normally play an eight-song set (sometimes nine if people are asking), which takes about 35-40 minutes. But for our recent record release party, we played 12 songs, for an hour. Here's one example of a set we'd play:

Time Bomb
Take it Back
Swingset Chain
Slow, Fast, Wait & See
It's Yours to Keep
Change the Station
Serial Mess
To The Floor