Gig Seeker Pro


San Francisco, California, United States

San Francisco, California, United States
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""Fun to listen to ... sticks in your head all day long.""

"Fun to listen to ... sticks in your head all day long." - Dallas Observer

""Young, energetic and thirsty to unleash their unique pop on audiences in need of some musical redemption...""

This Saturday sounds enticing at Jose's, where there will be a whole lot of fun, plus eight, as San Francisco's promising octet, Photons, plays new jams from their upcoming EP Glory!

Having been described as "downright enchanting guitar pop," and "lushly orchestrated" by Bay Area news sources, the group uses a wide variety of methods to assert their presence as a true rock variety show. Instruments like the clarinet, bassoon, and glockenspiel accompany more traditional guitar, bass, keys and percussion and vocals.

As they head into Monterey, it is clear that this group is young, energetic and thirsty to unleash their unique pop on audiences in need of some musical redemption. - Monterey County Weekly

""All that is good about the San Francisco music scene...""

Too often I find myself at a club watching just another “hipster” band. You know you’ve seen them: all the females wearing “unique” clothing, doing their best Jenny Lewis impression, trying to look cute and intellectual at the same time, while the male members try and feign some onstage romantic drama between members with a really, really serious gaze on their face, being the doppelganger of Ben Gibbard. The worst part is that they’re usually just not that good, putting more emphasis on a look, or trying to fit into a scene, than the music itself.

Although Photons have massive “hipster” appeal, they don’t fall into any of the traps that other, similarly (but failing) styled bands so often do. Photons offer all that is good about the San Francisco music scene. They have eight members (male and female), they have dedication, they have style, and they have a knack for finding a unique melody in their sound. They offer a unique instrumentation (including bassoon, clarinet, and glockenspiel in addition to guitars, bass, keys and drums) and an impassioned style that sets them apart from the imitators we’re so used to seeing.

The new EP “Glory” starts off with a lyric “we think you’ll love us, we think you’ll love us,” but it contains not a single trace of pretention or ego. They plead this line more than they declare it. There is obviously a confidence that stems from their pop sensibilities and superior performance ability, but they never cross the line of taking themselves too seriously. The rhythm section creates a driving, syncopated beat that wraps the listener in the groove, and allows the catchy melody to really take off and offer an emotive glory (no pun intended) that leaves you wanting more from the new EP “Glory!” that is just too short. You will want to hear more from this band. Perhaps this was their intent: whet the appetites of listeners, leave them wanting more.

Photons are adept at using their influences subtly enough to create their own sound while alluding too other great artists such as David Bowie, Modest Mouse, Mazzy Star, Belle and Sebastian, The Strokes, and pre “Crane Wife” sounds of The Decembrists. That they can take this varied array of influences and create an individual sound speaks volumes to the power of having eight members, each with the ability to bring their own little niche to the table. Their new EP "Glory!" comes out June 23rd.

Photons: I think you’ll love them, I think you’ll love them.

(May 7, 2009) - San Francisco Examiner

""Entrancing ... a depth of talent and songwriting that most bands never develop...""

Photons have got some serious talent, if Glory! EP is any indication. Even with only four songs, the album displays a depth of talent and songwriting that most bands never develop, and this is just their first effort. Their sound is entrancing, mixing dream-like instrumentals with punchy hits and wailing lyrics.

“Waves and Gamma Rays” starts off Glory! EP. The instrumentation isn’t that of your typical rock band; specifically, they don’t use any bass guitar. Paired with lots of color instrumentation, the Photons produce a very light-hearted, cheery sound. Though short, “Waves and Gamma Rays” is a fun little number, and piqued my curiosity for the remainder of the EP. In comparison to other bands, I drew a fairly strong correlation to The Polyphonic Spree’s sound, though lead vocals sound more like they’re from The Decemberists or Gogol Bordello.

The title track “Glory!” opens with rock and wailing lyrics that really come into their own, sounding plaintive and passionate. So far as I can tell, there wasn’t any post-processing done on the recording of this album, lending it something of a garage-rock sound. It isn’t what I was expecting, but the raw feel of the vocals and lack of bass are really working well here. Near the end of the track, backup vocals come in and really complete the song.

“Where Were You Last Night” brings in some of the most fascinating instrumentation of the album. It starts with some fun percussion - marimba, or maybe xylophone? Something like that. In an unexpected turn, bassoon enters at around forty-five seconds, and it works surprisingly well for them. It’s really making their sound unique and a pleasure to hear. The more I listen to Glory! EP, the more I’m getting a feel for the characteristic sounds of the Photons. You can expect those emotional vocals from their front man, periodic backup vocals, an unfinished and slightly raw sound, and unique instrumentation.

The album closes with “Witness Protection,” and gets back to the light-hearted feel it opened with, which seems to be an over-arching theme. The song features dual male and female lead vocals, as well as a backup ensemble. The tone and energy level wind down from the previous two songs, but still comes across as very fun, and very much reminiscent of The Polyphonic Spree. Really, I can’t wait to hear a full-length album from these guys, and I somewhat selfishly hope I get to review it. Do yourself a favor and give these guys a listen.

(April 27, 2009) - Independent Clauses

""A top 10 band to watch in 2009...""

San Francisco's eight piece Photons are presenting themselves to the world in little slivers of lushly orchestrated, highly infectious pop rock. The first phase of this unveiling occurred in 2008, with their impressive six song self-titled debut EP, Photons.

June 23, 2009 will find them doling out yet more tasty morsels. A 4 song EP, Glory! contains two fantastic beefy tracks ("Glory!" and "Where Were You Last Night") sandwiched between two delightful little appetizers that run under two minutes ("Waves and Gamma Rays" and "Witness Protection").

If this strategy is designed to leave me wanting more, I am finding it highly effective.

Photons feel like an amalgam of The Strokes, The Walkmen, Arcade Fire and Yeasayer. (I see I now have your attention!) This derivation, however, never feels like a re-tread. These are highly original songs, made stronger by the sheer, passionate force of numbers -- 8! -- and the delightful use of tinkling woodwind instruments. (Could "More Bassoon!" be the new Cowbell?)

A top 10 band to watch in 2009.

(May 11, 2009) - The MusicFile

""Sprawling indie chamber pop...""

Eight people in this band. Eight! This jolly collective from San Francisco plays sprawling (better be sprawling with a crew of 8) indie chamber-pop that sounds like a more rocking version of I'm From Barcelona (side note: where did that band run off to?). Dang (we'd say the other harder word for "dang," but Photons doesn't seem to be a band you curse around) there are a lot of instruments played here: glockenspiels, keys, bassoon, clarinet, lots of percussion, and of course bass, guitars and drums.

Now to us, big rock bands like this often just end up sounding like carnival music. And that's fine, but we're not particularly partial to the music played at carnivals (we guess the Tilt 'a Whirl theme is kinda cool). Thankfully, Photons doesn't sound like a carnival - you heard it here first.

Nope, Photons just sound like THE ROCK, but with some secret weapons in their arsenal (though glockenspiels aren't too secret anymore, are they?). Lead singer James Parrish has a pretty great voice, too. So that always helps. Anyway check these four dudes and four ladies out. Whew!

(May 28, 2009) - Oh My Rockness

""One of 2009's worthiest contenders for best new band...""

There is nothing better to brighten your day than some charming pop heavy rock! San Fanciscos Photons have the formula down to pact. With their delightful six song EP the band has proven to be one of 2009s worthiest contenders for best new bands. Songs like “This Must Be Love” (absolutely a must listen) and “What Do You Want From Me” jump out of your speakers with all of their passion and energy. The rest of the EP is a showcasing of this bands talents. Strong and distinct vocals, clean guitars, delicious synth’s. Every instrument (many of them at that) are used to their finest ability. The band has a lot of talent and it really shows with their well mannered sound. It is uplifting, charming, happy, and colorful. They have all the goods to be a successful pop happy band.

With this EP Photons have satisfied my pop needs completely. Keep an eye out! - We All Want Someone To Shout For


Luxury Wafers Live (2009)
Glory! EP (2009)
Photons EP (2008)

RADIO: WOXY/Pampelmoose New Music Hour, KZSU Best of the Bay, WNYU, WMBR, WLPW, WRGR, Pirate Cat Radio, RNE (Spain), RDU (New Zealand)

WEB RADIO/PODCASTS/OTHER: Indie 103.1, Insomnia Radio, (France), Wave Radio (Greece), The Bay Bridged, Oh My Rockness Radio, Shifted Sound, Under The Radar Magazine CD Sampler



Tapped as a band to watch by a growing number of critics and bloggers, San Francisco 8-piece Photons has swiftly won over new fans with a lush and energetic brand of indie pop that features bassoon, clarinet, glockenspiel and a full chest of bizarre instruments such as electro-harp and the Indian banjo.

When Photons formed in spring 2008, the original intention was simply to give bandmates a chance to play a secondary instruments. (Bandleader Calvin Liu switched from bass to drums, for example, but has since returned to bass.) Soon realizing the potential for a band with so many members and multi-instrumentalists, Photons began to craft its songs using complex orchestrations and heavy vocal interplay.

After months of fine-tuning the balance between all 8 members, Photons played its first shows in August 2008. It quickly followed up with its eponymous debut EP in October 2008 -- a release that would put Photons on countless band watchlists worldwide. Photons more recently released its sophomore Glory! EP in June 2009, followed by a number of West Coast tour dates. The band is now recording a full-length album.