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Band Pop Rock


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The best kept secret in music


This band has no press


Read to the End :: August 2004

fourplay EP :: June 2003


Feeling a bit camera shy


Don't be fooled. Female-fronted pop/rock quartet plâ may not seem like a band to be reckoned with at first, with their tongue-in-cheek name and an album with the sheen of today's popular music. And plâ is quite proud to be pop-with songs as honest and passionate as they are undeniably catchy. Described as "Blondie meets modern pop," San Francisco-based plâ (pronounced "play") fuses its guitar rock core with soul, punk, and power pop.

The real sleight-of-hand can be found in plâ's debut album, Read to the End. On first listen, the guitar-driven melodic rock songs will hook you in with what might recall radio-friendly, fun, mainstream music. But beneath the glossy pop exterior lie themes of struggle, disappointment, and heartbreak. "As a band, the four of us share this sort of dichotomy," explains vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Sally Chou, "We're all drawn to the combination of upbeat hooks and quiet introspectiveness. It's a constant marriage of the two throughout album."

In Read to the End, plâ showcases their genre-blending explorations such as the haunting blues of "I Wonder," the sultry, but retro "Making It Real," the funk/pop-anthem "Spaces," and the bare, honest piano ballad "Still." Produced by Buddy "Budz" Saleman, the album took shape around plâ's strong pop-sensibilities and Saleman's progressive and album-oriented rock background. "A lot of it is very raw-especially the vocals," Chou reveals, 'And I resisted it at first, afraid of the exposure and being that vulnerable. But Buddy is amazing at finding truth in a song and showed us how important that is. We swallowed our fears and went for it." Perhaps they took their own advice from the opening rocker track "Let Go."

The release of Read to the End is a followup to plâ's popular self-produced EP, fourplay, from June 2003. Over the past few years, plâ has developed a reputation for packing clubs in San Francisco at venues such as Bottom of the Hill, the Red Devil Lounge, Tongue and Groove, the Curve, BrainWash, Infusion, and the Werepad.

Formed in 2001, plâ features vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Sally Chou, bassist Grace Yang, guitarist Jim Yang, and drummer Rich Yang. Sally's hook-filled songwriting is focused on storytelling in her own way-brash, then demure, then vulnerable-not unlike her fearless vocal delivery. This delivery is supported and strengthened by Jim's tactful guitar lines, Grace's keen sense of groove, and Rich's passion for rock rhythm. plâ was formed when brothers Rich and Jim called upon Sally, a classically trained singer and musician, to form the band. After shaping their sound and getting their stage legs around town, Sally recruited long-time friend and musical partner Grace (no relation to Jim and Rich) to join them on bass. The foursome clicked and have been spreading the pop gospel ever since.