Social Studies
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Social Studies

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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Pacific Noise Social Studies Record Review"

On Social Studies' all-too-short debut EP, this funky foursome humanizes the electro-clash keyboards and vocals of Ladytron and mixes it with the dark exuberance of Arcade Fire. Natalia's bouncy vocals, often accompanied by the enthusiastic chants and shouts of bandmates, are the most central element to Social Studies' sound. But the funky Casio-tone keyboards and surf-rock arpeggios of their bass play a prominent role in keeping this album on bi-hourly iTunes repeat. Befitting their studious name, their lyrics are often rooted in academia, from the folky and stripped-down "Cardioid", a break-up song told entirely through math-speak to their name-dropping "Theme Song", a series of shout-outs to the great figures of high school text books. If social studies had always been this much fun, I'm sure we'd all be history majors.

The ink isn't yet dry on this band's achievements. Someone you know has their brand new album on their wish list. Click on the album cover below to buy their cd right from them via paypal:
- Pacific Noise

"Saturday Morning CD Spotlight"

"This Is The World's Biggest Hammer", the debut EP from Bay Area band Social Studies, is filled with post-dance-punk gems that snake though interestingly odd arrangements, and stick like gum to your subconscious. Clash-y guitars flirt with bloopy keyboards on most songs, while main vocalist Natalia's sing/speak voice struts through like the Waitresses' Patty Donahue and her bandmates accent with shouts and chants. Standout track "Casanova Part I and II" somehow shuffles from salsa to a disco boogie fight-song without missing a step, before "Cardioid" splits the cd in two as a plucky ukelele ditty about the mathematics of love. "...Hammer"'s 8 tracks probably could have been shaved down to 6 for a more immediate impact, but it must be hard to maintain self-control when you've found a sound this ripe.

Social Studies will top-off a great local line up on November 30th at the Rickshaw Stop, opening for Music for Animals and Finest Dearest.
- The Deli Magazine

"Social Studies EP This is the World's Biggest Hammer"

While SF was once a hotbed for melodic, infectious indie-pop it's been a little while since a new SF band knocked our socks off with that style. Thankfully Social Studies have come to the rescue filling our sweet tooth with a terrific debut of keyboard driven, totally peppy and addictive sassy tunes. Bringing to mind the best moments of groups like Mates of State, Call & Response, Smoosh, Aislers Set and Finland's TV-Resistori. We love how the songs are fun yet not fluffy, familiar yet fresh, sincere and not whiny. Makes some of us wish we had cars, as this would be so fun to listen to blasting in the car stereo while driving really fast with no particular place to go. Such a great pop record! - Aquarius Records

"Social Studies "This is the World's Biggest Hammer""

On their debut EP, This Is the World's Biggest Hammer, San Francisco's Social Studies excel in ardent electropunk and get high marks for their cheerful blend of Casiotone-charged melodies and stripped-down tempos. Rivaling Young Marble Giants and a Legend of Zelda soundtrack with their catchy retrofuturism, the quartet knows how to rock a dance floor by playfully weaving a nostalgic arcade hook between flushed bursts of guitar and disco drums.
The bubbly intro that chimes in and out on "Casanova Part I and II," for instance, sounds as if the band plugged an eight-bit Nintendo into an amplifier.
Vocalist-keyboardist Natalia Rogovin's sassy bark is one part Deborah Harry and another Georgia Hubley — her knack for shifting from aggro-tuned temptress to elegant-sounding crooner provides an essential balance to the songs' mutable rhythms. On the ukulele-cooked ballad "Cardioid" she mimes the latter while rolling out some clever math speak: "We divided by a factor of an integer dependent on the order of a cardioid, the sign of which is negative." But don't close the book on these musical geeks just yet — thanks to their infectious sound, they'll likely be graduating to pop stardom in no time. - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Social Studies at Bottom of the Hill"

No, not the class.  Though I was always very good in the course that would later be called "History".  The band Social Studies took the stage on Wednesday at the Bottom of the Hill, riding a wave of relative hype in the local music scene.  The Bay Area quartet does buy into some well worn trends in independent music (the casio keyboard, the shards of guitar), but they are also extremely talented and relentlessly inventive songwriters.  Whether it's trumpet accompaniment or four-part chant-like harmony, the band's songs often go in unexpected, and wonderful directions.  The opening act on a three band bill with Brooklyn's The Damnwells and Maryland's Army of Me, Social Studies definitely finished their set with more fans than when they began.  The band is currently putting the final touches on their very first release, titled "This Is The World's Biggest Hammer" according to their myspace, which will be released within the next two months.  They are also the subject of the one of the Deli SF's Q&A's which we'll be posting soon.   For now, you can check out the band's myspace page, linked above, for some great mp3's to get you through.  - The Deli Magazine

"Class is in Session"

Sometimes songs are like jokes: They lose their power when you try to explain them. That's why I'm hesitant to ask Natalia Rogovin, keyboardist and main singer for local quartet Social Studies, about the meaning behind her words. But I have to. Because I've been listening to the group's debut EP, This Is the World's Biggest Hammer (out late last year on Homeroom Records), incessantly for weeks now, and I still have no real idea what the lyrics are about.

This conundrum isn't just one of artful lyricism. It has to do with the band's music, which is so twisty and turny and hooky that it's hard to pay attention to the phrasings. Social Studies is one of those acts that stuffs enough ideas for three songs into one track, shifting gears repeatedly until your head is spinning and your toes are tapping. Start with Rogovin's Casio, which flits from sweet, twee melodies à la Pram to thick, bristling noise (re: Broadcast or Silver Apples). Add in Aaron Weiss' jittery guitar, which moves from post-punk janka-jank to primo '90s indie riffage. Multiply by Darren Henry's dubby bass playing, and factor in Mike Jirkovsky's drumming, which manages to move from busy math-rock fills to fluid funk beats. Finish it all off with Rogovin's vocals (and the band's three- and four-part harmonies), which swing from neo-rap speak-singing to sweet Björk-ian crooning, and you have one complex sound.

"We spent a long time on the structure and dynamics of the songs," Rogovin explains via phone.

The foursome was so intent on its music that the members didn't even have a moniker at first. "We didn't come up with the name Social Studies until well after we had written a lot of the songs, and we had actually written a lot of the music without any lyrics," Rogovin says. "But when we came up with the name, that informed everything else. ... A lot of the lyrics are references to historical situations or discussing human nature and history. A lot of them have political content, but it's not really in your face, it's just more of a commentary on the past and how it informs the present."

Some of the references are easier to spot than others. "Theme Song" is most likely the catchiest (or only) tune to name-drop Cleopatra, Kubla Khan, Copernicus, Mary Magdalene, and Napoleon, while "Casanova Part I & II" draws obvious inspiration from the famed lady killer (although it suggests that his lifestyle was less fulfilling than believed). But you'd have to listen pretty hard to figure out that "Sparrow" is inspired by Amelia Earhart, and you'd probably have to Google the title of "Cardioid" to find out that it's a heart-shaped bell curve. You don't need a Ph.D. in physics or history to appreciate these songs, though. "Cardioid," in fact, is a rather heartbreaking little number, with Rogovin and Weiss trading lines about a couple's inability to "integrate" their "functions." And "Mason Dixon," with its bluesy George Harrison guitar riff, sprawling keyboard part, and shouts of "One!" perfectly captures the separation anxiety (and euphoria) that comes from ending a relationship.

Mostly, the group succeeds because Social Studies' music is so exuberant. "As a band, we don't take ourselves as seriously as it may seem," says Rogovin. "We want a mix between interesting structures and dynamics ... and really fun, emotionally engaging hooks."

By Dan Strachota
Published: February 7, 2007 - SF Weekly


EP, "This is the World's Biggest Hammer", 2006


Feeling a bit camera shy


Keyboardy-rocky-historical-epic-fun-dancey quartet, Social Studies, will endear you with "tambourine-a-longs" and melodic vocals braced over unexpected, complex pop songs. Formed in Autumn of 2005, Social Studies has gained startling momentum since they first threatened the foundation of a crowded Santa Cruz shanty at 2am one freezing Friday night. Since then, they have plucked the heart strings of the Bay Area indie circuit and kept audiences on their toes with the twists and turns signature to a Social Studies anthem. They self-released their first EP, "This is the World's Biggest Hammer" on November 8th and are excited about setting up a US tour for 2007. "Extremely talented and relentlessly inventive songwriters, whether it's trumpet accompaniment or four-part chant-like harmony, Social Studies songs often go in unexpected, and wonderful directions...Social Studies definitely finished their set with more fans than when they began." (The Deli Magazine)