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San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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



"Christmas In The Bay, Part 2"

Like we told you last week, Bay Area bands love the holidays and make plenty of music to celebrate. Here’s another round of Christmas tunes from our local artists for you to enjoy.

“Xmas Lights” from Swells is great for when the egg nog is running low and the party is winding down. - TheBayBridged.com


San Francisco band Swells has put out an unofficial EP of tracks they’ve been working on and I wanted to share it. I lived in San Francisco briefly in 2009 and I spent every Friday at the beach. These songs make me miss my temporary home. First track “Lost at Sea” kind of sounds like The Walkmen took a tropical vacation – click the link beneath the player to download the track courtesy of Swells. - Mixtapes and Heartbreaks


Swells are swell. I’m not trying to be coy, I sincerely mean that. Anything this good is bound to catch my attention. What we have here is some wholesome, jangly pop drenched in optimism. There’s not even a buildup when the first (Lost at Sea) of these four songs begins. Immediately you’re injected with the aural equivalent of sunshine and kittens.

This is the San Francisco quartet’s first EP. Everything falls into place on here. Drums have a vibrant feel to them. Guitars jangle. Besides jangling, the guitars even soar a wee bit. Not in a post-rock way but in a ‘we can fly so why not’ way. For me even the singer’s voice gels with the rest of the sound. Actually the diversity of approaches works wonders, from the jerkier rhythms (like on ‘Ships Set Sail’) or a mellower groove on “For Miles”.

If a more beach-based EP has come out recently I’d like to know. Literally everything about the band screams beach. The sunshine sound screams beach. Shoot, in case you didn’t know, there’s the sand right on the cover, inviting you. I’d suggest taking them up on the recommendation. Personally my pick out of the whole thing has to be the huggable “For Miles” which gives off the allusion of driving on the coastline for literally hours. Wish I had a car so I could blast this on a warm sunny day.

Swells are certainly a great way to start your day, certainly better than Folgers in your goddamn cup. Drink in the sound. - Beach Sloth


Swells are a quartet residing in San Francisco. Their new release, a collection of self-recorded demos, presents laid-back indie-rock with relaxing West Coast vibes akin to The Morning Benders and Surfer Blood. Swells contains four varied and exciting songs that should appeal to most indie-rock fans, especially if they’re fans of The Walkmen.

“Lost At Sea” is a very strong opener. Comparisons to The Walkmen’s Hamilton are immediately apparent. Singer Ian Bruce has similar versatility and fervor, his voice alternating between high-pitched yelps and drawn-out pronunciations. From start to finish, Swells is a delightful listen that gives me the feeling of being on the California coastline. When I opened my eyes, it was still fall on the East Coast, and the Hudson River was still my closest shore, but the sweet feeling of Californian indie-rock was taking over my ears. The instrumental arrangement is zesty without being overpowering. Swells find excellent balance between guitar, drums, and vocals. Bruce’s vocals jive perfectly and have an intriguing flavor. Like Leithauser’s voice, his contains a slight twang that brings a bit of country-rock to the table. It is almost impossible to not instantly like “Lost At Sea”.

“Ships Set Sail” rolls at a slower pace than “Lost At Sea” at first, with Bruce’s voice sounding more Julian Casablancas than Leithauser. In the middle the song picks up in a fluid manner and moves between its fast and slow progressions, reminiscent of swift rock-pop groups like The Strokes and Two Door Cinema Club. Again, the song relies heavily on guitar and drums that highlight Bruce’s strong vocal performance. Swells’ ability to introduce simple melodies while infusing a wide vocal range keeps the level of accessibility high. This is definitely a track that will be on repeat.

“Ships Set Sail” continues by seamlessly transitioning into “For Miles”. The release’s third song is packed with intricate guitar work and tight drums, which create smooth overlapping harmonies inspired by dexterous surf-rock. ”For Miles” slowly fades out, leaving the listener wanting more.

Swells is a great showing from this new group. Even though it is bursting into a well-known genre, it does so with a strong, clear voice.

RIYL: The Walkmen, The Strokes, Surfer Blood, The Morning Benders - Obscure Sound


Still working on that hot first release.



Formed in San Francisco in 2011, Swells is a 3-piece band that nods to 60s soul, 80s and 00s indie rock to form a retro surf sound befitting of their name. Their first release, the self-recorded Lost At Sea demos, showcased the band's main influences, from The Walkmen and the Strokes to Joy Division, The Kinks, and Lou Reed.

They've spent the latter half of 2012 playing shows around the Bay Area and are now writing new material and working towards the release of their first single, Constant Sun/For Miles, in 2013.