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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Show Review: Summer Twins @ The Void

Summer Twins from Riverside CA.

Show Review: Summer Twins
@ The Void

  At times in the last two years Summer Twins have been the only act on my "to see" list.  I guess that's good and bad. good: only band bad: didn't actually see them in past two years.  Last night was my date with destiny.  Summer Twins I believe were originally a two piece, now a four piece, they are from Riverside California, and I'd like to think I pay special attention to the indie scene in that area.  As far as I am aware they are "sui generis" for that area- part of no larger "scene" and having no companion bands in the immediate vicinity.

  Summer Twins seem to occupy the same potential slot in the girl fronted indie rock scene of Southern California as Tiger Trap occupied in the "Riot Grrl" era.  Then, you had a wide spectrum of indie girl-fronted indie bands who made it to very levels of regional and national success, as well as major label iterations that sought to market the indie sound to wider, popular audience.  This time of creative fecundity is echoed in the contemporary group of female fronted indie/diy acts that emerged from 2006-2010 in Southern California.  Like Tiger Trap (Sacramento), Summer Twins are outliers who came to the party relatively late.  They have not been embraced by a national audience, but they have demonstrated an ability to record and tour, i.e. exist as a band.

    You can't call the image of Summer Twins anything other then "twee." If you didn't know better, you could be lead to believe by their choice of mediums and topics that they were actually existing within a twee pop scene from an earlier decade.  The fact that they are doing this out of Riverside in 2013, a million plus population market that contains, to my knowledge, no other "Twee Pop" bands at all, makes their promotional activity all the more intriguing.  This is a case of a flower blooming in a desert- that's almost literally true in the case of Summer Twins & Riverside.

 Although Summer Twins rep Burger Records pretty hard (understandable) they are clearly outliers in terms of Burger Records associated artists style- being neither stoner pop nor stoner garage.  Rather they feature a familiar blend of 50s and 60s influenced song writing expressed in the style of modern DIY/K Records/Kill Rock Stars indie pop.  Aside from their very existence being a confirmed miracle, there is a larger question of whether there is an Audience for straight up twee girl pop in 2013, and the jury is still out there.  The crowd last night was very decent for a Monday night show in San Diego, but it didn't have the bulk that would indicate a band was really ready for take off.

 One element of the Audience that was interesting was the "really old guys"- I'm writing this as a 37 year old- so I'm talking about an age range of 60-70.  I used to see those same guys when the Dum Dum Girls were starting out, and I take it as a predictor of a larger potential audience, and one which purchases records and show tickets.

  Summer Twins should receive the benefits on all specific doubts about their potential for wider appeal because their origin story is so compelling.  A girl fronted twee pop band emerges from Riverside California in 2012.  I guess, in a way, it's something that I would actually expect to happen at some point, but here it is, happening.   

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