have long been an S.F. favorite, fusing the hippie aesthetic of the San Francisco of lore (Grateful Dead
, Jefferson Airplane
) with the newer noise-garage ethos similarly employed by acts like Ty Segall
, who played in Sic Alps for a time, and Thee Oh Sees
, with whom they’ll play at the the El Rey Theatre Sept. 9. The band boasts a prolific career in a short time — the band formed in 2004 and has released over a dozen EPs, three regular albums and another, A Long Way to a Shortcut
, compiling their singles. Now, they’ve chosen to give their fourth album a self-titled name (out Sept. 18; preorder here
), and with that comes a somewhat cleaner sound, complete with strings, courtesy of Ryan Francesconi, who arranged strings for Joanna Newsom
. I spoke with frontman Mike Donovan about the new album and the band’s trajectory.
PST: One of the most noticeable new sounds on the record is the strings on songs like “Glyphs” and “Rock Races.” Can you talk about how that came about and working with Ryan Francesconi?