Fresh off their national 2004 tours with The Shins and The Album Leaf, Sub-Pop recording artists Rogue Wave will be performing for the best of your indie-rock pleasures at Martin's Lounge on Fri., Feb. 11, 11 p.m. In the perfect pop vein of The Shins, they illicit some of the most beautiful catchy melodies and harmonies influenced by '60s psychedelic pop on the scene today. Listen or download here.
Sometimes, the music comes naturally. Rogue Wave began almost by accident. In early 2002, faced with the sort of existential crisis unique to the newly unemployed, Zach Rogue decided to take some time off from his home base of San Francisco. He set off with a one-way ticket to New York in March with the intention of recording one or two songs with a friend, in an effort to exorcise his demons both artistically and personally. He came away with both a new lease on life and an album's worth of material that would later become Rogue Wave's debut, Out of the Shadow. After returning to the Bay Area with a nearly completed record in hand, Zach decided to leave his former band Desoto Reds and form his own group. At the end of 2002, while preparing the album for release, Zach rounded out the band's lineup with the addition of Pat Spurgeon (drums/keys/samples/vocals) Sonya Westcott (bass/vocals), and Gram LeBron (guitar/keys/vocals). Zach soon realized that together the group started to "light up like fireworks" and "liked hugging each other." Efforless friendship spawned the refreshingly organic actualization of Rogue Wave, a band whose commitment to song-craft and to each other is nothing short of astounding.
Soon after their formation, Rogue Wave found themselves invited to play shows with several of independent pop's glitterati, including Spoon, Destroyer, Mates of State, Super Furry Animals, The Clientele and (most recently) The Shins. "The good bands are hard to describe. When the Pixies came around nobody knew how to describe them. What could you say? Now you just say, "It sounds like The Pixies." Rogue Wave doesn't sound like the Pixies, but they have that quality that makes them tough to nail down. You know, a few simple fresh ingredients mixed together tastefully, like good Italian food… Rogue Wave seems like a classic Bay Area band, in the tradition of Thinking Fellers and Barbara Manning—they've just got that vibe," gushes Carl Newman, The New Pornographers' vocalist and songwriter. And he's right—the quartet effuses vitality, all the while infusing their damaged melodies with casual charm.
Out of the Shadow, the band's stunning debut, was originally released in a limited quantity on the band's own Responsive Recordings label in early 2003 and the record has been re-mastered for this 2004 re-release. Formed from the seeds sown at Zach Rogue's original New York session, Out of the Shadow is a gentle, undeniable charmer full of the naturally timeless sophistication and fierce, penetrating hooks that define a classic album. Rogue Wave's climactic payoffs aren't what this band is solely about, though. Live (and, no doubt on future recordings), Zach Rogue's aberrant pop is realized together with Pat, Sonya and Gram with exacting precision and infectious enthusiasm that is as subtle and fluid as it is insistent. As a unit, the band's preternatural ability to effortlessly highlight the finer points—spectral layers of delicately placed pedal steel, understated moog and upright bass—makes their moving arrangements all the more enchanting.
"Not since the Pixies or Guided By Voices has indie rock sounded so damn good. Blending wistful vocals over and under blankets of sonic textures, Rogue Wave never play the same way twice, switching tones up with a musical chairs game of instrumentation."
- Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco, CA.