When we last visited The New Up in this space, they had just finished an EP, Better Off, and the band previewed the title track in a special acoustic rendition for us in the welcoming confines of The Pleasure Pad in San Francisco.
Well, it’s a year later, and the band has been keeping busy, as usual. After a national tour to promote Better Off, and a triumphant moment where the band was voted a Best Bay Area Breakout Band on MTV2/Ourstage, Dain, Noah, Drew, Hawk and Emily shot an award-winning video for one of the highlights of Better Off, ”Bitch.” The video premiered in June, and was shot in black and white in the band’s home turf of San Francisco. Dig those views of the Muni trains and the city’s iconic Transamerica Pyramid:
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Following a national tour to promote Better Off, which included a stop out in Austin, TX, to take in some of the spillover audience from the annual SXSW festival, the band got down to business with the recording of their latest release, an eight-song collection titled Gold. When you look at it closely, Gold is still following what has been The New Up’s preferred pattern over the past few years — release a 5 or 6 song EP and then quickly move on to promoting it and working on the next one. Being that the last two tracks of Gold are alternate cuts of two songs from Better Off, we essentially have a brand new EP with two bonus tracks.
The great thing about the EPs The New Up has released is that they’re all filler-free — the band is definitely following the sage advice of those in the industry who claim that staying fresh in folks’ minds is much easier when you’re putting out 5 or 6 strong songs a year versus a middling, so-so full-length album every two years. Gold is no exception — just like Better Off and Broken Machine before it, every song here is a winner, with the title track standing out for its bottom-heavy, John Bonham-inspired rhythm and ES Pitcher’s sinewy, infectious vocals. ”Tiz Da Season” also gets some points for dialing back the band’s electronic effects for a little while, giving Gold its most organic sounding moment, something reminiscent of the laid back classic rock homage Sonic Youth was exploring on Rather Ripped back in 2006. And ”Situation Overload” happily adds some vague psychedelia to the mix, with Hawk West’s flute high up in the mix, right where it belongs.
The band’s sound is sharpening further, and you can catch a glimpse of it as they bring it to the stage for another tour this Fall:
Nov 5: Black Forest – Eugene, OR
Nov 6: Mad Happy Lounge – Bend, OR
Nov 7: Tiger Lounge – Seattle, WA
Nov 9: TBA – Missoula, MT
Nov 10: John’s Alley – Moscow, ID
Nov 11: The Bouquet – Boise, ID
Nov 12: The Knife Shop @ Kelly’s Olympian – Portland, OR
Nov 13: Freight House District – Reno, NV
Dec 1: the Independent – San Francisco, CA
Dec 2: Old Ironside – Sacramento, CA
Dec 3: Tonic Lounge – Reno, NV
Dec 4: Jambalaya – Arcata, CA
Dec 5: TBA – Portland, OR
Dec 10: Henfling’s – Ben Lomond, CA
Dec 12: Blue Cafe – Long Beach, CA