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Sic Alps: Show Preview 

Wednesday, Feb 9 2011

Sic Alps may seem like the perennial also-rans of the local garage-rock scene, but this nearly-decade-old trio deserves higher esteem. And if earning the approval of indie headmasters like Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo hasn't been enough to yank the band into a broader spotlight, maybe its second full-length will be. Napa Asylum is a massively gritty, determinedly listless double album named after a cage for the insane located to our north. Over 22 songs, Mike Donovan and Co. wander through dreamy folk, distressed microditties, and semiconscious psych-pop, all under the constant glare of pretty much no fidelity — the squeaks, squawks, hisses, and pops of old, cheap gear are nearly constant. But Napa Asylum isn't all grainy atmosphere — songs like the woozy "Do You Want to Give $$," the jaunty "Trip Train," and the positively anarchic "Soil" rank among Sic Alps' most satisfying. So is this one underrated S.F. rock outfit?

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Ian S. Port

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