After taking several years off, San Francisco Popfest returned with a vengeance last year, and the momentum has helped organizers put together another stellar lineup. The four-day fest, which launches on Thursday, May 27, at the Rickshaw Stop, features a mix of local, national, and international acts, including Still Flyin', Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, All Girl Summer Fun Band, and Cats on Fire. They may have different ways of getting to their destination, but as organizer Aaron Ehrlich explains, all of the bands playing Popfest share the same fuel: "The love for a perfect pop song," he says. "None of the over two dozen bands we have playing this year are professional, meaning none of the bands rely upon and derive their livelihood solely from their music. Rather, the bands make massive time and financial sacrifices to share their music with the world."
One of those groups is quirky San Francisco outfit Social Studies, which is sharing the opening-night bill with Brooklyn's Knight School and locals tUnE-yArDs and Eux Autres. The keys-driven Social Studies will release their debut full-length, Wind Up Wooden Heart, in July on local label Antenna Farm. Expect to hear plenty of songs from the eclectic album, which brings to mind the Fiery Furnaces and Au Revoir Simone and includes contributions from Anton Patzner (Judgement Day, Bright Eyes) and Thee More Shallows' David Kesler.
"Everyone in the band comes from very divergent musical backgrounds," says singer and keyboardist Natalia Rogovin, who formed Social Studies with drummer Michael Jirkovsky. "The eclectic nature of our sound is the product of all of our different musical interests, everything from my classical training to Michael's DIY punk rock roots."