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Annie Tittiger | Photo: Terri Loewenthal, Andrew Quist, and Courtesy Deltron 3030 | June 4, 2013
With many a year since their last albums and more than a little time out of the limelight, three Bay Area bands step back to the mike.
The breakout: Their sophomore effort, Descended Like Vultures (2005), caused both critics and angsty teens to swoon. Their popularity skyrocketed when the single “Publish My Love” was included in the season five soundtrack of The O.C.
Their sound: Broken Social Scene meets Stars, with a twist of the Postal Service. Bumps in the road: Drummer Pat Spurgeon battled chronic kidney failure while continuing to tour (chronicled in the documentary D Tour). Still, the band managed to release two more albums, the last in 2010.
Since last seen: Singer Zach Rogue joined forces with Dan Stone to create Radio Silence, a magazine combining rock ’n’ roll and literature; he now sits on its board of directors.
The comeback: A slot at Napa’s BottleRock Festival in May gave a sneak peek of Nightingale Floors (June 4). Back-to-back shows at the Independent in July mark the beginning of their West Coast tour.
The breakout: Their 1992 debut album, Back to the Grotto, led to a deal with American Recordings (producers of the likes of Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, and ZZ Top).
Their sound: Phish meets Wilco meets Spoon.
Bumps in the road: Nearly a decade of touring and pumping out albums led the band to take an “indefinite hiatus” in 2003 (which only lasted about a year). They haven’t released an album since 2009.
Since last seen: The band teamed up with promoter FolkYeah to start Hipnic, an indie music festival at Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur that has included the Cass McCombs Band, Sonny and the Sunsets, and Dawes. They continue to co-curate the festival, which they headlined this past May.
The comeback: A new album is coming out in July, with preview shows this month at the Independent (June 28 and 29), followed by a slot on the bill at Outside Lands this August.
The breakout: Their 2000 eponymous debut firmly established Del the Funky Homosapien, Kid Koala, and Dan the Automator in the underground hip-hop canon.
Their sound: As if Hieroglyphics and Kid Koala had had a baby, but better (because Dan the Automator produced it).
Bumps in the road: After flooring fans and critics alike with the album’s postapocalyptic soundscape, the trio drifted back to their respective solo projects.
Since last seen: What didn’t they do? Between releasing their own albums, producing for others, and creating labels, Deltron also comprised three of the five members of Gorillaz, the multiplatinum “virtual band.”
The comeback: Event II, the trio’s sophomore, 13-years-in-the-making effort, comes out in September. But to whet our palate, they’ll put on a show at Stern Grove on June 30.
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of San Francisco.