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Sonicbids Selections: Birds and Batteries, Ben Thompson, Slowness

Sonicbids Selections: Birds and Batteries, Ben Thompson, Slowness

As we finish up the nomination process for our upcoming Deli SF 2010 Best Emerging Artist Readers Poll, we are proud to announce the bands selected from our Sonicbids submission page.

Birds and Batteries

Birds & Batteries are on a steady rise with consistently sold out shows in San Francisco, a new record, a Daytrotter session and more national touring ahead. "Panorama" is the third full-length from Birds & Batteries and their finest work to date (Spune/ Velvet Blue Music). The new album is a rare mix of organic and electronic, pop and experimental and an effortless play of surprising elements.

Birds & Batteries' "Up To No Good" EP (2009, Eightmaps) showed singer / bandleader Mike Sempert exploring synth-funk and the influences of Bowie's "Scary Monsters" and P-funk. On "Panorama" (2010, Spune/Velvet Blue Music) his love for artists like Harry Nilsson, ELO, and David Byrne shines through, and he trades in a bit of the irony for empathy. Sempert might as well be a scientist in his next life, as he is able to blend his classic folk-ish voice with synth textures for down right futuristic results. When pressed for a simple summary, he's described the sound as "Art-rock meets Tom Petty." Basically it's not all that easy to define. Sempert is joined by Christopher Walsh (guitar), Jill Heinke (bass), and Brian Michelson (drums).

The new record conjures up blue skies and big views. It is heartfelt and bold and unlike anything in the current indie landscape. After playing festivals in the spring of 2010 - SXSW, Noise Pop, NX35 - Birds & Batteries toured nationally in the summer and fall of 2010. They're scheduled to return to Noise Pop 2011 in SF in February.

Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson is a San Francisco based/Iowa raised electronic artist forging a trail into uncharted sonic territory with compositions that are as motivating on the dance floor as they are uplifting in the headphones. Graduating from Cornell College with a degree in composition, Ben marries his love of electronic dance music with his passion for structure, harmony, and melody. This hybrid of classical sensibility and contemporary sounds creatively blends elements of electronic, house, techno, rock, and funk.

Ben’s ability to keep a strong foot in both the “sophisticated” art world and the “party” club scene has earned him a diverse and growing audience, including the staff of iTunes who labeled him a 2010 Electronic Artist to Watch. Having only been producing electronic music for 4 years, Ben has already booked at premier SF venues and parties, including Mighty, 111 minna, The Boom Boom Room, the Disco Biscuits after party and Kelly’s Mission Rock, and also opened for international acts Lazer Sword, Signal Path, Shlohmo, and Ghosts on Tape.

Prior to making electronic music Ben was logging hours on the guitar playing in jazz and funk bands, writing acoustic pieces, and studying composition. He is proving to be a steadily rising star and is currently working on a follow up to his 2010 self-released EP, Time Traveler. Ben’s next release in 2011 will coincide with a small tour to promote his already infiltrating sound.


Slowness is a drone-pop trio from San Francisco that formed in 2008 in a big living room just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The group—Geoffrey Scott (guitars, vocals), Julie Lynn (bass, keyboards) — enlisted Monte Vallier at Ruminator Audio as producer. After several attempts to get it right, the band completed its first four-song EP, Hopeless but Otherwise, and hit the road for a 17-date U.S. tour in the summer of 2010. The group is currently recording a follow-up EP with Vallier, on which Sean Eden, formerly of Luna, will add guitars. Slowness is booking a European tour for the summer of 2011 to support the soon-to-be released For Those Who Wish to See the Glass Half-Full.

Check back again soon to begin voting on your favorite SF act.

Published: January 05, 2011 |

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