Over the past several years, the ladies of San Francisco’s Von Iva have cultivated a well-deserved reputation as one of the best bands in the Bay Area, but if you tried to find recorded material, you’d have only found an EP and a split 12” to their name. That 2005 EP turned a lot of heads, ours included, with an addictive blend of dance-rock and post-punk, but the band has truly earned its stripes live, with countless amazing performances at everything from fashion shows to rock clubs around the Bay Area and the country.
Still, the question remained, where was the long-awaited full length? And would a band with such an engaging live set be able to translate that to a full length record? The answers came earlier this summer, when the band dropped Our Own Island, a ten-track blast of electro-punk that’s a sonic departure from the band’s EP that increases the presence of the synths without losing any of the band’s trademark intensity.
The band that became Von Iva formed in 2003 as a new project for Kelly (keyboards) and former member Elizabeth (bassist), following the breakup of their previous band Clone. Joining with drummer Becky, the trio began experimenting in electronic rock, but it wasn’t until they met singer Jillian Iva that the band found the roots of their current sound.
Charismatic doesn’t begin to describe Jillian. She is undoubtedly one of the most engaging frontpersons in indie music today, performing with a nothing-held-back attitude matched by a powerful, emotive voice. It’s no surprise that critics have likened her to Karen O. Much like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, this trio’s stripped-down music allow the frontwoman’s vocals to take center stage as one of the band’s primary instruments.
This isn’t to say that this band is merely Jillian+2. Quite the contrary, the tracks on Our Own Island are as precise as they are minimal, Unlike a lot of decidely retro-leaning music, which merely apes a particular style or sound. Von Iva’s mix of electro, synth-pop, post-punk and dance music into tight affecting pop that references without reenacting. If you aren’t sold, see them live first and then pick up the album.
1928 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA
Friday, November 9th
9PM, $8 with Make Me, and Hot Tub
647 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA
Saturday, November 10th
10PM, $10 with Her Grace The Duchess
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about new music in cities.