San Francisco’s Social Studies are best described as explorers, creating music that is compelling and profound, taking broad ideas and emotions and expressing them in alluring and dynamic ways. Their anthems of regret and triumph reveal an essence of pulsing, dark pop that belie their complex themes of life, love, pain, and pleasure.
The band – led by Natalia Rogovin (vocals, keys) and Michael Jirkovsky (drums), who were joined in 2009 by bassist Jesse Hudson and guitarist Tom Smith and in early 2012 by second guitarist Ben McClintock – has won a loyal fan base thanks to their arch take on modernist pop as heard on 2010 release Wind Up Wooden Heart. Social Studies has become a force to be reckoned with in concert as well, transfixing audiences at the CMJ Music Festival, SXSW, and Noise Pop, and bringing their unique energy and spirit to stages shared with tUnE-yArDs, Wye Oak, Lotus Plaza, Thee Oh Sees, Dodos, Dungen, and Au Revoir Simone just to name a few.
With much of 2010 and 2011 spent on the road, the band returned to the studio in early 2012, enlisting the skills of ascendant Oakland engineer Eli Crews (tUnE-yArDs, Deerhoof, Thao & Mirah) to streamline their sound and refine their approach. With the stated goal of remaining as true to their hypnotic and driving live show as possible, the band dug deeper into texture, mood and repetition, stripping away some of the ornate flourishes that were a past hallmark to leave an anthemic core. The result is the album Developer, a bold push for the band and their best work to date.