The 22nd annual Noise Pop Festival kicks off on February 25th and the week-long party, now a solid San Francisco institution, will be taking over many of the premiere venues in town.They'll be hosting some of the best independent music acts from our city and around the world. With so many shows to choose from (not to mention all the free happy hours, art shows and gatherings at the new Noise Pop HQ), it's a tough job to pick and choose which bands to check out. If you've looked through the festival's stacked lineups and still can't decide which ones to see, we've created a definitive Guide to Noise Pop to help aid in your decision making. -Lauren Espina
If You Like Lush, Layered Pop: Social Studies, AAN, Maz and The Moon
The reigning dream pop darlings of The Bay Area, Social Studies has mastered a sophisticated blend of indie pop and experimental rock. Led by the distinctive soulful vocals of Natalia Rogovin, the band meticulously weaves an intricate sonic tapestry that is perfectly encapsulated on its 2012 sophomore album, Developer. Joining Social Studies on Thursday, February 27th at The New Parish in Oakland will be Portland-based experimental rock outfit AAN and Southern California's indie pop band Max and The Moon.
See also: Broods, ASTR and DJ Aaron Axelsen on Thursday, February 27th at Rickshaw Stop.
If You Like Punk with an Experimental Edge: No Age, Cheatahs, GRMLN, Straight Crimes
No Age is a Los Angeles-based duo that creates an experimental fusion of punk and noise rock. With a razor sharp pop sensibility woven throughout its raw aesthetic, the group traverses the gap between melodic moments and the rough, stripped-down sound of early punk rock. The band will be headlining Brick & Mortar on Saturday, March 1st along with London's shoegaze punk rocker band Cheatahs, Northern California natives of the dream pop outfit GRMLN and Okland's Straight Crimes, the new punk project of former High Castle guitarist Erin Allen.
See also: Noise Pop Happy Hour CCR Headcleaner, Skate Laws and Bicycle Day on Wednesday, February 26th at Bender's
If You Know Garage Rock Isn't "Over": Fresh & Onlys, Cool Ghouls, Sandy's, Luke Sweeney
With prolific songwriters Tim Cohen and Wymond Miles respectively taking the reigns on lead vocal and lead guitar, The Fresh & Onlys have risen as one of San Francisco's most beloved garage rock bands. Though some people have prematurely declared the death of garage rock, the band's 2013 EP, Soothsayer, a raw rock and roll record laced with traces of psych and power pop, is solid proof of the community's existence. Further evidence lies in the supporting acts of the Onlys' show this Wednesday, February 26th at Brick & Mortar. Further evidence lies in the supporting lineup of the Onlys' show this Wednesday, February 26th at Brick & Mortar, which includes San Francisco's rock and roll torch bearers Cool Ghouls, as well as the California-drenched surf rockers of Sandy's and bedroom pop artist Luke Sweeney.
See also: Bleached, Terry Malts, Mystic Braves and Tropical Popsicle on Friday, March 28 at Rickshaw Stop