Silver Swans

Pub date January 31, 2012
WriterEmily Savage

When is the cover better than the original? When the original is by newbie/vitriolic web backlash victim Lana Del Rey, and the cover is a sensual send-up by seasoned San Francisco duo Silver Swans ( The local act split open the pop song — “Video Games” — slowed it down, and filled it with chilly synth floating below breathy vocals.

But we’re not here to debate Del Rey’s musical ability; we’re here to keep a glossy superhero eye on Silver Swans. Formed by Las Vegas-born vocalist Ann Yu and Jamaica-bred effects wizard-DJ Jon Waters in 2007, the band has delivered a lovely catalogue — most recently 2010’s Secrets EP and the upcoming LP Forever (Feb.7) — of heart-wrenching synth pop and shoulder-dancing, Manchester-evoking icy club rock. It’s high time they get their international due.

Description of sound: Someone else said it best: “tropical synths and stuttering 808s” wrapped in ambivalent romance and bittersweet longing.

Like most about the Bay Area music scene: The Bay Area music scene is both sophisticated yet charming. So many amazing bands come out of SF, yet you can still create your own place here and find people who appreciate what you do. In that sense, it’s still fresh here. The scene isn’t jaded and over-saturated, there’s charm and new inspiration everywhere.

What piece of music means the most to you and why: This is a hard one, so many songs have come into my life and forever changed me, the first mixtape I got had a song on it called “So Said Kay” by The Field Mice and I think I could have listened to that song on repeat for days reading into every lyric and just taking in the voice. It made me sad too, and just made me feel exactly what I wanted to feel at the time. It was one of the first songs to inspire me to write and also tap into that unknown territory where you don’t care about how unique or difficult a part is write, you just let yourself get carried away in the moment of the song itself and let it almost write itself.

Favorite local eatery and dish: El Metate Mexican Veggie burrito, the vegetables are roasted and always fresh. Everything there is delicious and on the cheap, right down to their alfajore cookies, I fully endorse the entire menu.

Who would you most like to tour with: Karin Dreijer Andersson — Jon and I are both admirers of everything she does. She is a true artist, and I get lost in her songs always.