The Rap is a series of op-eds with mp3s that highlight local musicians and upcoming events in the Bay Area. Each week a band writes about their favorite local band, and the following week, the band that was chosen gets to chooses their favorite Bay Area group.
If you’re a Bay Area musician and would like to participate please contact us (David [at] SFCritic.com).
By Noah Grant of Foolproof Four
Given San Francisco’s apparent notoriety as a haven for aspiring garage-rock artists, it’s refreshing to hear a group that’s not afraid to turn their vocals up loud in the mix. A group led by a voice—a distinctive voice—that in and of itself can give a group its “sound.” This was my reaction the first time I heard Taxes, the local rock outfit fronted by ex-Crumb leader Robby Cronholm. Cronholm’s voice is a sweet tenor that he often briefly transforms into a natural and equally-as-sweet-sounding scream à la Mike Patton, and it sits above (at a minimum) a five-piece band that emulates live all the production nuances of each recording.
Taxes’ debut EP, This Is Going to End Badly, is replete with angst and guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll and super, super, super catchy melodies. The term “emo” has become so taboo that a lot of bands don’t convey any feelings at all for fear of being dubbed as such. On “The Shut-In,” Cronholm’s vulnerability shines, whisking listeners through some uncomfortable past experiences, before finally, showing them how to escape. By the time the last chorus hits, the thick layer of background vocals makes you feel like you yourself are basking in the triumph of having conquered something immense. It’s like the uplifting climax of a movie that you’ve waited three hours to get to, except that you only have to wait three minutes, which is why I often find “The Shut In” playing on repeat in my iTunes. The “Drummer Song” has the music and melody of a soothing lullaby, but with witty, direct, and sarcastic lyrics about the lives of former band-mates post-friendship. It’s a simple tune, but it’s soaked in regret, and the tell-all culminates in a chorus where Cronholm ultimately confesses how much his old cronies are actually missed. Dig!
Taxes is currently finishing up a new studio full-length and can be caught at Amnesia on September 24th.
About The Author
Noah Grant plays in San Francisco indie folk/rock group Foolproof Four. Foolproof Four will be playing their record release show with Taxes September 24th at Amnesia. They recently released a new video for their song, “Plan B,” which you can watch here.
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