They’ve been hailed as “San Francisco’s new indie rock darlings,” but Berkeley-based band the Morning Benders is working to prove that they are worthy of the hype.
The Morning Benders take the stage tonight at 8 at the ASUCD Coffee House. Opening the show are San Francisco-based bands Social Studies and Love Is Chemicals. The event is free.
The quartet behind The Morning Benders – lead vocalist Chris Chu, guitarist Joe Ferrell, drummer Julian Harmon and bassist Tim Or – first met when they were employees at Disneyland. However, the band didn’t come together until they reconnected in Berkeley, where Chu, Or and Ferrell were students at UC Berkeley.
Since then, the band has been on the rise, touring with acts like The Kooks and Ra Ra Riot and performing at this September’s Treasure Island Music Festival. After three self-released EPs, the band released their debut album Talking Through Tin Cans in May 2008.
Despite a strong background in the subject – both Chu and Or graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in music – Chu said that he never considered it as a career during his studies.
“I always loved [music], but I didn’t think of it as a career path,” he said. “I didn’t even start writing songs until freshman year of college.“
Chu also credited the band’s sound – a modernized take on this retro pop has been likened to early works from The Shins – to the city of Berkeley.
“I love Berkeley and the people there – I think it has a really nurturing vibe for music,” Chu said. “There’s a good kind of relaxed, receptive and open vibe. It’s very accepting.“
Though their music has drawn the obvious comparison to other pop heavyweights of the ‘60s such as the Beatles or the Beach Boys, Chu revealed a much wider musical repertoire.
“A lot of people would associate us with bands from the ‘60s, which are bands we all love, especially when we were making the first album,” he said. “But we listen to so much different stuff – Grizzly Bear, Spoon, Radiohead, Deerhunter, there are a bunch.“
This diversified musical taste found its way into The Bedroom Covers. The album, which is available for free download at ambenders.blogspot.com, features covers of songs from decidedly differing genres and musical eras, including “Pull Up the Roots” by The Talking Heads, “Lovefool” by the Cardigans and “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac.
After the popularity of other shows featuring bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Port O’Brien and MGMT, Entertainment Council sought to bring another indie band on the rise.
“UC Davis likes that easygoing sound,” said EC promotions coordinator Jennifer Dao. “It’s soothing and it’s fun – we thought it would be nice to have something before finals.“
“I saw them at a show last year, and they were super catchy,” said senior English and linguistics major Jesse Fineman. “It’s cool to see a local Berkeley band on the cusp of being more popular.“
For more information on The Morning Benders, visit themorningbenders.com. For more information the Entertainment Council and future events, visit ec.ucdavis.edu or the group’s Facebook page.
RACHEL FILIPINAS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.