Exhibit A: Seldom. The three-piece from Seattle, home of Pedro and former home of Scientific, spent the spring opening up for and serving as the backup band for Sarah Shannon on the former Velocity Girl's solo tour. (Makes sense: Shannon released Seldom's Places I Haven't Seen EP and this year's Romance long-player on her label, Casa Recording Co.) With Yuuki Matthews on keyboards and vocals, Seldom comes across as a darker, less Tin Pan Alley-obsessed Magnetic Fields, except Matthews' voice is beautiful instead of, uh, "unique" like Stephin Merritt's.
Exhibit B: The Velvet Teen. More melodic than fellow San Diego dwellers such as the Black Heart Procession or Kill Me Tomorrow, The Velvet Teen doesn't relinquish any of singer Judah Nagler's misery-loves-company lyrics and emotion when it trades in the dissonance for rocking guitar parts and keyboard flourishes. All of the above are used to fine effect on their full-length debut, Out of the Fierce Parade, out earlier this year on Slowdance Records. But Plus, Minus, Equals, a conglomeration of their earlier, self-released EPs (The Great Beast February and Comasynthesis), is probably a better meter of their live sound. Get to the Ridglea early and find out for yourself.