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DWLLRS w/ Sally Boy & Holden Miller
July 14 8:00 pm PDT
Doors Open: 7:00 pm$15.00
DWLLRS, otherwise known as Bren Eissman and Joey Spurgeon, hail from the sleepy beach town of San Clemente, California. Having embraced the city’s sunny surf rock with the artists that they grew up listening to, from Frank Ocean to Brockhampton and Tame Impala, the duo are creating a diverse sonic palette driven by forward-thinking alternative pop. Utilising a range of production techniques and carefully crafted songwriting, DWLLRS alchemize their diverse influences to evoke feelings of existentialism, nostalgia, and heartbreak — all whilst underpinned by the perpetual hope of better days to come.
A heavy song can make you feel just that: heavy. The intense emotions gathered up into a single piece of music become baggage the listener is invited to carry. Imagine a backpack full of sadness, or frustration, or heartbreak, or tearful anger. You put on that backpack, if only temporarily, when you play the heavy song. Erez Potok-Holmes, better known to listeners as the multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Sally Boy, knows that sensation. After years of making indie rock in the Philadelphia suburb where he grew up, the 21-year-old poured his heart and soul into his first solo project, 2020’s EREZ EP. It told coming-of-age stories about love, finding yourself over, and other raw emotions over minimal production and guitar; it was a backpack. “Playing it, you felt slightly drained,” he says.
But his new project, Lies I Tell Myself, is about lightness, energy, and unabashedly being yourself. It’s a pop EP that encourages liftoff, even as it continues to explore the topics that made EREZ so compelling. “I want people to wear this project like a jetpack,” he says. It’s playful, with drums that get into your system at the molecular level, forcing you to move; the lyrics have swagger, even when dabbling in self-deprecation. It’s an amused celebration of accepting yourself, flaws and all.
Self-acceptance is at the root of Sally Boy. Erez adopted the name after writing the song “Sally Boy,” his first real solo effort outside his work with his band. It’s a dreamy conversation with his younger self set to beautiful acoustic guitar. As a child Erez was sometimes teased for being soft. Emotional. Feminine. The bullshit machismo that young boys absorb and inflict on others made him feel stifled and strange. Like he didn’t belong. He tried to bury that side of himself and craft a persona that felt tougher, more masculine. But it wasn’t true. By dubbing himself Sally Boy, Erez dispenses with inauthentic self-presentation.
Lies I Tell Myself captures that tone perfectly. The single “Bad Habits” summarizes the last year of Erez’s life. He’d been studying songwriting and philosophy at USC, while also indulging in partying and other vices. His voice shimmer with light embellishments of Auto-Tune as he sings about losing “another night to the chemicals/Compensate for serotonin lacked, it’s a ritual.”
“The song comes from a genuine place, but I’m not saying I’m screwed for recognizing these issues I need to deal with,” he says. “I’m having fun recognizing myself.” It’s true for all the tracks on the project, especially the bittersweet relationship ode “Chess and Checkers” and the buoyant “Good at Being Lonely,” which sounds like an undiscovered gem of early 2000s R&B.
“Chess and Checkers” doesn’t shy away from mental health (“When she’s off of Lexapro she get anxiety”) or the tough conversations that a relationship inevitably leads to (“Last time that we spoke it shook my core/You need more”). Still, the production is gentle and airy; these two people are very different—it might not work out—but it’s not a tragedy. That’s the new, more mature and confident Sally Boy perspective.
Each song on Lies I Tell Myself contains at least one line in which he tells himself some half- truth to feel better. Despite the concept behind the project, Erez didn’t force anything during the songwriting. These are simply expressions of who he is and where he’s at. Let it be the soundtrack to your life as the world recalibrates, as you experiment and explore in the summertime.
Holden Miller doesn’t take himself too seriously — but his music is another story. When it comes to singer-songwriters with folk and pop undertones, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd, and Holden is up for the challenge. He creates music that holds a mirror to the experiences of other young people by approaching his songwriting without pretension. Holden is able to push the boundaries of what a contemporary singer-songwriter can look like: through broad, often impressionistic interpretations of anxiety, the passage of time, and love and heartbreak, his music finds a way to resonate with a wide audience even beyond his own demographic. Based in Los Angeles with roots in New York, Holden surrounds himself with a community of creators as likely to be found at house shows as they are to be playing sold-out iconic venues. He creates from a place of questioning and longing — sometimes even from the depths of existential anxiety — and his songwriting is his own personal form of therapy. As his quickly growing fanbase continues to expand, thanks in part to an organic following on TikTok of people addicted to his covers and the samples of his songwriting shared on the platform, Holden is eager to continue sharing his craft with the world. Come join the party — everyone’s welcome here.
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One ticket is usually good to stay the entire evening, unless otherwise noted.
Ages: 21 and up
Items Not Allowed: NO VIDEO OR FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY