Skip to content

Oranger – New Comes and Goes

It’s funny what some think about certain scenes – that the Bay Area is still packed with psychedelic, long-hairs walking barefoot to the Ben & Jerry’s for some Wavy Gravy. Or worse, that people still give a shit about Journey. Yea, the lights still go down in the city, but with the exception of maybe Fremont or Milpitas, that era has long since died along with T-tops and 8-tracks.

Oranger actually represents the generation of musicians that have been building the pop and indie rock scene in the Bay for more than 10 years now. Coming from groups like Snowmen with a heavy, ethereal instrumentation ala Seam to Overwhelming Colorfast’s thrashing, in-your-face spunk, they knew the circuit from Bottom of the Hill down to The Cactus Club.

When Oranger came together in 1997, they parlayed their experiences and talents into something beyond their musical pasts, touching closer to the Dandy Warhols psych while also rubbing velvet shoulders with SF mods VUE. That spunk still raises its pretty head with the heavy pop tone of “Radiowave” that looks back to Orbit’s Libido Speedway in the mid ‘90s to a hazy, Velvet Underground mood on “Ottatouch.” But it’s “Haeter” that caused me to close my eyes and groove as lead vocalist Mike Drake pleads with a heavy hook, so you may not want to listen while driving or walking down the street…it could be a tad dangerous. But “Come Back Tomorrow” will pop those eyes open, making you feel like you can easily run with circles around those kids at the front of the stage.

In eight years and on their fourth album, the band’s been too busy in the studio and on the road with the likes of Pavement, Elliott Smith, and R.E.M. to even realize that the wanna-be’s have all gone back to Kansas or Minnesota with their tails between their legs*. In those years Oranger’s praises cross oceans beyond the Pacific, and with New Comes and Goes, the legacy of Bay Area music is in very good hands versus Third Eye Blind or Smash Mouth, the latter of which is currently be heard by six-year olds on their Fisher-Price’s Dance Party Star Station.

*Oranger was one of many bands who were kicked out of a south of Market practice space in S.F. during the boom when the owner, after months of saying he wouldn’t sell the place, caved in to the cash, giving the bands just a few days to get their stuff and get out. The city rallied Bay Area groups like Green Day to come in and raise money with a benefit concert so the artists that made S.F. what it was could get back on track.


Sign up to our newsletter and get updates to your mailbox