Rock & Pop

Io Echo

When: Fri., Jan. 25, 9 p.m. 2013

Io Echo's sound has been referred to as "grunge goth" and "New Orientalism," but in the end, it's just really sweet, gauzy pop. Sure, the Los Angeles duo has incorporated Japanese koto harps and Chinese violins into its lush, darkly inflected melodies (not to mention, vocalist IonnaGika has a penchant for performing almost exclusively in kimonos). But East Asian fetish aside, Io Echo knows how to craft sweeping, atmospheric pop music, lifted up by Gika's ethereal vocals and given weight by tight, well-structured drums and bass. In "Carnation," Io Echo creates a feverish summer love song haunted by the sounds of winter (howling winds, heavy snowfall) as Gika sings, Teenage temptation, summer vacation, with lips like a painted carnation. Though the band has yet to release a debut album, its EP was well-received by Stereogum, The Guardian, and Consequence of Sound, and Io Echo was handpicked by Trent Reznor to open for Nine Inch Nails' last show ever. Is the band worth all the hype? We think so, but decide for yourself when Io Echo plays with The Happy Hollows and White Teeth at Hotel Utah (500 4th St., San Francisco) on Friday, Jan. 25. 9 p.m. $8. HotelUtah.com

Lenika Cruz

Price: $8

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