Scissors For Lefty

Despite having already scored a contract with storied U.K. indie Rough Trade, exuberant San Francisco rock act Scissors for Lefty is trying to keep one foot firmly grounded in reality.

Despite having already scored a contract with storied U.K. indie Rough Trade, exuberant San Francisco rock act Scissors for Lefty is trying to keep one foot firmly grounded in reality.

"When we go on tour, we have to take some textbooks with us," singer Bryan Garza says.

He's joking, of course. Scissors for Lefty likes to keep things light, as evidenced by its Rough Trade debut, "Underhanded Romance," a stylish, fast-moving collection of danceable rock/pop. The band has yet to decide on a label home in the United States, and the cost of rent in San Francisco regularly reminds the four-piece that whatever Euro associations it may have, Scissors for Lefty is still very much unsigned and largely unknown.

"We have to keep in mind that we don't know how long this can last, so we have to keep our skills on the side," Garza says, noting he's the only band member without a day job. "Things seem to be going really well for us in San Francisco, and we have decided to try and get rid of as many responsibilities as we can and give this a good shake. It's been rough financially to do it. Our credit cards have really been our best friends here."

Easing the stress of debt is Rough Trade, which paid for the band's debut, and was able to get the act overseas dates with Mercury Prize winners Arctic Monkeys. Garza, who logged four years as a biomechanical engineer before becoming a full-time lead singer, is already missing the lush life—by his standards—provided by Rough Trade.

"Over there they give us $20 a day to eat, and we get a regular size van," he says. "Here, we have our mini-van, and oatmeal."

Scissors for Lefty came together about six years ago in college at San Luis Obispo, Calif. Comprising brothers Peter (guitar, keys) and James Krimmel (bass, drums), Garza and his uncle Robby (bass, guitar), Scissors for Lefty self-released the full-length "Bruno" in 2005, of which Garza says the band has blown through about 2,000 copies. It's decidedly more low-key than "Underhanded Romance," whose 11 tracks are full of darting keyboards, Strokes-like guitar riffs and disco rhythms.

Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis says he was turned on to Scissors for Lefty by a friend of the label, and plans to have "Underhanded Romance" out early next year. Manager Joyce Williams, who notes that the band regularly fills 500- to 600-capacity venues in its hometown, hopes to have a U.S. deal by early 2007. She's talked to majors and indies alike, and while Williams admits she's leaning indie, she doesn't want to completely tip her hand.

"We've got offers from labels that I really respect, but we've got a partner overseas, a really good partner, and we've got a lot of local clout and momentum," she says. "We don't feel rushed. We're just kind of waiting for the perfect opportunity."