Posts by: Lauren Espina
November 26, 2013
A little over a month ago, Polyvinyl Records announced the release of its garage rock compilation I Need You Bad, a sonic snapshot of the local garage rock scene. Curated by Sonny Smith of Sunny & the Sunsets, the comp features Bay Area staples like Cool Ghouls, Burnt Ones and Warm Soda as well as a few other artists from along the West Coast, including Burger Records’ latest darlings The Memories, who come from Portland.
The record is streaming in its entirety below and you can order the LP over at the label’s online store, but Polyvinyl is taking I Need You Bad a step further with a live celebration, appropriately titled I Need You Bad–The Live Show!
To enter for a chance to win tickets to see I Need You Bad–The Live Show! at The Chapel, email email@example.com with “I Need You Bad” in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the email. A winner will be selected at random and notified via email.
Little Wings, Chris Cohen, The Memories, Fronds, DJ set by Sonny Smith
November 29, 2013
8pm, $12-15 (all ages)
November 25, 2013
Photos by: Ryan McDonald
Before the headlining act took the stage, Sam Flax and his band stirred the crowd with a burning blend of synth-pop and guitar rock. With all members looking comfortable in ruby red lipstick, the band made their way through a setlist powered by both familiar and forgotten 1980s melodies. From the punchy riffs of “Everybody Wants,” to the slow-danceable “Almost Young,” the hazy songs from the group’s 2012 album Age Waves, translated perfectly in a live setting, maintaining a consistent level of shimmery pop laced with moments of psychedelia. In the most complimentary sense possible, Sam Flax could have easily played your high school prom night (or maybe your parents’ prom night), with his accessible pop overtones being off-kilter enough to inspire future music makers with the idea that you can make pretty music and still be a genuine weirdo. I’d love to see these guys play under all the shiny streamers at Make-Out Room, just to see this prom night fantasy come to life.
Fresh off of the release of Face the Sun, their second LP as a proper group, The Entrance Band graced The Chapel at the tail end of a month-long tour. Though the band opened for Mazzy Star at The Warfield only a handful of weeks ago, the three-piece outfit returned to the city for a headlining set filled with an endless stream of solos and commanding bass lines. Once he worked through sound issues with his amp, front-man and founder Guy Blakeslee led the show with an onslaught of licks, flourishes and killer dance moves. He ran in circles, pirouetted in both direction and kicked the air mechanically, all while maintaining his furious guitar work. One of his more powerful moments came when he dramatically declared, “When I’m dead and in my grave, no more good times will I crave,” before launching into a good-bad attitude version of “The Crave.”
While Blakeslee acts as the foundation of the band, bassist Paz Lenchatin adds in so much of her own flavor that it’s obvious the two artists orbit each other creatively and feed off of each other’s energy, from the way their different riffs weave in and out of each other to their synchronized hops. Lenchatin owns an understated infectious energy that fulfills the difficult task of balancing, counteracting and emphasizing Blakeslee’s psychedelic stylings with groovy bass lines, particularly on tracks like “Temptation,” “Fine Flow” and “No Needs.”
The Entrance Band made their way through some older tunes, notably “I Want You” and “Back in the City,” one of the many songs drummer Derek W. James switched a drum stick out for a maraca, but they kept the focus and attitude centered on their new record. Driven by the band’s journey out of dark times–the addiction and depression that is reflected clearly in songs like “Medicine”–the show was, like the album, ultimately an exhibition of The Entrance Band harnessing their own strength. And they pull it off to stunning, rock and roll effects.
November 15, 2013
Photos by: Emily Alexander
A good show is never hard to find in San Francisco, but it is rare to witness one where every band on the lineup gives you something new to be excited about. The right bands come together in the right place at the right time, and you find yourself in a state of interstellar show bliss, which is exactly what I found Wednesday night at The Chapel.
Jesus Sons kicked things off with a straightforward, steady procession of jangly guitar goodness. With three guitars on stage, manned by Shannon Dean, Bert Hoover and lead vocalist Brandon Wurtz, these guys let loose a blues-drenched sound that felt new but also familiar, mostly due to a dusty Americana aesthetic. They’ve only released a handful of songs, but they have their raw style locked in: guitar-driven, harmonica-infused rock and roll you can dance to. Through songs like “Ain’t Talkin Homesick” and “I Wanna be Your Man,” it seemed as if there was always someone soloing, though drummer Chance Welton stole much of the show as a one-man party in the back.
Next up, Diane Coffee opened his set with “Hymn,” the lead-in track of his debut album, My Friend Fish, and an archetype of his sound: sometimes soft, sometimes wild, always theatrical. It begins in a tasteful, elegant fashion before quickly descending into a manic break down–the lights went red and Shaun Fleming, the man behind the project, became an animalistic guitar strummer and animated vocalist.
Through each song, from the sweet sentiments of “Green” to the spookier, slinkier tones of “WWWoman” and the reverbed gusto behind “All the Young Girls,” he constantly flipped his switch between a soft crooner to full on gospel choir ring leader, both arms straight up in the air, throwing up one-armed salutes or pointing at an invisible target in front of him. It’s a true spectacle, something to see, and all backed by wicked talent. Through various styles–doo-wop, Motown, gospel, rock and roll–he still managed to sound like himself, and to sound just as good live as he does with the vocal effects on his album. About halfway through the set, bassist Emily Panic (great name) gave introductions to the rest of the band: Jared Walker on guitar, Steve Okonski on keys, Joey Lefitz on drums, “and this,” she continued, gesturing to Shaun, “this is Ryan Gosling.” You read it here first: Ryan Gosling is going to be so famous. [More...]
November 15, 2013
San Francisco-based outfit RonDre. is an acoustic rock ensemble made up of Ronnie Carrier and Andrew Cruz. With Ronnie on guitar, Andrew on a Djembe drum and the pair sharing vocal duties, the duo teamed up in 2010 and quickly established an intricate, surprisingly heavy style they describe as “rockcoustic.”
RonDre. is celebrating the release of their debut offering, the Grow EP, Saturday, November 16, at The Plough and the Stars along with Jeff Hayward and John Haesemeyer. You can hear the record in its entirety over at their Bandcamp page, and if you’re looking for an intimate, unplugged evening of music, head to the Inner Richmond tomorrow night.
John Haesemeyer, Jeff Hayward, RonDre.
The Plough and the Stars
November 16, 2013
8pm, $6 (21+)
November 13, 2013
There’s a lot happening in San Francisco tonight. See for yourself. Choosing a show to go to won’t be an easy decision, but if you’re looking for some primitive rock and roll, you want to be at The Chapel.
Riding high on the September release of their third studio album, Blur the Line, Those Darlins from Nashville are headlining the Valencia St. music house with their attitude-drenched, guitar-driven rock. The band found a way to tighten up and deepen their songwriting style for its latest offering, allowing it to dig into who they are and where they come from without losing the sneering disposition that fuels the project.
Joining Those Darlins will be Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming, who has been operating under the guise of his Diane Coffee moniker. With a modern fusion of psychedelic soul, gospel and doo-wop, he released his debut effort, My Friend Fish, at the end of October via Western Vinyl, capturing his transition from the suburbs of LA to Brooklyn in one of the best albums of the year. Diane Coffee’s set will definitely provide the theatrical flare for the night, but his music has true bedroom origins, the isolation and grit of New York City at its core.
Rounding out the lineup are Jesus Sons, a Los Angeles-based outfit that knows rock and roll is best served with some blues and a thick layer of motor oil. Show up early and you might see some familiar faces. Fronted by Brandon Wurtz, former bassist of The Spyrals, and originally formed in San Francisco, Jesus Sons played their first show a little over a year ago at Brick & Mortar and are coming back home with some new tunes.
Those Darlins, Diane Coffee, Jesus Sons
November 13, 2013
9pm, $12 (all ages)
November 12, 2013
For its last San Francisco event of 2013, Commune is taking over Elbo Room tomorrow, November 13, and bringing a killer lineup to fill in the soundspace. Headlining the night will be the blues-savvy punk rockers of Buffalo Tooth, whose no-bullshit approach to music is nicely encapsulated in their most recent offering, “Shit Show,” available on their limited edition Buffalo Tooth/Creepers 7″ split.
Also on the lineup is Commissure, an experimental rock band with an affinity for ambient bedroom tunes, and the rock/pop outfit Growwler, who won the 2013 Audience Favorite Award in San Francisco’s epic Music Video Race for their “Shooter’s Hill” music video. Directed by Yvette Solis and the Brotherhood of Misfit Toys, the video features plenty of guns and one pissed off girl. Check it out below.
Buffalo Tooth, Commissure, Growwler
November 13, 2013
9pm, FREE (21+)
November 11, 2013
The Rickshaw Stop is hosting a stellar lineup this Wednesday, November 13, headlined by San Francisco’s own Farallons. The dream-surf outfit released one of my favorite EPs of the year, Outer Sunsets, back in July, capturing a warm, dark, California-drenched sound that perfectly encapsulates the subtle beauty of where it was created: the often overlooked coastal fringe of the city. You can hear the entire record over at Farallons’ Bandcamp page, but as is the case with most bands, you need to see them live to really digest the charming, effortless interplay of lead vocalist and guitarist Andrew Brennan and singer/keyboardist Aubrey Trinnaman.
Joining Farallons will be Michael Musika, a San Francisco-based band that makes soul-folk tunes driven by acoustic guitar, minimal percussion and a vocal delivery that floats in a realm between singing and speaking. Unfortunately, From A Fountain had to drop out of the lineup, but JJAAXXN will be taking over with his psych-tinged electro pop experiments.
Farallons, JJAAXXN, Michael Musika
The Rickshaw Stop
November 13, 2013
8pm, $10 (all ages)
November 8, 2013
Days away from releasing their fourth studio album, Back to Land, Wooden Shjips are setting sail on a North American tour that kicks off tonight in Chicago. The band will be taking a detour through Europe before landing in San Francisco on January 23 to grace The Chapel. That show is still months away, but you can get your minimal psych kicks right now over at The Guardian, where Back to Lands is streaming in its entirety before its official November 12 release date on Thrill Jockey.
Check out the full North American and European tour dates after the jump. [More...]