Posts by: Lauren Espina
May 24, 2013
The Spyrals just dropped a killer single in the form of “Out of Sight,” the title track off of their upcoming sophomore LP. The song opens with a familiar reverberating intro, offering the sinister psych sounds we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from the band, but as soon as the first guitar riff enters, the evolution of The Spyrals’ sound is immediately evident. This time, the composition is tightened up into just under 3 minutes, making it shorter than all but one of the tracks on the band’s eponymous debut. It’s faster, janglier and confident (“We don’t ever want to be like you/ we hope that it shows”), not to mention lead vocalist John Lewis rips a mad harmonica interlude on top of a guitar solo for a serious rock and roll breakdown. The band announced with a trailer late last week that Out of Sight will be out June 25th, via Mock Records, and its now available for pre-order on The Spyrals’ Bandcamp page. They’re selling a limited supply of red vinyl, so all you colored wax fans, get on this one!
May 23, 2013
With a mission to bring burgeoning music scenes from around the world to the streets of Paris, City Sounds Festival has hosted bands from cultural hubs like Los Angeles, Tokyo, Berlin and Toronto and is now borrowing the Bay Area’s rock and roll torch bearers for City Sounds Festival: San Francisco Edition.
In honor of the event that set the blueprint for music festivals as we know them today, 1967′s Monterey Pop Festival, the two-day festival is a celebration of both San Francisco’s 1960s psychedelic past and its abounding present. I know the party will be roughly 5,500 miles away, but here’s why you should care: representing our city will be garage rock favorites Thee Oh Sees, Warm Soda, Ty Segall and Shannon and the Clams, as well as psychedelic darlings White Fence and Moon Duo. These artists are going to drop a fuzz-out, kaleidoscopic, hypnotic atomic bomb of San Francisco sounds on Paris. They’re going to make us look good, so spread the word about this one – City Sounds Festival: San Francisco Edition will be held on July 19th and 20th at Le Centquatre. Tickets are on sale, and the folks at City Sound put together a playlist for your enjoyment.
May 22, 2013
Forget what you’ve read about Ariel Pink’s anxiety-filled live shows. Actually, don’t. Because everything I’ve heard and read about his self-indulgent performances made last night that much more amazing. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti filled The Chapel with nothing but celestial vibes. He was, at moments, outrageous, sensual in his flamboyant mannerisms, child-like, theatrical and genuinely humbled.
Before Ariel took the stage, Holy Shit! (pictured above) offered a dance party soundtrack of forgotten 1980s hooks and melodies that a good portion of the crowd was hesitant, at first, to get into. As the band went through songs like “Written All Over Your Face,” a decidedly slinkier number, and the stripped-back “The Castle,” the band’s three-guitar, one bass and one drum machine repertoire eventually melted the audience. Matt Fishbeck’s longtime project, which used to include Ariel and a certain SF-based singer/songwriter who happened to be lurking in the audience, fared much better in this venue than in places like Brick & Mortar, where the band played earlier this year for Noise Pop. With its superior sound, The Chapel cradled the tip-tap beats coming from Matt’s fisher price-looking drum machine, allowing for each guitar part to be distinguished and appreciated, though Matt’s vocals remained characteristically indistinguishable.
After Holy Shit bid farewell with the instrumental “Bombs,” the crowd prepared itself for the main event. After fifteen minutes of downtime, The lights dimmed and, letter by letter, Ariel Pink’s name began appearing on the backdrop, as if an invisible hand was drawing it on with a neon green marker. [More...]
May 16, 2013
Since banding together in 2011, the soul rockers of The Reckless Kind have been churning up a brand of music they call heavy soul. Last August, the group dropped its debut album Golden Age of Thinking, as an homage to the music that inspires the entire project: rock and roll, soul and rhythm and blues. Bassist Brian Miu recently explained over email that, for his band, “These genres are the Golden Age of music. We take these musical inspirations and put our own heavy spin to it.” This description brings to mind the 1960s San Francisco-inspired category that so many bands are pigeonholed into, but instead of shrugging off such comparisons, the band revels in it.
With an affinity for the past that lies deeper than genre, the band recorded its album the old-fashioned way – every sound “was done by real people playing actual instruments,” describes Brian. “We did our best to stay true to the classic recording methods that were used on the records we love from the past. This ideology is part of the reason we titled the album Golden Age Thinking.”
Featuring an eight-piece lineup, the band has not only the manpower needed to resurrect its different influences, but also the finesse required to bridge those sounds together. With guitars anchoring its music in a solid rock foundation, the group layers on the polish with keyboard organ, tenor sax and trumpet while vocalist Phillip Mills has just enough grit in his voice to give him an edge and more than enough gusto to hold down a soul ballad. Brian explains, ”You can expect dancey grooves, catchy dueling guitar riffs, energetic horns, and tasteful vocal harmonies.”
The Reckless Kind is bringing its signature neo-soul rock sound and some new tunes to Milk Bar tomorrow, May 17th, along with Portland-based outfit Rags & Ribbons, San Diego’s Belmont Lights and San Francisco’s own Rosa Grande. In the meantime, here’s the band’s music video from “Blood Everywhere,” staring the most badass Barbie doll on Youtube.
The Reckless Kind, Rags & Ribbons, Belmont Lights, Rosa Grande
May 17, 2013
9pm, $10, 21+
May 14, 2013
The Soft Moon recently dropped the video for “Want,” offering visuals that are as disorienting and restless as the music itself. Paired with layered, frenzied rhythms and whispered repetitions of “I want it, can’t have it,” the video follows the erratic experiences of a hooded man, who, after inexplicably breaking and entering into a house and snorting white powder in a dirty bathroom with some random girl, has his most uneasy moment when he scrawls “What’s wrong with me?” on the bathroom wall. It plays like a drug-induced scary movie in just under four minutes, so click play if you enjoy sweaty palms and quick bursts of suspense.
May 14, 2013
Photo by John Keel
If the idea of festival juggernauts like Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo stresses you out despite your appetite for the elongated thrill of a three-day party, Pickathon is a perfect alternative. Located at the Pendarvis Farm in Oregon, fifteen minutes outside of Portland, the festival is held not at a small venue, but at one of the most intimate settings there are for a large musical gathering. While offering the same escape as more mainstream festivals – on-site camping, seven stages designed to transport audiences into different realities (seriously, pictured above are The Barr Brothers performing on the Woods Stage at last year’s festival), and a diverse, genre-spanning lineup – the festival is wrapped up in a stress-free, family-friendly package. This includes limited capacity attendance, designated smoking areas, free water, a special lineup prepared just for children’s entertainment and free entry for kids under twelve.
This year marks the gathering’s 15th anniversary, so Pickathon 2013 is bringing some big names to the Pendarvis Farm from August 2nd through the 4th. With artists like Feist, Andrew Bird, Divine Fits and the rock and rollers of Kurt Vile & the Violators already filling out the bill, the festival recently announced new additions to the lineup – gospel funk legends The Relatives and San Francisco’s own Jessica Pratt and Ty Segall. For more information, head over to Pickathon’s official website and check out footage from Pickathon 2012 in the very first episode of Pickathon TV for a taste of what you can expect at this year’s festival.
May 10, 2013
May 6, 2013
The lovely people of Wood Shoppe are at it again. This time around, the monthly music series is bringing Southern California-based outfits PYYRAMIDS and The Hindu Pirates up to San Francisco to join the jangly rock and rollers of Cool Ghouls, four guys who have been making the city proud and earning accolades from the likes of Filter and Impose since the March release of their eponymous debut LP. Most recently, the band caught the attention of UK-based music and culture publication The 405, who premiered the music video for “Natural Life” last week. The video reflects exactly what makes Cool Ghouls so infectious: it is uncontrived and unapologetically filled with joy in the most refreshing way. It also features a bear suit, whiskey, and some of the most beautiful locations around the Bay Area. My favorite part: the full-body wiggle dance montage that starts at 1:40.
These guys have fun making music and leave the brooding to other outfits, so come have fun with them this Tuesday. Wood Shoppes’ own Wilson Zueng will be filling in the sound space between sets, and of course Brick & Mortar will be offering the standard Wood Shoppe deal — free entry, cheap drinks, rad bands, awesomeness.
Cool Ghouls, PYYRAMIDS, The Hindu Pirates, DJ Wilson Zueng
Brick & Mortar
May 7, 2013