February 13, 2013
Last month, LA-based Foxygen (made up of Jonathan Rado and Sam France) released a video that doubles as a time machine back to San Francisco circa 1973. The duo spends the track, simply and appropriately titled (you guessed it) “San Francisco,” frolicking through Golden Gate Park and emulating The Velvet Underground’s Loaded in a pink hotel room. It may be an out-of-towner’s rendition of SF, but the Kinks-esque, subdued psychedelic sound and acid-dancing under the trees sure evoke some post-Summer of Love nostalgia. Check out the video below:
The psych-pop two-piece released a new album, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, on Jagjaguwar, and apparently each track on the sophomore LP ”was a message of peace delivered from cosmic beings who used France and Rado as their messenger vessels.” Sounds good to me. Luckily they’ll be in SF tonight, opening for Unknown Mortal Orchestra alongside Wampire at the Great American Music Hall.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foxygen, Wampire
Great American Music Hall
February 13, 2013
February 4, 2013
“I remember when we couldn’t even get a show in this town…and now we’re at the FUCKING Fillmore,” proclaimed Geographer frontman/guitarist/synth-master Michael Deni last Thursday night, during a banter-break between floating falsettos and pulsing synths. This set the scene for the evening: Geographer hasn’t played in their San Francisco home turf since October ’12, so Deni, cellist/electro-tech Nathan Blaz, and drummer Brian Ostreicher were more than ready for a sold-out 1,200-person family reunion.
Geographer’s had about a year to let the bubbly, airy electro-pop tunes on their latest release, Myth, settle a bit. The adoring crowd at The Fillmore was equally as pumped to hear Myth‘s “Life of Crime,” “Blinders,” and “Lover’s Game” as they were for some older tracks, like the psychedelic-electro “Original Sin” and ubiquitous single “Kites” from Animal Shapes. With each song, Deni and the crew cast graceful, effervescent synth sounds and crystal-clear vocals over an undulating audience. Their set was equal parts indie-electronica, and rawer guitar-laden pop-rock, but both sides of the three-piece gave the packed-in venue a buoyant, 90-minute (most-likely drunken) dance party.
Fitting for the family reunion, San Francisco-based Midi Matilda opened for Geographer (in addition to ex-Scattered Trees/fellow synth-ophiles On An On). A little more tongue-in-cheek and a lot more on-stage snark, the duo (Logan Grimé and Skyler Kilborn) did a solid job of setting the mood. I knew this was going to get entertaining when the percussionist emerged from his drum set and danced across the stage with a tambourine, but the best part was obviously their coordinated, funkified dance break. That, and the furious tribal drum-slaying that ended their set.
February 1, 2013
San Francisco folk-rocker Thao Nguyen and her band The Get Down Stay Down have a sparkly new album by the name of We the Common, out February 5th. We’ve already heard some early tracks, “We the Common (for Valerie Bolden)” and “Holy Roller,” but the latest to surface is a much-anticipated collaboration with freak-folk wunderkind Joanna Newsom (who also dwelled in the Bay Area for a time, little-known tidbit).
The clip-clop acoustic tune, “Kindness be Conceived,” is simplistic, lighthearted, and gorgeously harmonized (the combination of their voices is almost Feist-esque). The track seems to declare an equal mix of Nguyen and Newsom, with Thao’s upbeat and rattling guitar pop and Joanna’s tinkling, whimsical vocals.
If you can’t get enough of Nguyen, luckily she’s embarking on a US tour to coincide with the release of We the Common. She’ll play with The Get Down Stay Down at Amoeba SF on February 5th and will chime in for the Noise Pop 2013 roll call on March 2nd, when she’ll rock the Great American Music Hall. More details and We the Common‘s track listing are below.
January 24, 2013
Fresh from the infamous Girls break-up of 2012, Christopher Owens‘ newest project and solo debut, Lysandre, dropped last week (1/14/13) on Turnstile/Fat Possum. The candid, more poppy release was met with a resounding chorus of critic approval, as Drowned in Sound writes:
These songs marry the simplicity of the debut’s structures with the overarching consistency and ornamentation of record three (on this go round, adding a good deal of rasping sax and wistful flute), and it’s fun to hear how the two disparate periods of Owens’ trajectory meld together. Songs like ‘Here We Go Again’ and ‘New York City’ account for the otherwise baffling disappearance of the early surf-rock influences, while numbers like the title track snap with Owens’ penchant for tum-tee-tum pop (which enjoyed its final hurrah in Father, Son, Holy Ghost’s ‘Magic’).
Along with the new record, West Coasters also get a whole new set of tour dates. Owens will trek from San Diego to Vancouver during the last few weeks of March, hitting San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts on the 23rd. Tour dates and tickets are available on his website.
Palace of Fine Arts
March 23, 2013
November 2, 2012
Emily Wells released her newest album, Mama, back in April, and it’s safe to say it made a solid impression. So much so, in fact, that 13 bands—including Lemonade, Ed Rodriguez of Deerhoof, The Blow, and Dan the Automator—felt compelled to render their own versions of one of the 13 tracks on Mama. And voila: Mama Remixed was born.
Fans of weirdo pop along the lines of Joanna Newsom, Grimes or Zola Jesus will find plenty to like on both Mama and Mama Remixed. Better yet, anyone who’s ever wondered what it would sound like if Joanna Newsom recorded a bunch of songs written by Zola Jesus and produced by Grimes will have all their questions answered in one fell swoop. Emily Wells takes classical instrumentation, processes it through a folk singer’s lens, and then applies dark hip hop production…or something. I don’t know what you call it, honestly, except really, really intriguing and catchy music.
But don’t just take my word for it. Stream Mama Remixed below, or download it for free here.
Wells is wrapping up a tour with Dark Dark Dark, but before they pack it in, the tour is rolling through the Bay Area. There are two dates to choose from: tonight at the New Parish in Oakland and tomorrow night at the Bottom of the Hill in SF. Emily’s live show is something to behold, so do yourself a favor and get over to one (or both) of her two gigs this weekend. Get full details on both shows, as well as more music from Wells, after the jump.
August 3, 2012
NorCal-via-Iowa psychedelic blues rock outfit Radio Moscow is closing out its summer tour with a gig this Sunday night at San Francisco’s Cafe Du Nord. Following a January onstage meltdown in Iowa that left singer, guitarist, and creative force Parker Griggs without a band on the eve of his first tour of the year, he recruited bassist Billy Ellsworth (Red Octopus) and drummer Lonnie Blanton (Red Dog Revival) to fill out the lineup, and the reformed throwback power trio has since been on the road seemingly nonstop.
Griggs and company’s summer run kicked off up in Tahoe at the end June, and then wound all over the States and parts of southern Canada, before landing in the Bay Area for this Sunday’s grand finale. Joining Radio Moscow throughout have been Memphis “proto-punk and soul” band Dirty Streets and the legendary purveyor of liquid lights Mad Alchemy (aka Lance Gordon). Hayes Valley-born Coo Coo Birds will also jump into the fray on Sunday.
Since dropping their third studio album, The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz, last fall, Radio Moscow has continued to release a steady stream of material, starting with their previously unreleased debut album 3 & 3 Quarters, recorded in 2003 when Griggs was only about 17 or 18. The album, which came out in April, is a raw demonstration of Griggs’ beginnings back in Story City, Iowa–more garage punk than blues rock. Check out “About To Crash” below:
October 4, 2011
The latest from Wax Idols (via Raven Sings the Blues) is a fantastic one-two punch of surf-inspired garage pop. “Gold Sneakers” is the first single from Wax Idols’ full-length debut, No Future, out October 25th via Hozac.
Wax Idols are heading out on a fall tour with Terry Malts (thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign) starting October 20th in Los Angeles – all tour dates can be found on the above poster. Before that, Wax Idols will be playing a doozy of a local show this Friday, October 7th, opening for the Fresh & Onlys and Tamaryn at the Great American Music Hall (9:00 pm, $14/advance, $16/door).
April 1, 2011
Have you heard Silian Rail‘s Parhelion, out on Parks and Records? How about . . . and I you, to pieces, via 500 Records? Both are pretty fantastic, so taking some time to listen and enjoy ASAP is recommended. Oh wait, have you seen the band play live yet? Here are some opportunities.
Silian Rail tour dates: [More...]