January 31, 2013
Shady Maples released their debut LP Unfold just over a year ago, and Saturday night they’re headlining at Bottom of the Hill. They’ll be joined by Goodnight Texas, who is on a national tour, and The Heavy Guilt out of San Diego. Unfold was primarily a collaboration between Berkeley guitarist Owen Roberts and San Diego’s Greg Peterson, who mostly played lap steel on the album. For the show Saturday, Peterson’s lap steel will be replaced with a combination of Shira Lee Katz’s cello and Micha Dubreuil’s organ. “Greg and I agree that having the time and space to rehearse is critical to putting on a good show and stimulating the writing process,” explains Roberts. “We’ll keep on collaborating for the rest of our lives, and we’ll collaborate with other musicians and songwriters along the way. So this weekend at Bottom of the Hill, Shady Maples is playing a set with new arrangements of familiar songs and raw new material.”
Below, you can check out an example of Shady Maples’ new sound in a video for “Its Influence”, recently recorded in their rehearsal space. It’s a subtle change from their original recording (which you can also stream below). It sounds a bit smoother than the album, so I think it works pretty well – you should go see more Saturday night.
Shady Maples, Goodnight Texas, The Heavy Guilt
Bottom of the Hill
February 2, 2012
January 24, 2013
After milling about in an unusually long door queue, I wandered into Bottom of the Hill on Friday night smack in the middle of Oakland-via-Santa Cruz garage-surf foursome Meat Market’s rowdy set. The youthful group, who can now add their name to the tremendous roster of spry, talented Bay Area garage rock bands, wore amused grins throughout the show, dedicating songs to enthusiastic friends in the pit. Their music is lightweight and danceable, the singing style a mix of surf rock staple ooh-aahs and sore throat inducing screeches.
LA-based Pangea played next and brought the same surf-punk-garage mix to the table, while adding a touch of desperation — I counted two songs with not just slacker themes, but slacker sex specifically. And anytime you make reference to your own inability to give it 100% (their mid-set hit “Too Drunk to Cum” comes to mind), you really don’t give a fuck.
Perhaps it’s a theme better left to the lonely and unwanted punk academic, but the performer willing to get on stage and sing about his own sexual failing turns our hyper-sexual pop music culture upside down. Whereas slacker punk has always been happy to rage against traditional notions of employment and healthy drug use (pro-alcoholism, namely), when Pangea openly described their own sexual regrets, it felt important, even if it comprised only a small portion of their set.
January 17, 2013
Originally formed in Santa Cruz while the band members attended college, the group pools a diverse set of musical interests, ranging from punk and garage to blues and old-school surf, into its sound. The result is a deftly combined mix of gritty garage rock tunes and sun-bleached melodies that calls to mind groups such as Black Lips and The Growlers.
Buzz from the band’s self-titled, Sugar Mountain-recorded album in early 2012 led to big plans for the upcoming year, including a new EP released by LA-based Under the Gun Records (home to Bay Area bands like Glitter Wizard and Grandma’s Boyfriend) and a stop at SXSW in March.
FIDLAR, Pangea, Meat Market
Bottom of the Hill
January 18, 2012
Bottom of the Hill hosting Sandy benefit tonight, 1/17/13, featuring Big Tree, Strange Vine, and more
January 17, 2013
It may be a new year, but the folks on the East Coast impacted by the recent mega-storm incongruously dubbed “Sandy” (as if it was some spunky neighborhood gal) are still trying to put the pieces back together. If you’re looking for a way to help, you can come rock out at Bottom of the Hill tonight.
The night features three Bay Area bands (indie-pop quartet and recent NYC-to-SF transplant Big Tree, Oakland-based genre-benders Bonnie & The BANG BANG, and dreamy SF folk group Owl Paws), as well as one of San Joaquin Valley’s finest (Fresno blues rock outfit Strange Vine).
Headliner Big Tree released a new EP, called Little, back in November. Here’s the lead single, “Time”, which you can stream or download to keep for your very own:
Big Tree, Strange Vine, Bonnie & The BANG BANG, Owl Paws
Bottom of the Hill
January 17, 2013
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post identified Owl Paws as “denizens of Fresno” when, in fact, they call San Francisco home.
January 16, 2013
San Francisco’s Giggle Party, who moved to the Bay from Dallas just over a year ago, recently released a three-song EP entitled This City Smells like Piss ahead of a headlining gig at Bottom of the Hill January 20th. The band likes to think of themselves as a strong live band, but their studio work is a lot of fun, too. All five members of the band sing (and sing loudly), with huge choruses and chants everywhere. Singer and bassist Jason Reichtel tells me that while their previous albums were primarily synth-driven, their time in San Francisco has led to more guitar-heavy songs, which is reflected in This City. Despite the slight change in style, they still sound like they can bring a party when they perform.
Listen to “These Vampires” off This City below and download or stream the rest from Giggle Party’s Bandcamp page. Giggle Party’s show at Bottom of the Hill is this Sunday night with support by Bella Novella and Spider Heart.
Giggle Party, Bella Novella, Spider Heart
Bottom of the Hill
January 20, 2013
January 9, 2013
Photo: John Taylor
Giraffage and Some Ember will open for Mister Lies on the San Francisco date of his West Coast tour this Friday, January 11th at Bottom of the Hill. The show marks the first Bay Area headlining performance for Mister Lies, the electronic solo project of Chicago’s Nick Zanca, and only his second San Francisco show ever.
On the flipside, the occasion also marks the last San Francisco show of Some Ember (for a while, at least), as the Dylan Travis-fronted synth-goth outfit is currently in the process of moving across the country from the East Bay to New York City. San Francisco’s Giraffage will hold it down between Some Ember and Mister Lies’ sets, dishing out his dancefloor-ready brand of glitchy dream pop.
We corresponded with Nick Zanca via email to stay up to speed on the Mister Lies West Coast tour, as well as the past, present, and future of the project. Dive into the interview, and listen to a handful of Mister Lies tracks, below.
Hi Nick. We are excited for Mister Lies’ San Francisco headlining debut on January 11th. What is your familiarity with the other artists on the bill, Giraffage and Some Ember?
Really stoked to be coming back. My first show as Mister Lies was actually at The Independent opening up for Tycho back in May 2012. The crowd was super enthusiastic and they gave off the best vibe, especially considering it was a hometown show for Scott (Hansen). It was one of those shows I’ll never forget. I’ve also been following Giraffage and Some Ember’s tunes a lot as of late – I was introduced to both through mutual friends in the industry.
We all met in the dorms as freshmen at Columbia and spent a vast of that first semester making beats together and bonding over R&B that was on the radio when we were kids (Ja Rule, Aaliyah, etc.) [More...]
January 2, 2013
Fever Charm of Oakland (above) is releasing their aptly titled album West Coast Rock And Roll at a show at Bottom of the Hill Saturday night, atop a fun, all-local bill. Joining Fever Charm will be San Francisco’s False Priest (the solo project of Evan Greenwald of Handshake), which will be releasing their debut album Uncanny Valley. It’s an all ages show, but keep that teenage angst at home, as these two bands make alternative rock and roll that is more fun than anything. Everyone is Dirty will be kicking things off, followed by alt-folksters Rin Tin Tiger. Below, listen to the first two singles from Fever Charm’s upcoming record, as well as tracks from False Priest and Rin Tin Tiger’s latest releases, along with a new video from Everything is Dirty.
December 18, 2012
L.A. garage-punk brats FIDLAR and Pangea will blow up Bottom of the Hill on January 18th with Oakland’s Meat Market. Even though the show is all ages, you can probably expect to leave covered in “Cheap Beer”:
FIDLAR, an acronym for “Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk”, was started in 2009 by guitarist Zac Carper. Joined by Elvis Kuehn, Brandon Schwartzel, Max Kuehn, the band achieves unlikely West Coast pop hooks with a manic sense of raw youthfulness and the aggressively lethargic push-and-pull of a passively rebellious lifestyle. The band will release its self-titled debut EP on January 22nd via Mom + Pop Music and Wichita Recordings. It is also currently available in cassette form from Burger Records. They succeed by sticking to what they know best: “The girl doesn’t call, my ex is a whore, I lost my phone, my car is a piece of shit, my friends are pieces of shit, I do too many drugs, I’m really awkward, I love Del Taco.”
FIDLAR recently premiered the track “Gimme Something” on Rolling Stone. The band calls the song “the international anthem for crackheads everywhere.” You can listen to it below, as well as another new FIDLAR track called “White On White”, via the band’s SoundCloud. [More...]