March 13, 2013
As the Art Boutiki prepares to move to its new location on Race Street, a few parties are being held to send off its South-First digs in style. The Art Boutiki will be hosting “closing ceremonies” this weekend: its last Big Rock Show, delivered in two installments.
Installment one, on March 15th, features local favorites Curious Quail, Brooke D., Drop Dead Sixty and more. Night #2 will see Picture Atlantic, Bent Knee, Rin Tin Tiger, Little Red Lung and Zen Zenith close up shop.
The new location, just barely 2 miles away, is undergoing some finishing touches. Shows haven’t been announced for the new space yet, but the comic shop and art gallery will open its doors on May 4th.
March 13, 2013
Cazadero‘s criminally under-the-radar Dusk to Dawn was one of my favorite albums of 2012 – from anywhere, not just the Bay Area. The album hit a sweet spot where country, folk, and pop from the 70′s meet while still managing to sound fresh and new.
Less than a year after Dusk to Dawn was released, they’re already back with a follow-up LP, Old Friends. The band shared three tracks from the album on their Bandcamp page, where you can also pre-order a vinyl copy that will ship this summer. It sounds like the album will continue with a similar retro vibe, but with more upbeat tempos than Dusk. You can listen to the standout title track from Old Friends below, and be sure to check out Cazadero live at Bottom of the Hill April 15.
March 11, 2013
Enjoy this 8tracks mix featuring local and touring bands performing in SF during the rest of this week. After the jump, find out more about when they’re all playing! For a full list of upcoming concerts in the SF Bay Area, check our Local Concert Calendar.
March 8, 2013
As you’ve probably noticed, our writers and photographers enjoyed quite a few shows during Noise Pop 2013 last week. Here’s a complete collection of links to all of the Noise Pop shows we saw during this year’s festival.
- Jason Lytle, Jenny-O, Will Sprott, Michael Statis at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall
- Paige K. Parsons’ Tuesday night photos
- XXYYXX, Teebs, Nanosaur, DJ Dials at the DNA Lounge
- !!! (Chk Chk Chk), White Arrows, The Mallard, The Yellow Dogs at the Great American Music Hall
- Ceremony, Terry Malts, Comadre, Permanent Ruin, Synthetic ID at the Rickshaw Stop
- Lovely Bad Things, Blank Tapes, Lake, Cruel Summer at the Hemlock Tavern
- The Fresh & Onlys, R. Stevie Moore, Plateaus, Burnt Ones at Bottom of the Hill
- Ramona Falls, Social Studies, Harriet, Mahgeetah at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall
- OBN IIIs, Fuzz, Blasted Canyons, G. Green at The Knockout
- Psychic Ills, Mike Donovan (Sic Alps), Föllakzoid, AAN at the Hemlock Tavern
- The Bay Bridged Noise Pop Happy Hour with Golden Void, Wild Moth, DSTVV at Bender’s
- Starfucker, Blackbird Blackbird at the Regency Ballroom
- Bay Bridged Happy Hour at Bender’s; Damien Jurado at The Chapel
- The Thermals, Dirty Ghosts, The SHE’S, Ev Kain at the Rickshaw Stop
- Jukebox the Ghost, Matt Pond, Lighthouse and the Whaler, French Cassettes at the Rickshaw Stop
- Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Before the Brave, Kacey Johansing at the Great American Music Hall
- Sonny & the Sunsets, Magic Trick, Cool Ghouls, Dune Rats at Bottom of the Hill
- Toro y Moi, Sinkane, Dog Bite, James & Evander at The Independent
- DIIV, Wax Idols, SISU, LENZ at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall
- Caspian, Native, Boyfrndz, The Dandelion War at Bottom of the Hill
March 7, 2013
Before I wrote my Best of 2012 list, Berkeley’s Anthony Ferraro told me his solo project, Astronauts, etc. was on a temporary hiatus. Luckily for us, the hiatus didn’t last long. Ferraro released a handful of tracks over the past month, including covers of Youth Lagoon and KING on his SoundCloud page. His most recent single, “Sideswiped”, came along with yet another outstanding space themed video from Ben Smith, who also created all three previous Astronauts, etc. videos. Ferraro’s strength as a composer really shines through on the “Sideswiped” – an instrumental version of the track could easily stand out on its own.
Ferraro will also play a couple of Astronauts, etc. shows in March with members of Ash Reiter and Bells Atlas forming his backing band. He’ll be at Bottom of the Hill on March 16, followed by an opening slot for Poolside at the Independent.
Watch the video for “Sideswiped” and stream/download audio of the track via SoundCloud, below, and then check out video of an incredible live version of “Swideswiped” where Ferraro plays piano, sings, and plays the drum track on a second keyboard.
Review & Photos: Sonny & the Sunsets, Magic Trick, Cool Ghouls, and Dune Rats @ BOTH 3/2/13 (Noise Pop 2013)
March 5, 2013
Noise Pop 2013 – Sonny & the Sunsets @ Bottom of the Hill 3/2/13 – photo by Jackie Andrews
I was excited to check out Dune Rats, who came all the way out here from Australia to melt ears with their slacker rock, but a single-tracking BART train from the East Bay made me late. Luckily I was able to catch the last half of their set. Self-described as a “budstep” band, they do a pretty good job of channeling the early 90s aesthetic of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Nirvana, Wayne’s World, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for starters. In other words, they are your new best friends. Seriously, these guys are FUN.
Next up was Cool Ghouls, who create energized 60s-style garage and flower power psychedelia that got the crowd moshing almost instantly. They recently played a show in the cave adjacent to Sutro Baths, so they obviously live up to their name.
Next, Magic Trick took the stage and, after a rocky start (guitars were out of tune which lead to an abrupt stop and a little bickering, followed by guitarist Noelle Cahill flipping Tim Cohen the bird with smile), they settled in with their crescendo-y ballads accompanied by thoughtful, sage-like delivery of vocals and large hand gestures from Cohen.
Sonny & the Sunsets shared drummer James Kim with Magic Trick, so set-up was quick. Sonny Smith greeted the audience and assured the crowd that it was his bandmates and NOT he who had done illicit substances when he was clearly the one who was befuddled and more than a little intoxicated. He was on fire, charmingly interacting with the crowd (“I lost my belt somehow”) and his bandmates, tossing LPs and t-shirts into the crowd, and toward the end of his set requesting that the lights be turned down to play in intimate darkness. They played all of their most rocking songs, including fan favorite and crowd request, “Too Young to Burn.” Definitely the best and most entertaining Sonny & the Sunsets performance I’ve seen yet, FTW.
Review & Photos: Caspian, Native, Boyfrndz, The Dandelion War @ Bottom of the Hill, 3/3/13 (Noise Pop 2013)
March 5, 2013
Caspian (Photo: Mike G.)
Photo Gallery: Emily Turner
Noise Pop 2013 has come and gone, and it ended on an epically high note. Post-rock mainstays Caspian were towering and majestic, a thing of primal beauty, on Sunday night at Bottom of the Hill, but that being said, supporting act Native was the real story of the night for me, if only because I knew nothing about them going in, and they officially earned my “best new discovery” award for the whole festival.
Oakland’s The Dandelion War opened, and they were the sole local band on the bill. It was an early show, so I missed the first half of their set. I walked in on a hard driving post-rock tune featuring a xylophone. The band’s take on post-rock is pretty standard as far as post-rock goes, except they throw in quite a bit of vocals (for a genre known mostly for instrumentals), maracas, and of course that xylophone (which actually is kind of a post-rock staple—Caspian had one too).
Boyfrndz flew out from their hometown, Austin, just for the show, so they were playing on borrowed gear, which probably contributed to the technical difficulties they experienced early in the set. But once they got it together, they locked into their groove. Their sound leans more toward pure noise rock than the rest of the bands on the bill, but the live loops laid down on almost every song by their guitarist gave their set an experimental vibe. They were also insanely loud. Last time I saw them they were on tour with their own gear, and they were pretty damn loud then too, so I don’t think that was another side effect of playing on someone else’s gear. That’s just how they like it.
Still, Boyfrndz wasn’t the loudest band of the night. I’d say Native takes that title. The band, which hails from Indiana, plays music that is equally influenced by hardcore and post-metal, to my ears. It’s a pretty original formula, and a pretty damn thrilling one, too. It helps that the band has the chops to pull off some wicked rhythmic interplay between the bass and drums, and to lay intricately arranged guitars on top with some extremely tight starts and stops. That’s where the hardcore comes in—abrupt changes not being a common feature of the post-metal genre, which typically moves at a more glacial pace—in addition to the vocals, which were exclusively shouted in a hardcore punk snarl. Apparently Native were playing mostly new material from an album they plan to release in July, and the band told me it’s all darker than their old stuff. It’s a pretty safe bet I’ll be writing about this band again come the summer.
It’s been over three years since Caspian made the trek from their home base in Boston to play San Francisco, and the band seemed as stoked to be back as their fans were to see them. Caspian is one of the main bands that gets name-dropped whenever the topic of post-rock comes up, along with the likes of Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, but their music is decidedly more ambient than those two. It’s so ambient, in fact, that there’s very little in the way of melody, and certainly nothing you’d really call a hook (not that Explosions or Mogwai are at all incorporating pop hooks, but they generally have something a little more catchy going on). Caspian still achieves the mountainous walls of delay and reverb that is a staple of their genre, but they do it in a more subtle, creeping kind of way. One minute it’s all calm and serene, and before you even realize what’s going on, the band is wailing away on some of the most epic, monolithic music you’ve ever heard.
Thanks for lots more fun this year, Noise Pop. ‘Til next time…
Review & Photos: The Fresh & Onlys, R. Stevie Moore, Plateaus, and Burnt Ones @ Bottom of the Hill, 2/27/13 (Noise Pop 2013)
March 1, 2013
Photos by Lauren Espina
This week’s Noise Pop 2013 festivities continued at Bottom of the Hill on Wednesday night with toe-tapping performances from San Francisco garage rockers Burnt Ones and The Fresh & Onlys, plus San Diego’s Plateaus and D.I.Y. legend R. Stevie Moore. Each of the four bands is a quartet, providing for a well-rounded rock show.
Burnt Ones warmed up the stage with an impressive rock ‘n’ roll set. Frontman Mark Tester relied on feedback from his amp to provide the set with gritty distorted guitar sound as he belted out his vocals to the crowd. Amy Crouch kept time on the band’s two-piece drum kit, communicating with her band members through glances and smirks. Adam Finkin of Blasted Canyons joined Tester as the second guitar player for the show, with Brian Allen on bass. The band offered a taste of their forthcoming LP You’ll Never Walk Alone, ripping through their latest singles “Strawberry Tombs” and “Fountain of Youth.” Tester even attempted to shred his guitar behind his head for all of two-and-half seconds, setting the tone for the evening.
San Diego pop-rockers Plateaus hit the stage next, incorporating elements of punk and surf-rock into their danceable rock set. The quartet play a no-frills set of bouncy anthems recalling summer days on the beach.
Twenty minutes after Plateaus packed up, R. Stevie Moore’s backing band hopped on stage, consisting of guitarist J.R. Thomason plus a drummer and an additional guitar/keyboard player. They were closely followed by a man with a cotton candy blue Santa Claus beard protruding from his black hoodie, who proved to be none other than American lo-fi legend R. Stevie Moore. Moore, now 61, is a pioneer of D.I.Y. music, with over 400 home and studio recorded releases to his name. The casual showman was armed with a bass guitar, which had a baby doll head covering one of the tuning knobs.
The band opened with what I think may have been a rendition of “Mason Jar”, followed by “Carolyn Will You Come”. Moore then plopped down in a chair positioned a couple feet behind his microphone, caught his breath, and blew the audience a kiss. He quickly stood back up and said, I kid you not – “Where my bitches at? Swag, swag, swag, swag, swag…” – successfully getting a rise out of the young crowd. Thomason, out of breath, asked for more vocals in his monitor. Moore and his band continued to serve up pop-rock jams from his extensive back catalog. Recognizable numbers included “Play Myself Some Music” (after which Moore ad-libbed “she blinded me with silence…silence”) a former collaboration with Ariel Pink called “Irony”, and “I Like to Stay Home”, one of his earliest hits.
The band took a brief intermission, then returned on stage for a few more songs. “Hella love y’all,” Moore said to the enamored audience, explaining that the band was touring from Vancouver to San Diego, or, “to hell and back… hella.” Moore threw off his hoodie and clipped dark lenses onto his glasses, finishing his memorable set with more stage antics such as lying down and playing on the floor.
SF garage rock favorites The Fresh & Onlys closed with a set spanning fourteen cuts from the quartet’s catalog. The band opened with “Wash Over Us” and focused mostly on material from last year’s Long Slow Dance. Sneaking in a pair of tracks from each of their previous full-lengths, The Fresh & Onlys ended with “Diamond in the Dark”, followed by an encore of “Endless Love” and “Feelings in my Heart” from their self-titled debut.
To say that frontman Tim Cohen was in rare form would be an overstatement, but his inebriated banter was nonetheless entertaining. Rather than babies or hallucinogens, his chosen topic for the night was Fireball Whiskey, which the bar did not carry. “Fireball is what keeps the positive sweat coming through the pores,” Cohen said, after he already claimed to be seeing double. Before “Fire Alarm”, he announced, “This is our fifth song,” and then instructed the audience to hug it out during “Loving Kindness”. No flubs in the performance, though. The seasoned rockers sounded as fantastic as usual. Cohen dedicated “Fog Machine” to San Francisco, admitting that he misses the City since moving to Arizona. He did, however, make a concerted effort to shut himself up and finish the set, not that anyone minded his jokes.
Overall the night was a lot of fun, and although fans seemed to be conserving their energy for the rest of the festival, a rocking good time was had for all.