November 15, 2013
Anna: Seeing Lord Huron at this year’s Treasure Island Music Festival was an unexpected treat. I had previously listened to the band’s 2010 EPs (Mighty and Into the Sun), but had not yet heard the Lonesome Dreams full-length when the band took to the Bridge Stage on Sunday of the festival. I had idly enjoyed Lord Huron’s early EPs – meaning, I listened while at work and didn’t necessarily pay much attention – and seeing the band’s energy and hearing the live renditions made me wish I’d made more of a previous effort to actively listen. Since then, I keep finding myself hitting play on Lonesome Dreams, most often on “She Lit a Fire,” one of the album’s standout singles and a beautiful, echoey soundscape that both excites and soothes.
Jason: Two weeks ago, the artist behind one of my favorite albums of 2013, Kurt Vile, quietly dropped a stunningly beautiful collaboration with ambient psych act Sore Eros, an EP entitled Jamaica Plain. The title track was recorded with Sore Eros frontman (and former Violator) Robert Robinson back in the early part of last decade in the Boston neighborhood that shares its name and features some mesmerizing guitar noodling from Mr. Vile. It’s actually the second collab between the two artists this year – they previously released the Feeding Tube split 9-inch on 2208 Records. Stream “Jamaica Plain” below, don’t miss out on the album’s two b-sides, and be sure to also check out Vile’s other new EP it’s a big world out there (and i am scared), out next Tuesday on Matador.
Ben: “t h e _ s t a r s _ w e r e _ g o n e” is the newest track from local band Exray’s. The retro-futuristic hymnal-turned-pop-song is real headphone candy, a hushed gem powered by worn electronics and Jon Bernson’s wizened, world-weary vocals. The synths might sound aged, but there’s a deceptively rich layering going on as well, and that makes this one something to have on repeat.
May 8, 2013
Indie darling of the moment Kurt Vile will be playing a sold-out show at The Independent this Wednesday, May 8. The Philadelphia native is currently promoting his latest album, Wakin On A Pretty Daze, which has quickly become a critics’ favorite since its release early last month. Stylistically, the new album shows Vile’s subtle growth as a songwriter, with changes that are small compared to his previous record, 2010′s Smoke Ring For My Halo. Vile’s voice is still mumbly and smooth, and still thickly sweet, and his lyrics haven’t strayed far from being peppered with pretty metaphors.
Check out one of the two videos for single “Never Run Away,” a song with echoing vocals and a jangly guitar solo. Creatively making the best of a low budget, Vile introduces the video and plays the song on a record player while his adorable daughter runs around. Cuteness aside, this video amps one of the best songs on the album. (The more traditional/artistically directed music video is also worth checking out.)
May 1, 2013
In Live This Month, we sample some of the great local and out-of-town bands performing in the coming month in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Few recent artists have transitioned from lo-fi to hi-fi better than Kurt Vile, whose latest album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, is another winner from the Philly-based musician, full of long, languid songs that feel spacious but not aimless. A sense of space also guides Clinic‘s psych-pop offering Free Reign; in fact, the group just released an alternate collection, Free Reign II, with the original album’s songs reconfigured in an appropriately mind-expanding fashion by Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin. More tightly constructed is Shout Out Louds‘ album Optica. The Swedish band’s new release fuses elements of disco and chamber pop into lively, addictive tunes.
Like Vile, Mikal Cronin is also making the move from low to high fidelity look easy. Cronin’s been making great music for a while now, solo and as a member of Moonhearts and Ty Segall’s band, but MCII, arriving on Merge Records, feels like the big screen debut of a real power pop talent. Meanwhile, Sacramento’s Tera Melos just released a new album of frenzied, mathy rock called X’ed Out and are embarking on a US tour to support. With new records also arriving recently from Cool Ghouls and Metal Mother, it’s certainly a busy time for Bay Area bands.
Enjoy the podcast and then go see some shows!
About the bands:
Recorded for Japan: benefit compilation with Ariel Pink, Kurt Vile, many live tracks recorded in Brooklyn
August 10, 2011
Another fantastic benefit compilation to support Japanese earthquake relief efforts was released August 4th, featuring artists such asÂ Kurt Vile, Ariel Pink, and R. Stevie Moore performing the appropriately titled “You Are Too Far From Me,” with members of MGMT. Almost all of the songs on Recorded for Japan were actually recorded live in the Vacation Island studio in Brooklyn.
Stream Recorded for Japan online, and make your donation to the Japanese Red Cross for a full album download.
Recommended, 7/25-7/31: Ghost Animal, Woods/Fresh & Onlys, Grass Widow/Cold Showers, Thurston Moore/Kurt Vile
July 25, 2011
Every Monday, we’ll be offering you early picks for some of the week’s best concerts. Do you think we omitted something worthwhile? Let us know in the comments! Be sure to visit our Local Concert Calendar for an expanded set of daily listings.
Post-punk at Thee Parkside: Grass Widow, Dunes, Cold Showers and Petals
Thee Parkside hosts a night of jangly lo-fi and post-punk bands on Wednesday, July 27th (8pm, $8), headlined by locals Grass Widow. The trio will be joined by two LA bands featuring former members of Mika Miko, Dunes and Cold Showers. The show opens with new band Petals, which includes Hunx and Jess of Brilliant Colors.
Woods’ pre-Woodsist Fest show at The Independent
If you missed the boat on tickets for this weekend’s Woodsist Fest in Big Sur, you can still check out three of the performing bands at The Independent on Friday, July 29th (9pm, $16). Woods, The Fresh and Onlys, and The Mantles are all performing. Heck, even if you are going to Woodsist Fest, that’s just a high-quality lineup worth seeing anytime.
April 5, 2011
In Live This Month, we sample some of the great local and out-of-town bands performing in the coming month in the San Francisco Bay Area. April has a number of big artists with recent albums coming to town, including Kurt Vile, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and Akron/Family. Meanwhile, some great local artists are either concluding tours (like Papercuts) or kicking them off (like tUnE-yArDs). All told, it’s another busy month for rock and roll in the Bay Area. Enjoy this mix and then go check out some shows!
About the bands:
SF’s The Wrong Words (“Summer’s Gone”) just released the band’s first full length on the terrific Trouble in Mind Records. The band celebrates at The Knockout on April 8th, with The Mantles, Lenz, and Wet Illustrated.
Akron/Family‘s (“So It Goes”) latest album is S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT, available on Dead Oceans. The band performs at The Independent on April 8th and The New Parish on April 9th
The Rural Alberta Advantage (“North Star”) bring their consistently excellent live show to SF for two nights this month, as part of a tour with Lord Huron. See them April 12th and April 13th at Bottom of the Hill.
November 3, 2010
In Live This Month, we sample some of the great local and out-of-town bands performing in the next 30 days in the San Francisco Bay Area. November’s got a ton of great shows, with multiple bands from Denver (Tennis, Gauntlet Hair) and Philadelphia (Sun Airway, Kurt Vile) making noteworthy appearances, while a bunch of locals celebrate the release of new CDs (Eux Autres, Faun Fables, The Definite Articles, The Parties). Enjoy the mix and then go check out some shows!
About the bands:
Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier is the debut album from Philadelphia art-pop band Sun Airway (“Put the Days Away”). On November 5th, they’re opening for Bear in Heaven and Lower Dens at The Independent.
Jangly pop band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (“Say No To Love”) have been working on a new full length recently. The band joins labelmates Weekend and Seattle’s Grave Babies at The Independent on November 9th.
Kurt Vile‘s (“In My Time”) new 7″ debuts a cleaner sound from the songwriter and a hint of what might be to come on his next full length in 2011. The Soft Pack and Purling Hiss join Vile at the Rickshaw Stop on November 9th.
Bay Area retro-pop practitioners The Parties (“Let’s Call It Love”) released their latest work, Coast Garde, yesterday on Rainbow Quartz Records. They’re part of an all-local bill at the Hemlock Tavern on November 19th, alongside The Love Dimension and Trevor Childs & the Beholders.
Denver duo Gauntlet Hair (“I Was Thinking…”) have released a steady stream of exciting, noisy pop songs over the past year. Epicsauce presents Gauntlet Hair, Woodsman, Craft Spells, and Melted Toys at Milk on November 11th.
The Definite Articles (“Bumbershoot”) are a local chamber pop band whose first full length, King Merriweather, comes out this month. The band’s celebrating with two release shows at 32 Ocean on November 19th and 20th.
October 26, 2009