December 14, 2011
We might be biased, but, from this vantage point, 2011 reconfirmed that the Bay Area continues to have the most vibrant music community nationwide. The SF scene cranked out a ton of amazing albums this year, and our final podcast of 2011 highlights twelve great releases from Bay Area artists over the past twelve months. This isn’t a “Best of” list per se, but these acts did create some of our favorite music in 2011. We’ll be doing more year-in-review coverage over the next few weeks, but, for now, enjoy this collection of great songs from this year.
Lumerians – Atlanta Brook”
Dominant Legs – “Where We Trip The Light”
We’d been awaiting Dominant Legs’ full length for a while, and Invitation did not disappoint. The SF band created a unique world of buoyant, shimmering pop on the album, with Ryan Lynch and Hannah Hunt’s vocal interplay a particular highlight.
Mikal Cronin – “Get Along”
Before this year, Mikal Cronin had collaborated with Ty Segall on Reverse Shark Attack, and released records with Moonhearts, but his self-titled solo album allowed his unique psych-pop talent to take center-stage.
Exray’s – “Hesitation”
Part Time – “I Wanna Take You Out”
As Part Time, David Speck released a collection of synth-pop gems on Mexican Summer in July. He’ll be following up What Would You Say? with a new 7″ soon.
tUnE-yArDs – “Powa”
Does this one even need any observation? tUnE-yArDs’ profile skyrocketed with the release of the universally-acclaimed w h o k i l l, and we couldn’t be happier.
August 3, 2011
Photos by Nicole Browner and Ben Van Houten
Last weekend in Big Sur, Woodsist Records and (((folkYEAH!))) teamed up to present the sublimely wonderful 2011 Woodsist Fest. These photos showcase most of the many bands that played at the Fernwood Resort and Henry Miller Library, but they just can’t come close to capturing the natural beauty of Big Sur that enveloped the weekend.
Musically, the highlights were many. The new Real Estate songs have me really excited about the new record. The Fresh and Onlys and Woods should figure out some way to tour in their “Big Band” configuration. Also, they should cut an album of Neil Young covers.
Most impressive, though, were two standout performances featuring the brothers Presley. Saturday night, Nodzzz reminded me why I loved Innings so much earlier this year (and why I need to revisit it pronto). Sunday, Sean Paul joined his brother Tim and the rest of White Fence for a set that was so revelatory, Tim Cohen dedicated the Fresh and Onlys set to them, song-by-song.
Thanks again, Woodsist Fest. I hope to see you next year.
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May 17, 2011
Innings is the excellent new album from SF trio NODZZZ, out today on Woodsist. The record’s nervy, poppy jangle feels timeless in the best possible way. If you’d discovered Innings as a cassette 20 years ago, it would’ve sounded great, and I think someone discovering it 20 years from now will feel that same immediacy.
Via e-mail, NODZZZ’s Anthony Atlas shared some insights about approaching the new record, the band’s Olympia origins, the value of brevity, and much more. NODZZZ performs at the Hemlock Tavern on May 26th (9pm, $7) with Milk Music and Doors US.
For people who know NODZZZâ€™s previous work, how would you describe Innings? Where does the new album find the band?
With this set of songs, I tried to push myself musically by trying chords and arrangements which were new to me. Our first record was comprised of many songs which were actually the first ones I’d ever written with a guitar (before that I only played bass,) so with this record I hear more of the dual-guitar thing that me and Sean have been evolving in NODZZZ. Sean plays the leads, I play the simpler single-note bits, and so on Innings, hopefully you hear more color, or as I’ve been saying lately about busier music, more “data.”
It feels like a number of songs on the album touch on ideas about family and a sense of personal history. What music did you grow up listening to? Do you think any of it still has any influence on you?
I grew up listening to obvious 90′s undergound and overground music. Bought Nirvana & Green Day bootleg CD’s with my allowance. Then in middle-school and high school got WAY into hardcore and punk. I had a hardcore band with Pete (original Nodzzz drummer) which put out a bunch of records and toured the US. We broke up before our senior year. I think the ideas about family and personal history have more to do with growing up in my strange, bizarrely affluent New Jersey hometown, which is what “Ye Olde Indian Towne” is about, and its nod to Bruce Springsteen who was a resident there. Now I think less about hardcore & punk, and more about Bruce. His lyrics have so much data.
The bandâ€™s roots are in Olympia. What kind of impact did the Olympia scene have on your musical interests?
Olympia is the primary reason why NODZZZ exist. First, that’s where me and Sean first met and played music together. Second, when I moved to California my other band called Study Buddies broke up and morphed into Gun Outfit in my absence. I had other close Olympia friends which were doing music when I left too (Sisters, Sex Vid, White Boss), and I wanted to be a part of that scene while I was down here, at CCA. So I spent all my free time, (I had tons), writing Study Buddies-styled songs and learning how to play guitar. I just felt left out! But when Sean moved to SF, the songs came together right away. So the Olympia thing is more about a small community of bands at that time and less about the Beat Happening legacy or anything like that. I love all that stuff though. Eli from LAKE is an active musician in the Olympia scene, and he recorded our LP, actually. For free!
Themes about getting older and slowing down a bit also seem to come up several times. Is that a correct read? What is your outlook on the process of getting older?
It’s a correct-ish read I think. I think some of the songs could also be about lamenting the passing good times too. Pretty common theme, but seems San Francisco is always grieving about some past heyday or another, and if you think about it, this city is literally burdened with preserving its past. Just yesterday, I was walking to Office Max and I saw all the commemorative graffiti on the outside wall of the Eagle. It makes you sad. Near “Veni Vidi Vici,” someone wrote, “The best is yet to come.” That’s the same simple idea behind “Heyday Past Heyday Due.”
Where and with whom did you record Innings? How did the recording process compare to your past efforts?
March 2, 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. As South by Southwest approaches later in March, bands are hitting the road, crisscrossing the US before converging on Austin.
What this means for Bay Area music fans is a ton of buzz-backed touring bands stopping in SF, and equally promising locals playing some final shows before heading out on the road. Enjoy this mix and then go check out some shows!
About the bands:
SF’s Nodzzz (“Time [What's It Going to Do]“) is about to head out on a European tour with The Mantles. Before that, the band will be at The Knockout on March 2nd with Personal & The Pizzas and Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick.
OC/LA/SF band Moonhearts (“I Said”) are one of the many great garage bands playing at the Burger Boogaloo festival later this month. Catch them at El Rincon on March 25th with Strange Boys, Ty Segall and many more.
Local surf punks The Traditional Fools (“Davey Crockett”) are reuniting for a show at the Burger Boogaloo. They’ll be at Thee Parkside on March 26th, with Audacity, Culture Kids and several more bands.
March 2, 2011
Before they head out on a European tour with The Mantles, Nodzzz is playing a handful of California dates. Tonight’s show at The Knockout (9pm, $8) — the group’s last SF show prior to touring — is a doozy, with Nodzzz joined by the also terrific Personal & The Pizzas and Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick. Check it out!
Nodzzz’s new album, Innings, is coming later this year on Woodsist. Full tour dates below.
January 31, 2011
Sometimes I feel like I’ve seen it all with Rock and Roll, but when I first saw Monotonix at Treasure Island last year I realized I was wrong (again). Monotonix hail from Tel Aviv, and life there certainly creates quite a few interesting characters. The band claims this is their last tour, as the drummer, Bonanza, is about to be a father. “This is a historic moment” yelled lead singer Ami Shalev, insisting everyone sit on the floor.
The band pulled a lot of the same moves as they did at Treasure Island, but it was far more intense in the familiar confines of the Rickshaw. They set up on the floor, surrounded by swirling, swarming fans. Shalev jumped off the stage and onto the crowd. He swam across the sea of heads and climbed up to the balcony railing, singing all the while. With a brief count: “1,2,3″, he jumped back into the crowd.
January 3, 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! Also, we’ve launched a new Local Concert Calendar, which you should be sure to check out for an expanded set of daily listings. Bands/promoters/managers, feel free to submit your own shows to the Calendar too.
White Fence and The Babies’ joint tour comes to SF
Darker My Love’s Tim Presley explores more warped, lo-fi terrain as White Fence, with a new album on Woodsist out next week. Sunday, January 9th at the Hemlock Tavern (8:30pm, $7), he’ll be playing alongside The Babies, Grass Widow and Bad Back. Presley’s not the only one on the bill who does double duty in another band — The Babies is led by Kevin Morby (Woods) and Cassie Ramone (Vivian Girls).
Melted Toys and Nodzzz bookend all-local lineup at The Eagle
SF’s Melted Toys are a moody synth-pop band whose debut EP is out this year on Underwater Peoples. The band opens an excellent show this Thursday at The Eagle. Nodzzz, who I believe have a new album coming out in 2011, headlines, alongside The Mantles and The Art Museums.
Download: True Panther releases “Finally Champions” comp featuring new music from a ton of Bay Area bands
November 18, 2010
The folks at True Panther have just released a remarkable compilation of new and unreleased music from Bay Area bands, with the dual purposes of celebrating the Giants’ recent World Series victory and benefiting the SF Coalition on Homelessness. It’s only $1, and it’s full of songs from SF’s best, including previously unreleased tracks from Ty Segall, Nodzzz, Sonny and the Sunsets and many, many more. Head to True Panther for more details.