Frances Capell

No time wasted

Japandroids' 'Celebration Rock' lives up to its name

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC "The record couldn't be called anything else," says Japandroids' Brian King of the band's sophomore LP, Celebration Rock, released last Tuesday on Polyvinyl Records. "It just seemed to sum up — not just the album, but the sound of the band as a whole."Read more »

Rollercoaster

Hop on the Bear in Heaven thrill ride

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC "I get frustrated when things are repeating in life," says Jon Philpot of Brooklyn trio Bear In Heaven. "I feel like I'm always trying to find ways to push people into doing things that maybe they don't feel comfortable with or haven't done before."Read more »

Deep aroma

Perfume Genius whips struggle into piano pop

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC At some point in our lives, we all feel lost or confused, like we're picking up the pieces of our broken selves and trying glue them back together. Rather than surrender, Seattle's Perfume Genius, aka Mike Hadreas, takes these experiences and turns them into art.

Recorded at his mother's house after a battle with addiction, Hadreas' 2010 debut Learning (Matador) was an understated, deeply personal collection of lo-fi piano pop songs that earned him critical recognition and a circle of devoted fans.Read more »

Snap Sounds: Young Magic

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YOUNG MAGIC
MELT

(CARPARK)

Hearing a band being described as "tribal electronic" gives me a headache, but Young Magic actually pulls it off on its debut full-length, Melt. This New York-via-Australia trio works irregular drum machine beats, swirling synths, and haunting vocals into dark, psychedelic pop songs. The sluggish, heavily reverbed "Night In The Ocean" is sensual and explosive. With its fluttering synths and repeated "I found love with you" vocals, "Jam Karet" is catchy and almost chant-like. "The Dancer" opens with a few creepy music box notes, and features what sounds like a shrieking tropical bird. Read more »

New year

Singer-songwriter Ezra Furman of the Harpoons made the leap to San Francisco and didn't look back

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MUSIC Waiting for his coffee at Cafe Divis, Ezra Furman (who performs Sat/11 at Hotel Utah) flips through the latest issue of the Guardian. "I've been meaning to do more drugs," he says, pointing to the cannabis column, Herbwise. The wheels in Furman's head seem to always be in motion; there's a constant mischievous look in his eyes. We've met here to discuss the most recent product of his overactive imagination — his solo debut, The Year of No Returning, released on Tuesday through Furman's own Kinetic Family Records.Read more »

Live Shots: Starfucker and Painted Palms at Great American Music Hall

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Though Starfucker hails from Portland, Ore., it’s easy to see why the band feels at home here. If a bunch of hip, pasty dudes performing in drag doesn’t scream “San Francisco,” I don’t know what does. Its name is edgy enough to elicit parental concern (the less offensive STRFKR is often used instead), but Starfucker’s trendy synth-pop is catchy and sweet. Read more »

Localized Appreesh: Swiftumz

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Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. Each week a band/music-maker with a show, album release, or general good news is highlighted and spotlit. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com. This installment is guest written by Frances Capell.

If you pick up a copy of Swiftumz’s (a.k.a. Chris McVicker’s) LP, Don’t Trip (Holy Mountain), you’ll notice a purple sticker that says “CALL ME,” and lists his phone number. Weird, yes, but it’s the same endearing candor that lights up McVicker’s darling lo-fi pop tunes. His retro guitar hooks and fragile, imperfect voice remind me of Girls’ Chris Owens, but McVicker is one of a kind. Check out the album, give him a call, or go see him at the Hemlock Tavern this Saturday. Read more »

Live Shots: Main Attrakionz and G-Side at Independent

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Despite all the local and national attention Oakland's “Best Duo Ever” Main Attrakionz has been receiving lately, the Independent was less populated than I expected last Tuesday night. It was an appreciative bunch, however, with a handful of bloggers and collaborators joining fans to show the act love. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Mwahaha

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MWAHAHA
MWAHAHA
(Mwahaha Music)

Poor choice in band name aside, Oakland psych-rock quartet Mwahaha's debut has a lot to offer. On album opener "Swimmer," Ross Peacock sings "I swim deeper through darkness and danger / from the surface and its beautiful light" in an alluring falsetto over warm synth tones.  Read more »

Live Shots: Avey Tare at New Parish

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It’s been over a year since Dave Portner – the yelping member of Animal Collective better known as Avey Tare – released his crocodile-inspired solo debut Down There (Paw Tracks). Maybe Tare needed to spend some time away from the songs that dealt with divorce, death, and illness, as he only recently set out on tour in support of the album. He finished his brief solo tour on Sunday night at Oakland’s New Parish, and I couldn’t wait to finally check him out. Read more »