Have you ever heard of a snowball? (Not the frozen thing, the sugary treat, or some kind of sex act). I’m talking about the totally wholesome retro swing dance thing in which eager dancers surround a couple or two on the floor. The band yells out “snowball!” and the dancers separate and grab someone else from the outer circle. “Snowball!” again and the circle widens, leading eventually to concentric circles of revelers swishing and swirling to live music.
Last night at Bottom of the Hill, Har Mar Superstar -- the Minnesota-bred soulful R&B and pop singer -- led the eager Tuesday night crowd in a rapidly devolving snowball. On first mention he yelled out, “It’s called a snowball! Go roller skating once 25 years ago!” And then continued to nudge the audience to keep finding new partners: “snowball!” “Snowball again!” Read more »
In the cyclical nature of sonic trends, shoegaze has risen from the grave and out of obscurity again. With old guard bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star releasing new material, acts from this generation are following in their footsteps, reviving what was once out of vogue.
And in the midst of this comes Whirr, a dichotomy of sound, layered and simplistic at the same time, wrapped up in a tight package. Formed in San Francisco in 2011, through what guitarist and founding member Nick Bassett describes as basic boredom, the six-piece outfit decries its shoegaze leanings, searching for a heavier sound. Read more »
Localized Appreesh is our thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact email@example.com
I'm a lover of past treasures. I like my music vinyl, and I like my mail snail. Sure, I download thousands (millions would be hyperbolic, right?) of tracks a year, send hundreds of emails a day, tweet with the rest of them, and then some. Technology is still my friend, but vintage pleasures will always be my lover. Hence, my delight with the arrival of a colorfully confetti'd physical postcard from psychedelia-minded local fuzz-pop trio Sunbeam Rd., announcing the group's 50th show. Read more »
R. Stevie Moore is cool. When was the last time you saw a 60-odd-year-old* man standing on stage shouting "where my bitches at" and repeated calls of "swag"? That kind of thing never happens.** (Though it did last night at the Noise Pop show at Bottom of the Hill with Moore, Fresh and Onlys, Plateaus, and Burnt Ones). Read more »
Although the notoriously devout David Eugene Edwards would probably be appalled to hear it, attending his shows is about as close to a religious experience as I ever get.
The ferociously intense frontperson of Wovenhand (as well as the former 16 Horsepower), Edwards was instrumental in the foundation of the hyper-localized alt-Americana/gothic-folk genre known as the Denver Sound, a category filled with moody ballads of shaken faith and raucous, C&W-tinged fire-and-brimstone.
And there’s just something about the sheer unapologetic bombast of his live presence that makes me want to don sackcloth and ashes on the spot and follow the path of the righteous — a feeling which lasts at least until I manage to break away from his sermon on the mount (or any rate, the Bottom of the Hill) to stumble home, still a sinner. Read more »
On Saturday night, a small cadre of dedicated fans waited patiently for Ben Chasny’s psychedelic folk project, Six Organs of Admittance, to take the stage at Bottom of the Hill just before midnight. Six Organs is currently touring the West Coast in support of their LP Ascent, which was released last month on Drag City. Members of his other project, the noise rock group Comets on Fire, accompanied Chasny on the album and onstage at BOH.
Lead guitarist Chasny and supporting guitarist Noel Harmonson, bassist Ben Flashman, and drummer Utrillo Kushner effectively drenched the punkish, gently swaying crowd in raw, unplugged, cacophonic tribal noise as they orchestrated spooky guitar symphonies, hard rock riffs, and fuzzed-out surf numbers. About half of Six Organs’ jams possessed an epic “I’m marching into battle with a large horned animal” vibe, and Chasny’s intermittent vocals felt dark, scratchy, wispy, and perhaps slightly demonic. Read more »
The luminous, blinking cocoons that have been rumored to grace the stages of Purity Ring’s live shows — as boasted by the lucky ones who have been able to get tickets to these consistently sold out performances — glowed with aqua-blue precision at Bottom of the Hill on Labor Day.
It was one of those elusive evenings the music gods hand craft. Every member of the crowd seemed to be in on this magical energy, knowing that sonic-satisfaction was promised to each and all by the end of the night. The Potrero Hill venue bustled with unanimous glee as the audience waited anxiously, gratefully, for the Halifax-Montreal-based duo to bring elegant live justice to its prodigious debut album, Shrines.
Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bhi Bhiman manages a joke when he coolly plucks bluesy guitar while singing about kimchi on “Kimchee Line” off his new album Bhiman (“it's cabbage time”). It's just not the food you'd expect to hear name-checked in a folky 1920s blues-style standard. (Though on another track, “Ballerina,” he does mention beans.) Despite this wry wink, his songs have an inherent sadness to them, which only makes more intriguing that irreverent style of telling socially conscious stories with lyrics you just wouldn't quite imagine there in another time period. It's the contemporary take on the classic style. Read more »
The 20th anniversary of Noise Pop is oh-so-close to upon us. In celebration and commemoration of how far the festival has come, and of the musicians who’ve made Noise Pop a much-anticipated Bay Area tradition, Bottom of the Hill will be hosting a retrospective photo gallery. The exhibit's opening reception takes place Tues/7 from 6 to 9 p.m. and is free to the public. Read more »