San Francisco

Before Outside Lands: the Easy Leaves prep for summer fests, hope to catch Willie Nelson

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Kevin Carducci and Sage Fifield of the Easy Leaves really are pretty easy-going. But take away their opportunity to do what they love and you might have a problem. Luckily, they’re currently living their dream. And lucky for us, it makes for some well-crafted, enjoyably smooth folk tunes.Read more »

Lia Rose lets go on new album ‘Bricks and Bones’

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Bay Area country-folk artist Lia Rose is a ball of sunshine both on stage and off. But if you listened to her songs, you’d know it’s not because life’s been easy, it’s just that she’s chosen to face its struggles head on, chin up.

Rose played the Great American Music Hall with Blame Sally in early May and performed on NPR’s West Coast Live in April, where she met author Ruth Ozeki, with whom she’s currently collaborating on a song. Her second full-length solo album Bricks and Bones will be released this Sat/20, the night of her record-release party at the Chapel in San Francisco. In short, the bubbly, talented musician is doing quite well. Read more »

Live Shots: Phono del Sol 2013 with Thee Oh Sees, Marnie Stern, Surf Club

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John Dwyer stood holding his guitar, smiling and making small talk with the crowd, having been asked by a Phono del Sol staffer to hold off while, presumably, the band on the other stage finished up its set. “Alright, I think we’re just going to get started,” he said, seemingly without cue, and Thee Oh Sees began playing, giving the day a much needed jolt in energy. Read more »

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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This week I learned that if I should ever be presented with the chance to interview Selena Gomez, I should decline. The Toronto Star published this biting commentary on the current state of press interviews with pop stars, and had more information leading up to the interview than the actual chat. Recommended reading: “Meeting Selena Gomez rule No. 1: Do not mention Justin Bieber.”

Often, the story behind the stage is even more compelling. And there are some storied acts playing live in SF this week: local emcee DaVinci busts out with a freebie, the long-running Flamin’ Groovies are back, as are LA's Happy Hollows, after a lineup shift and with a new album; we also welcome Weedeater, Japonize Elephants, and Acid Pauli. Plus the return of reliably great outdoor fest Phono Del Sol (Thee Oh Sees and YACHT headline this time). Read more »

When things get weird: X-Day, Weird Al, and more

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Today is weird. It’s in that black hole gap between a nationally recognized holiday (er, Fourth of July) and the actual weekend, which begins for many traditional workers around 5pm on Fridays. So with this weirdness, we celebrate both X-Day, a parody of cult holidays, and the more literal, Weird Al -- he shines down on the Alameda County Fair tonight with a beam of frizzy light. Read more »

Heads Up: 6 must-see concerts this week

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Not to give this family any more attention, but here I go. Are you aware of the fact that the Balloon Boy is now a long-hair tween, in a darker Hanson trio with his brothers, singing operatic heavy metal bits? It’s all here, in a Gawker long-read post. The article notes that the group (Heene Boyz) considers itself the "World's Youngest Metal Band." -- don’t we have that already here in the Bay with our own Haunted by Heroes? Take that, Balloon Boy. (Whatever, technically they’re billed as "The World's Youngest Rock Band.”)

But my real point is this: America, home of the free, free to whore oneself and one’s family out on reality TV, to sneak kids into homemade balloon UFOs, to shoot for fame from birth. Happy Fourth of July week, everyone. Celebrate it with the bedlam of Bob Log III, the annual Big Time Freedom Fest at El Rio or Fillmore Jazz Festival, dreamy R&B producer Giraffage, or, the snacktastic Burger Boogaloo fest with headliners Redd Kross, the Oblivians, the Trashwomen, and more! Paint your face red, white, and blue, stick a sparkler behind your ear, and rage out into the night, it’s what the founding fathers would have wanted. Read more »

Before Outside Lands: Youth Lagoon on Art Garfunkel, the spiritual significance of pelicans

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Youth Lagoon, the aloof youth that is Trevor Powers, has explored new land in latest album Wondrous Bughouse (Fat Possum). Revealing, yet withholding, the album proved his ability to not just create cosmic bliss, but deliver a few deep messages while doing it.

With the album, the 24-year-old Idaho native takes us through the fires of temptation in song “Mute,” dances with death on “Raspberry Cane” and paints an immensely disturbing and bloody image of love and sacrifice in “Pelican Man."

Currently on tour in Europe, Powers will be here in SF to perform at Outside Lands this Aug. 9-11 (he plays Saturday, Aug. 10).The professional effects tinkerer and melody craftsman talked with me about his afro days, his penchant for destroy-and-create-again style of making music, and how bloody violence can really be sweet:  Read more »

Hot Chip, Converse, and why Google Glass could save our show-going sanity

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I fully expected the Hot Chip show last night to be a giant advertisement for Converse. In the last few weeks I’d been noticing the ads around town, with that new slogan* and figured there was something else behind the big marketing push. So when a series of free “Represent SF” concerts was announced at Slim’s, in conjunction with a store opening, it made sense. But what I didn’t expect the event to be, was an advertisement for Google Glass.

As someone who covers live music, a “free” show doesn’t in itself mean much, since entry is most often comped in exchange for publicity, whether good or bad. That deal was basically given to everyone at Slim’s last night, since they received a wristband with an RFID tag upon entry. Different stations throughout the club were “interactive,” and would give you the opportunity to win prizes, swag, and (I assume) shoes. All you have to do is register the RFID to your Twitter and Facebook account, in which case Converse would also make automated posts on your behalf through the night. Read more »

Soundtrack to today: DOMA, Prop 8, Wendy Davis, and Devo

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It’s hard to comprehend everything that has happened in the past 24 hours, or even the past 10 minutes. The Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8 unconstitutional. Senator Wendy Davis spent 11 hours filibustering an anti-abortion bill that would’ve taken away the rights of women all over Texas, and sadly, Devo’s drummer Alan Myers died (earlier this week, but the news filtered out today).

I pretty much can’t stop tearing up today. There are just so many complicated emotions to deal with right now, and so I turned to music. Read more »

Q&A: Dita Von Teese on gaining sexual confidence, creating beauty on her own terms

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She is classy, beautiful, and sexually poised. She’s seductive, creative, and ambitious. She is world-famous burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, and she is coming to SF this week (Wed/26 -Sat/29).

Von Teese recently designed her own line of lingerie, which you can check out here, and is on a tri-city tour with her sexy show "Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray!" featuring MC Murray Hill. Her performances are much like Von Teese herself -- epic and glamorous. Read more »