San Francisco

Live Shots: Texas is the Reason at Bimbo’s

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Texas is the Reason’s show at Bimbo’s was not sold out, but it sure seemed packed as I struggled to find a good vantage point on Friday night. When I eventually got a clear view, I saw that the stage was hazily lit by dark blue-purple lights. The amplifiers and drum kit on stage were glowing, heavily draped with white Christmas lights. The visual, in its stark simplicity, was stunning.

This perfect, quiet kickoff was the reassurance I needed to prove that this wouldn’t be the gaudy, overwrought reunion that I had feared, but the graceful, tasteful gathering that I had hoped for. Read more »

Major Lazer showers the Independent with cash, vuvuzelas, dead memes, and a giant bubble

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It comes as a surprise to me that Diplo didn’t at least have a cameo in Spring Breakers — the film that takes place in his home state of Florida – considering his penchant for egregious hedonism.

His quest for indulgent nirvana was on full display last Thursday at the Independent, when he and his Major Lazer crew lead a 90-minute uber-bash of trap, electro, dancehall, moombahton, and dubstep. Read more »

Foxygen works its uncanny magic at Brick and Mortar Music Hall

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I experienced a strange phenomenon in the few days leading up to Tuesday’s sold out concert at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. The first in a series of strange events occurred in a coffee shop. I overheard one barista say to another, “Put on that Foxygen song.”

“Who?” she asked.

“It’s like ‘oxygen’ but with an ‘F.’”

The next day, one of my favorite websites listed Foxygen’s “Shuggie” as the “Song of the Day,” and later that evening, a friend mentioned the band in a conversation that had very little to do with music. Read more »

Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom on breaking writer's block with travel

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It seems like the Austin-based Heartless Bastards have made some drastic changes since the release of their debut album, Stairs and Elevators, shedding their punkish irreverence in favor of more candid Americana as illustrated in Arrow, their 2012 Jim Eno-produced release.

I caught up with frontperson Erika Wennerstrom before the band’s Great American Music Hall show this weekend, amid a van ride from Tucson to California to chat about her quartet’s ever-changing sound, her favorite SF food, Neil Young, and Arrow’s traveling backstory: Read more »

Downright 'Deviant' -- the sexy new video from Double Duchess

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Feast your eyes on the latest offering from San Francisco electro-hop duo Double Duchess – a gritty, glammy, pulsing new video for the single, “Deviant,” off its forthcoming EP, due out this summer on Oakland's Le Heat Records. There may or may not be a purple dildo in there somewhere. Read more »

Heads Up: 8 must-see concerts this week

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Sometimes, “world music” takes on an entirely different meaning. This week, the bands and musicians and producers will come from all over the (European) map: there's Grecian psych punk, UK goth pop, Irish deep house and space disco, plus one-half of the first all-female electronic DJ group of Chicago, a KUSF-in-Exile benefit, and a soul clap dance-off.

I'm exhausted just thinking about the travel time it'll take all those acts – Acid Baby Jesus, Veronica Falls, Mano Le Tough, Jonathan Toubin, Texas is the Reason, Colette and DJ Heather, and so many more – to arrive in our foggy city by the bay. Read more »

This image explains Deerhoof

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For all those music writers and fans struggling to explain to their friends what experimental SF-born Deerhoof is all about, upbeat vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki made it easy on us earlier this week.

She posted this arresting photo on Deerhoof's Facebook page and explained, “This is visually what deerhoof is about.” Ah, all makes sense now, doesn't it? Read more »

Bad kids get slimed with the Black Lips at Great American Music Hall

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The Great American Music Hall was a soupy, sweaty mess of swamp-like proportions before the Black Lips had even taken the stage Monday night. The crowd, buzzing with the combined excitement of intoxication and anticipation, erupted into howls and screeches as the band took the stage in a puff of fog-machine smoke. From behind the mist, one of the Black Lips yelled into the mic, “If you wanna be smart, read a goddamn book. If you wanna have fun, you’re in the right goddamn place!” And so it began. Read more »

Localized Appreesh: Swells

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Localized Appreesh is our thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com. Read more »

Ex-Girls singer Christopher Owens on the real Lysandre, and being 'a bit of a loner'

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Last year was a momentous one for San Francisco band Girls. Still riding the high from their critically fawned-over and publicly adored sophomore full-length album Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the duo was at the height of its career, playing sold-out shows and reveling in buzz-band glory. Then in July, frontperson Christopher Owens announced via Twitter that he was leaving the band, leaving press and fans alike slack-jawed with surprise.

Owens wasted no time moving into his new career as a solo artist – putting to bed any hopes that Girls’ disbandment was a temporary misstep. This January he released Lysandre, a tight-knight album of autobiographical material from his first tour with a band. It’s a story full of first loves: girls, boys, fellow musicians, and far-off places. He'll perform songs off the album this Sat/23 at the Palace of Fine Arts. Read more »