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 »
What is going on with Michelle Shocked? The Texas alt-folk singer-songwriter, formerly known as a leftist-feminist relic of the late 1980s/early '90s, apparently went on a homophobic rant at one of her two Yoshi's shows this past Sunday in San Francisco.
As the Bay Area Reporter notes, Shocked, who seems to have found religion in the past decade, told the Yoshi's crowd: “When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization and Jesus will come back.” Read more »
I was introduced to the Hush Sound in high school, when a girlfriend burned "Like Vines” onto a mix CD for me. It was love at first listen. The awkward, adorably fumbling song structures and whimsical lyrics of the Like Vines album were the perfect mirror to my gawky teenage soul. Goodbye Blues, the last album the band released before going on hiatus, showed more advanced songwriting technique and much better production. It was a tragedy. Growing up had made the Hush Sound lose its charm. I kept burning old Hush Sound songs onto mix CDs for a couple of years, and then slowly forgot about it.
You can imagine my surprise when, walking into the Great American last Friday night for a Hush Sound reunion show, I found myself in a nearly sold-out venue. As it turns out, other people had also restlessly waited through the five-year hiatus for this opportunity to relive their youth. Read more »
San Francisco’s VOWS has come a long way from its beginning in 2007. As with many creative enterprises, the band -- which plays the Rickshaw Stop Wed/13 -- formed out of the ashes of some good old-fashioned turmoil.
Guitarist Luke Sweeney and drummer Scott Tomio Noda, pals since high school, had just broken up with their band, and bassist Jitsun Sandoval, a friend with whom they sometimes played music, had just split with his wife. The three formed a band whose name signaled the start of restored commitment. Read more »
If you're avoiding the hype and heat of Austin for that annual indie, not indie music-and-film massacre that is South By Southwest (er, SXSW, nerds), fear not – there are still plenty of acts to catch live in our town this week. That list includes Martha Wainwright, PANTyRAID, Autre Ne Veut, the Dodos, an annual St. Patty's Day punk blowout, and plenty more.
Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end: Read more »
When I went to see YACHT, a couple years ago during the Treasure Island Music Festival, it was playing outdoors in the afternoon, and it seemed like the wrong time and place. Last year at the Fox, the conceptual electropop band seemed stifled by the combination of the large venue and sparse crowd, and also mired by the same lackluster audio conditions that made headliner Hot Chip sound like it was playing underwater. But Saturday at Slim's, on my last night of Noise Pop, it seemed just...
Fuck, I've wandered into the Goldilocks cliché. Read more »
Our beloved kings and queen of trash rock and doo-wop hybrid Shannon and the Clams released “Rip Van Winkle,” the first single off their upcoming Hardly Art release, Dreams in Rat House (coming May 21).
The song, which features back-up by Magic Trick's Noelle Cahill, is again the perfect blend of garage pop and beachy surf punk a la the Trashwomen, and has that cool hiccuping guitar effect kicking off the hip-shaking, foot-stomping, hand-clappy new track. As expected, chainsaw vocalist-bassist Shannon Shaw's distinctive pipes stand out above all else. This all just serves to further excite us for the release of Dreams in Rat House. Read more »
Will 2013 be the year that Noise Pop began downsizing? Or, is the festival simply adjusting its focus towards smaller, rising acts? Either way, this year's lineup was surprising from the get-go, eschewing the name-brand, Flaming Lips-y headliners in favor of rising, blog-friendly outfits like Toro Y Moi and DIIV. Sadly, I couldn't occupy nine venues at a time, so here's a rundown of the Noise Pop shows I did see this past weekend.
CALIFONE Having listened to Califone's records for over a decade, yet never seen it live, I was curious about the band's strategy in translating its studio material to the stage. From its introductory statement, Roomsound (2001), to the extended freakout-jams of Heron King Blues (2004), to last year's Sometimes Good Weather Follows Bad People, Califone's sound has always been production-oriented, augmenting the rustic twang of blues and roots music with an equally faded, rusted, precarious palette of electronic sound. No one merges the old and the new quite like Califone in the studio; the band's records are visionary, but sadly, its live show didn't quite measure up. Read more »