If Vincent Gallo turned himself into pure music, what would it sound like? For now, I know how the Gallo I'm talking with sounds: enthusiastic, upbeat - occasionally letting loose an endearing rascally cackle - and extremely alive. Over the course of a great couple hours, he's raved rather than ranted, giving himself over to rapture while rapping about everyone from Joe Spinell (star of 1980's gory Maniac and bit-part actor extraordinaire) to Michael Jackson. Read more »
When Month of Sundays (Bobsled), the second Chamber Strings album, was released in 2001, singer-songwriter Kevin Junior was hailed as a new pop savant of sorts - a ragged, rainy-day Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson's lost brother, last sighted wandering gray shores amid dingy drizzle and deep dissolution. So where has he been the past six years?
"I got kidnapped by aliens, basically," Johnny Thunders-look-alike Junior deadpans from his Chicago flat. Read more »
Meeting up for an interview anywhere in the Haight in the middle of a Sunday afternoon is a bit of a dodgy prospect. With every easily distracted tourist and bumbling acid casualty in the city making random zigzags through the neighborhood, finding a clear path on the sidewalk is enough of a challenge, never mind finding a quiet place to talk. But there I am, in a booth at Magnolia's, with the three songwriters of the Dilettantes, chatting away over beers without so much as a glance in the direction of all the scattershot energy reigning outside. Lesson? Read more »
YACHT has cancelled his May 11 appearance with Kid606, Trackademicks, Lazer Sword and Luke's Anger.
Enthusiastic and optimistic - Jona Bechtolt would have to be both to schedule back-to-back shows in Bloomington, Ind., and Big Sur, as he did on his most recent tour.
"I'm pretty much into playing wherever there is a desire for me to do so," Bechtolt e-mails en route to Seattle. "Once I played in a bathroom in the basement/rec-room of some kid's grandparents' house in St. Read more »
Should you take this life seriously enough to listen to it, I would suggest you head to local electro-organic thinkers I Am Spoonbender's Web site right now, before you read this story, and download the trailer for their latest self-released album, Buy Hidden Persuaders (IAS, 2006), another three-sided disc (their gorgeous Teletwin 12-inch had concurrent grooves on one side, allowing for a randomly asserted listening experience) from the wizards of esoteric musical realism. Read more »
A couple years after Drag City reissued Gary Higgins's 1973 album Red Hash, the recording stands tall as one of the prime excavations of the ongoing psych-folk gold rush. As with Vashti Bunyan, Higgins's resurgence comes with a mythic narrative: where Bunyan left behind Just Another Diamond Day for a bucolic family life in England's north country, Higgins floated upriver in a different way after Red Hash, serving time for a marijuana bust in rural Connecticut. The disc was recorded while he was out on bail, in the few days between his arrest and sentencing. Read more »
It's customary to crave road travel when your summer bummer declines into a case of cubicle claustrophobia at the ol' air-conditioned nightmare. Some of us just need to go on hiatus for a while. But take it from electronic-experimental musician Kevin Blechdom: her 2002 move from San Francisco to Berlin has been a fruitful experience.
"For the last four years, I was able to support myself through playing music," she writes via e-mail. "That's nearly impossible to do in America with the style of music I'm making, but totally possible in Europe. Read more »
You can't put your arms around a memory, as one hopeless rock 'n' roll soul once sang, but you can ponder a memory's origins, observe its manifestations, and perhaps even embrace its spectral aftereffects. So it goes with Gowns' Ezra Buchla, who currently lives with bandmate Erika Anderson in the North Berkeley "towering, crumbling Grey Gardens-style Victorian manse" where he was born. "I've lived in this house my whole life," he says quietly. Read more »
"The ghosts come quickly, and they leave quickly," remarks Philipp Minnig about his effective yet unorthodox approach to songwriting for San Francisco electro-disco group Sugar and Gold.
"I always call songwriting 'ghostbusting,' " he says over tapas at Picaro in the Mission District, in a German accent softened by years spent in Northern California. "There will be an idea floating around, and you zap it, throw out your trap, and there it goes. For us, our traps are chords, or a rhythm. Read more »