Tiny Bones breaks out

SCENE: The New California singer unleashes her talents on the Bay at last

Photo by Misha Vladimirsky/Butchershopcreative.com

Elise-Marie Franklin, a.k.a. Tiny Bones, breezes into Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission, turning several heads in her wake, and it's like, "Wow, dayum, star power!" (She declines a cup of slow-drip because, "I have so much natural energy, I'd probably explode." I can see that.)

The gorgeous young singer and musician looks destined to be the first pop star graduate of San Francisco's storied hardcore electro scene, utilizing her various talents to combine underground and mainstream elements into a bewitching and surprisingly unique style. Together with her partner in music, local fameball Topher Lafata, a.k.a. Gold Chains, she's finally started releasing tracks on their label New California Music (www.newcaliforniamusic.com) after a long gestation period.

"We've been working for three years on all of this and have dozens of songs ready to go, but we wanted everything to be just right — the music, the website, the label. It's fantastic, because now we can do things our own way."

Tiny Bones spent her childhood in Carmel and France, training from an early age in vocal techniques and multiple instruments. But she came of punk-rock age in the famous pit of Berkeley's 924 Gilman and, later, the electro-styley, camera-ready world of club Blow Up. Add to all that a music appreciation that runs from the Ronettes to Eazy-E (with stops at Deniece Williams and Depeche Mode), and you've got a powerhouse of influences.

"I love so many different kinds of music that for me it's less about the style than the fact that something's authentic," she told me. "I aim for that authenticity with my own music — I put all of myself into my songs and performance, I don't believe in holding back."

That perfect lack of restraint comes through in her stage persona, which mixes sexiness ("Sexuality is huge in my life, and I don't shy away from it") and smarts (Tiny Bones is a psychology grad student at UC Berkeley). Those two sides meld to humorous-hot effect in the video for her first single, a slow-building, tropical-tinged banger called "Heat." It starts in a boardroom, with Tiny Bones setting feminist boundaries for her marketing campaign — no bikini-clad sexploitation, no oil, no fans in the hair — and then demolishing those boundaries in a tight gold tube top, owning her hotness and slaying the fanboys.

Tiny Bones has just released her second track, "Parley," an epic hardcore electro breakup-party ballad that expertly hits an aching sweet spot between build and release around the two-minute mark and holds you there for the rest of the six-minute track. It's pretty breathtaking in its ballsiness, and the video is a love letter to San Francisco, with guest spots from nightlife stars HOTTUB, the Tenderlions, Monistat, Merkeley???, Richie Panic, and more.

Tiny Bones is going to soon bring that San Fran ballsiness to the world, with a tour in the works, a full album, and a lot more partying (and studying). "This has always been my dream, to be a singer and make people happy and maybe inspire someone. Now I'm ready to go for it."


Too bad she sings out of key. She's fun to look at, but she's tone deaf. So unfortunate.

Posted by Lazerkitty on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 9:50 am

Why is she being written up here? There's been no record release; her video isn't getting played anywhere; she's done only handful of "live" gigs ever. So why are we reading about her in the Guardian?

The songs are quite catchy (Gold Chains knows what he's doing) and EM has a good voice. She should wait, though, until she has some actual product to offer before appearing in a puff piece like this.

Posted by Paul on Dec. 23, 2010 @ 9:28 am

Lazerkitty get a life...or put your real name out here

Posted by CoolKitty on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 10:11 am

with Lazerkitty.

Posted by SFer on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 10:41 am

Man...is it just me or does she look REALLY uncomfortable while singing? Like she knows she can't really sing, but is trying and not really going for it. Too bad you cant fake good vocals, like you can fake hair via extensions and eyelashes with fake ones. I like the music behind her tho. It would be even better if they at least auto tuned her. I mean, it works for Katy Perry.

Posted by Big Bones on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 10:17 am

Congrats Tiny Bones! You rock!!!

Posted by David on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 10:24 am

I've seen Tiny Bones a couple of times and she is AMAZING...such a new sound and really ground breaking. I think SF should be proud of what she is going to accomplish!

Posted by HardRocco1978 on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 10:24 am

SFBG, you are a publication that reads like a high school yearbook. It's one big popularity contest. While I'm sure Tiny Bones would be voted prom queen, she is nowhere near glee club material.

Bay Guardian, can you please gush over real SF talent for once, and not who is "cool" and in the "scene".


Posted by SFer on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 10:37 am

can you give me some examples? just toss some notes down from your throne. Thanks!

Posted by marke on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

Why do you care what people are saying about your review of Tiny? Do you have some personal investment in her success?

Who cares?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

Happy to explain why your article was bad:

1. Listen to her two tracks with auto tune and you'll see that she sings off key at multiple times during the song. It's not a dis, it's just a fact. She sings out of key. Club bangers aren't sung out of key.

2. She's not a student at Berkeley, she's at JFK. JFK is a good school, but it's no Berkeley.

3. You say she's "setting feminist boundaries" with "no bikini-clad sexploitations". But as you know (since you're her friend and not an objective journalist) she's a stripper in real life. She gives lap dances for money! How's that for setting feminist boundaries?

4. One of the guest spot "nightlife stars" included in her video is actually her (more talented) boyfriend, Richie Panic. These aren't just local "stars" supporting her music--they're actually people she's dating.

5. You're her friend in real life. If you really want people to respect your journalism, don't write about your friends and expect people to listen.

Posted by Jeff on Dec. 17, 2010 @ 1:06 am

"You're her friend in real life."

Dude, WTF? Is the Guardian's alpha and omega covering friends of their staff writers?

Y'all should drop the pretense of journalism and just go full hog for a reality show.


Posted by marcos on Dec. 17, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

*stalker* -- I meant examples of talented people that we haven't covered. But you seem to have some weird personal ax to grind ...

Posted by marke on Dec. 20, 2010 @ 8:52 am

If that was a love letter to me, when can I get the "Dear John"?

Posted by The City of San Francisco on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

The quality of production is there, but Big Bones is right: the music doesn't sound comfortable.

It all sounds rushed: the doubled vocal tracks are slightly off on one of the songs, she goes off pitch on another song, and the melodies just don't have that breakout, catchy 'pop' flair.

There's a reason great musicians and performers are OCD, because they're all incredibly critical of their work. Which, in turn, forces them to practice all day, everyday, working out every single kink meticulously until they feel like they got it right.

If I were her, I'd go back to the studio and rehash this stuff.

Posted by Gavin Newsom's Limo Driver on Dec. 15, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

Elise goes to school at JFK in the East Bay ... not Berkeley.
And she's spent most of her adult life working as a stripper.
Not that this has anything to do with her singing, but check your facts SFBG.

Posted by Emily on Dec. 16, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

or all oi, skinhead, gangster rap, or Am gold sounded the same.

That you tube video sounded like all the other nasally pop out there. And the pretensions of feminism just makes it more vacuous.

"It starts in a boardroom, with Tiny Bones setting feminist boundaries for her marketing campaign — no bikini-clad sexploitation, no oil, no fans in the hair — and then demolishing those boundaries in a tight gold tube top, owning her hotness and slaying the fanboys."

What does the above mean, she's dancing around in her video in her underwear??

Is this some high art irony?

Posted by matlock on Dec. 17, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

Stripper stripper stripperrrrrr
Anyone know where this girl works?

Posted by Emily on Dec. 17, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

Where do you work...oh ...never mind....
noone cares

Posted by :) on Dec. 17, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

She works at the Gold Club, but it's not a pretty sight. All the extensions and heavy make-up in the world can't make up for her saggy flabby, poor girl.

Posted by Paul on Dec. 23, 2010 @ 8:48 am

Stripper have to do with anything?

The music sounds like every other nasal band, but seriously, what does her being a stripper have to do with anything?

The classism of some people is so weird.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 17, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

about her sex life. I just think it is funny that she is so high and mighty when she really is just ghetto and cheap. She looks cheap and sounds cheap. Could she wear more makeup or hair extensions?
Honestly, she is just a mediocre singer with a bad attitude, and a false sense of "sexyness." She is about as sexy as Rachel Zoe.

Posted by VIDA on Dec. 21, 2010 @ 9:29 am

People are crapping all over your article here. Not sure how you air balled on so many basics, but you did. Just address the error, say it was an oversight, and move on.

Posted by Me on Dec. 21, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

what are the basics, can you let me know? Maybe there's a link?

Posted by marke on Dec. 21, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

Well lets see, you got lots of things wrong, like where she goes to school and you completely left out the fact that you wrote this article because she is your friend. Not because she is talented, but because you were doing her a friendly favor. I think people feel tricked by you in this article.
EM is not sexy and smart. I would argue she is neither. And I would know because I know her well.
You also deceive your audience when you write that all these SF celebrities appeared in her video, making it seem as if they have no connection to Elise Marie at all. Well as it was pointed out, DJ Panic is her boyfriend, and she has known and is friends with HOT TUB, the Tenderloins, Merkeley, and all the other so called SF celebrities that are in her video. She has known them for a while, through the night scene, by going out to Blow UP and Frisco Disco. It's not like she is so awesome or such an amazing singer that all these people were dying to be in her video. No, she just asked them as a personal favor, because she has known them all for year and they are friends with her and more importantly, her boyfriend who was a big part of Blow UP and Frisco Disco for years.

Posted by EB on Dec. 22, 2010 @ 10:20 am

"thanks for your help!

what are the basics, can you let me know? Maybe there's a link? "

Other than it was written like a press release?

I don't really care, but since you asked, the music sounds like all the other over processed/produced soulless David Coverdale caterwaling out there.

"...combine underground and mainstream elements into a bewitching and surprisingly unique style."

"But she came of punk-rock age in the famous pit of Berkeley's 924 Gilman and, later, the electro-styley, camera-ready world of club Blow Up."

It's hard to pick out the worst of it all, its written like a coked out A&R guy from the 70's selling the latest disco act, not some article.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 21, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

You do a disservice to disco - which is pretty avant-garde music with quite a lot of variety - when you compare it to Marke's craptastic writing style. Much of disco was innovative and led to the development of a lot of electronic music, especially House music. Marke's writing owes nothing to that heritage and everything to him thinking that featuring his friends in this column is going to give them a leg up, when people like Tiny aren't ready for prime time and they end up here like lambs being thrown to the lions.

I know you like punk and I do too. But disco is pretty awesome as well.

And Tiny's music is neither "bewitching" or original. More like "grating" and rote.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 21, 2010 @ 4:21 pm

and I don't know much about disco or whatever -- maybe that's why you're having trouble with her music? And what's an "A&R guy?"

Posted by marke on Dec. 21, 2010 @ 9:45 pm


As to A&R I would instead look up "The Problem With Music
by Steve Albini"

I'm not having a problem, it sounds like a million other bands, more power to her.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 22, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

There's some disco I still listen too, the Village People's travel log songs are great, and boy was Can't Stop the Music a great movie.

I should have said coked out late 80's "glam rock" A&R guy pitching Ugly Kid Joe, Cinderella. or Whitesnake. No one likes those bands, which also have the uniformity of every OI band I ever heard.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 21, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

Thanks for the laughs, guys.

The only thing better than a stripper, "setting feminist boundaries" is a stripper dabbling in any concept of reality through psych grad school.

Talk about the blind leading the blind, or in this case, the tone deaf (Tiny Bones) leading the tone deaf (Marke B).

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

What about Sun Hop Fat...? I heard they went to Cal...none were or are strippers (at least they don't ask for anything in return), they hit a few sour notes but it's all for the love of music, plus 12 is always better than one! Just sayin'...

I just checked out Tiny's video and thought the off key parts were 20x more interesting than the lyrics and plain video. The layered high vocals were what kept me watching till the end. Friend or foe, people should give her some love for doing her thang and getting off. Good luck Tiny Bones!

Posted by other options on Dec. 22, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

That keeps reposting as different people...get a life! Tiny will do well with or without your slander...you sound jealous. Go Tiny, more power to you!

Posted by Lover on Dec. 25, 2010 @ 7:22 am

wow, this article is like a weird puff piece. I only realized this after I watched HEAT -- I didn't need to see the other video to know that this is trash. The looks are there but that is where it ends. Her face looks ultra dumb as she is lip syncing her totally off key belts. who got paid to write this stupid article? and how did it get into the sfgate? WEIRD!

This reminds me of the Heidi Montag CD release though. Except for Heidi had more clout as a two bit reality star and like wayyyy more $$$$$$$$$$$$$

I hope I incited at least a few, "Heidi had a CD?" EXACTLY.

Posted by karen on Jan. 09, 2011 @ 6:19 am

last time I checked this was the sfbg...

Posted by Lala girl on Jan. 11, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

this stuff is so funny! so crud!

Posted by steph on Jan. 14, 2011 @ 1:36 am

oh my god. elise is so totally lame, completely fake in every way...and a total poser in real life and in her music. GET more DESPERATE! I DARE YOU!

Posted by lauren on Jan. 16, 2011 @ 11:57 pm
Posted by Black people of the Bay on Jan. 29, 2011 @ 12:23 am

vocals are more busted than a muthaaaaaaa

Posted by dang on Jan. 29, 2011 @ 5:50 am

you still haven't let this go? You need some serious help ... maybe you can take up a hobby or something? Besides continually posting as split personalities?

Posted by marke on Jan. 29, 2011 @ 9:10 am

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