French Cassettes unspool sunny tales of "Gold Youth." Plus: Danish Renaissance woman Oh Land and new books by East Bay punk goofballs Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits
Rather than rescore sitcoms, the brothers started playing where many aspiring rockers do: with Nirvana covers. Later, when they began French Cassettes in 2006, Scott says they tried going the experimental rock'n'roll path, "being as loud and crazy as we could" before "realizing we wanted to do something more approachable" and breaking into pop tunes.
Those pop songs first turned SF heads after the release of their first official EP, 2011's Summer Darling. Around then the band starred in a Perez Brothers-directed video for the song "Radley," off Summer Darling, which hit local blogs thanks to too-cute scenes of them hanging out and drinking beers on the beach with a mermaid. They followed that up a year later by participating in the first annual 48-hour Music Video Race, starring in a '60s mod-referencing video for "Mouth Drum" by filmmaker Dalan. They also toured to SXSW, playing 12 shows in one week, and hit MusicFestNW in Portland. Last week, French Cassettes played Noise Pop's California Academy of Sciences' Treasure Island Nightlife event before Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.
But in August of this year, French Cassettes played their biggest headling show yet, a CD release party for Gold Youth at the Great American Music Hall. It was a big moment for them, and you can tell they're proud, especially drummer Gallagher.
He joined the band earlier this year but has long been a fan. The trained jazz drummer had been to French Cassettes shows and fell hard for their sound; he jokingly says he pestered himself into the group when the original drummer left. At the time, Gallagher had a roommate who was also a drummer — Rob Mills from Black Cobra Vipers, another local group he's into. In fact, the whole French Cassettes crew is enamored of Black Cobra Vipers.
"Black Cobra Vipers is my favorite band," says Bunch. "We played a show with them probably three years ago and ever since then we've been like, in love with each other. We've had like, a band relationship."
Starting next week, French Cassettes and Black Cobra Vipers will share the Amnesia monthly residency for the entirety of November. Every Tuesday, they'll play tracks off Gold Youth, a few new songs, and there'll "probably be a few tricks up their sleeves," for they are young, and they are free (but the shows cost $7).
Tuesdays beginning Nov. 5. Amnesia, 853 Valencia, SF. www.amnesiathebar.com.
Danish musician Nanna Øland Fabricius (otherwise known as Oh Land) is a Renaissance woman. She's a producer, a singer-songwriter, a former student of the Royal Danish and Royal Swedish Ballet schools (before an injury nudged her toward music-making). And this is perhaps why "Renaissance Girls," the first single from her newest full-length Wish Bone (Federal Prism/Tusk Or Tooth) works so well. Like much of Oh Land's output, it's musically all over the place, with beats and piano, quick-dropped lyrical phrases and twee girlish high notes. And the video both harkens back to her early dancerly ways and provides a hard/soft dichotomy with interpretative choreography performed by Fabricius herself in Hello Kitty-pink overalls set to the backdrop of a dusty, cement-filled construction site and urban alleyways. With Sun Rai.
Wed/23, 8pm, $15. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF. www.theindependentsf.com