Amber Schadewald

Snap Sounds: Yeasayer

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YEASAYER
Odd Blood
(Secretly Canadian)

A creepy terminator-type robot dude rolls up to the hottest party in a cage you’ve never even been privileged enough to attend. Damn, I wish I could stumble upon a get-down like Yeasayer throws — swimming ninjas, neon martinis, laser orgies, and magical board games would definitely be something I could get into on a regular weekend basis.

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Hump Day headliner: Six reasons to revisit Thee Oh Sees

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So maybe you’ve seen them before and maybe you haven’t. Thee Oh Sees -- performing at El Rio tonight (Wed/10) with Ty Segall, The Fresh & Onlys, and The Baths -- are no doubt a San Francisco garage-rock, lo-fi staple that demand you re-sample, swish, and spit for a full taste.

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iPod Voyeur: Holly Miranda’s top 10 most-played artists

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A single moment of Holly Miranda’s voice has the capacity to freeze each and every muscle in your body for a good three to 35 minutes, causing your current plan of action to come to a furious halt, steering your concentration solely toward contemplating how on earth you haven’t been listening to Miranda’s music Monday to Sunday and back again.

The New York solo artist is currently on tour with Canadian sisters Tegan and Sara, but will be making a solo stop at the Café du Nord tonight (Tue/9), a perfect opportunity to have your mind blown by beauty. Formerly of the band The Jealous Girlfriends, Miranda is bringing her solo project The Magician’s Private Library (XL) to eager listeners, reminding them of the butterflies anxiously fluttering in their stomachs the first time they heard Nina Simone or Cat Power.

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Laura Veirs gets excited for summer

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Classic finger-picking and Laura Veirs' girly vocals characterize the feather-light songs she's written about sweet summer days on her seventh album, July Flame. The songs explore desire and happiness in stripped-down folk form, caressing questionable emotions with scents of firewood smoke, extended sunshine, and humid mid-summer evenings - all named after a variety of peach Veirs spied at her local farmer's market. After 10 years in the music business, touring is nothing new to the Portland artist, but the trip supporting this album is different for two reasons: first, this album is being called her best; and second, Veirs is eight months pregnant. I caught Veirs on the phone on a Sunday afternoon, when she was taking a break at her parents' place in Colorado, to chat about the album and the experience of touring while expecting. Read more »

Live Shots: El Perro Del Mar and Taken By Trees, Café du Nord, 3/2/10

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Back in the early '90s, when MTV played video after video and I was still a kid, I remember seeing tall, hot chicks like Sarah Assbring, the sole member of El Perro Del Mar, flash across the screen, dancing to Axl Rose and Aerosmith. Taking the stage, Assbring immediately struck me as a rock video model, her bright blonde hair chopped off with a stiff asymmetrical edge, lips dark with black-red lipstick, and lids full of smoky shadow. I was immediately envious of her black silky jumper, stitched with an oversupply of fabric under the sleeves that made for the perfect raven wings whenever she lifted her arms.

The sounds of El Perro Del Mar are always sweet and shy, much like the musician herself. She said very little and smiled even less, and yet had me wrapped around her every breath. When she sang, her eyes focused intently on an unknown object in the back of the room, with her eyebrows at a constant downward angle. Often she would raise her hands into the air or send them straight out in front of the mic, nearly reaching the fans in front. She was intense. Read more »

Noise Pop 2010: Loquat at BOTH; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Bimbo's

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Loquat at Bottom of the Hill

The San Francisco band started their set with a request for more blue lighting at the Bottom of the Hill Friday Feb. 27, half-joking and half-hoping to make things look “cooler” and more “ocean-like.” Loquat has been playing their brand of electro-pop in the Bay Area for almost a decade and therefore I was expecting some really sweet synth action as a precursor to headlining band, Memory Tapes. Instead, racing guitars and strong bass muddled all of my most favorite parts of Loquat’s soun: the subtle waving melodies and vocalist Kylee Swenson’s floating lyrics. Their newfound heavier sound translated into a rock version of L.A.'s Bitter:Sweet, with tons of energy that twinkled over the crowd like the venue’s vintage Christmas lights. Read more »

Five Questions: Sara talks, minus Tegan

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It’s been 12 years and the two adorable Canadian Twins are still making perfectly pleasant, political pop. Their latest album, Sainthood, is a stellar collection of matured, electronically hinged tracks that never fail to get stuck in your head. The sassy duo plays at the Fox in Oakland Friday and are sure to reign in a full crowd of Bay Area queer ladies.

It’s hard not to fall for Tegan and Sara, their cute haircuts, charming smirks, and songs that seem to nuzzle up to any mood. And these ladies put on an awesome show with mouthfuls of quirky conversation and honest, adorable blabbing about all sorts of intelligent topics.

Before setting up shop at venue in Austin, Sara took a few minutes to let me in a few tour secrets and proved that her hilariously eccentric stage presence isn’t an act in the slightest.
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To hurl or not to hurl

Tegan and Sara don't want your dirty laundry

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Keep your panties on and your polka dot bras in the drawer — they may be flattered, but Tegan and Sara have enough lingerie to last a lifetime. The Canadian twins are on the road for a tour of their latest release, Sainthood (Sire/WEA, 2009) and were proud to receive not one, but two, animal print brassieres on an Austin stage last week. Read more »

Lucky 7: Listening in on the Strange Boys

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The Strange Boys (playing at the Elbo Room on Sat/27) are as brave and cocky as their music would suggest, an obvious product of the southern state they call home. Hailing from Austin, Texas, their “don’t mess” attitude harmonizes perfectly with wailing garage rock and humid twang. Ryan Sambol’s nasally vocals remind me of a young Bob Dylan and complement the band’s '60s sound. 

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No pixels, please -- we're plastic

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Film and prints, like dinosaur bones and fossilized treasures, seem like ancient artifacts blown to the wayside in our digital age. We lost the mystery in photography when we introduced the point and shoot, erasing not only the physical labor but the ugly smiles, blinky eyes, and embarrassing angles. Where are the mistakes? The light leaks and fuzz on the lens? They’re making a comeback.

Obscure, eerie, and beautifully whimsical images galore will be on display starting Fri/26  at the RayKo Photo Center, as part of the third annual Plastic Camera Show.

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