Digital music files are the Snuggie of the music industry; so comfy, so easy, but it's fleece is cheap and one dimensional. Vinyl is a thick quilt, a layered labor of love Grandma crafted just for you-- a product that brings about a whole new quality of life when you're wrapped beneath it. Strange analogy, but if you're unfamiliar with the loveliness and depth of vinyl's sound possibilities, Record Store Day-- this Sat/17 at locations across the Bay-- is your day to give 'em a spin. Read more »
JL Stiles would like it if we all just appreciated what we’ve got a little more.
“If you look at the new artists that have come out of San Francisco recently, we’re got some really innovative people. But in the belly of the beast, traction is not easy to come by. The great artists, someone discovers them and cashes out on their genius, and then they’re touring all over and just come back every once in awhile,” says the mathematician/musician/creator of the new neo folk concert series San Folk Disco, which kicks off Thur/15 at Café Du Nord. Read more »
Didja hear? There’s a mini-girl-band revolution going on. Embracing the rawest of rawk, the lowest of fi, the Splinters haven’t been lumped into the current wavelet of female-centric Bay Area ensembles ala Brilliant Colors and Grass Widow. And perhaps rightfully so. Gender aside, the bands are coming from way different places sonically. Read more »
One of the nicer surprises this year has to be The Shape of Things (Third Culture), the debut recording by busy Oakland-by-way-of-Santa Cruz foursome Man/Miracle. No, you don’t get Cruz-ish untrammeled psychedelia of Sleepy Sun nor the noise blues of Comets on Fire nor the spooked folk of Emily Jane White here. Read more »
Marriage, jobs, cars— ten years can be a stretch for a lot of things in our world, but the hip-hop created by Zion I is still fresh after a decade, the signs of wear and tear only showing on the albums themselves. Producer AmpLive and emcee Zumbi make up the Bay Area duo—playing Thurs/1 at the Rickshaw Stop and Fri/2 at the Independent— who have just returned from a 35-city tour around the country. Zumbi says they’re officially “ready to vibe with the hometown crowd.”
Mama Lion had all the characteristics my ears had been searching for: a jaw full of sharp guitars, a soft, Patti Smith-like growl, and a wardrobe of psychedelic, ‘70s melodies. It took only a second, but after our first audio introduction on the ol’ Web, I knew I needed to hear her again. Typing up an email or two, I mustered up the courage and asked Mama Lion— who’ll be performing Mon/22 at El Rio and Tues/23 at Retox Lounge— out to dinner— all three of them.
It's hard to believe, but black metal is around 20 years old. During its second decade, the music has been gradually subsumed into the metal mainstream, cannibalized, recombined, and reinvented. Pulled in one direction by the commercialization of bands like Dimmu Borgir, and in the other direction by the hermetic inaccessibility of solo studio acts like San Francisco's Leviathan, fans and metal taxonomers have circled the wagons around arbitrary criteria, judging bands on whether or not they use a keyboard, or whether or not they're from Scandinavia.
For the past four years, Ed Masuga has consistently delivered pure folk music. His dichotomously sharp finger-picking guitar and soft melodies make for easy, pleasing listening, and if you close your eyes you might find yourself transported to a Dust Bowl-era railway car. Steeped heavily in the folk tradition, his songs are simultaneously old-fashioned, timeless, and timely. With the bare minimum of Internet presence, the elusive San Francisco-based songster, though he can't be called a Bay Area "native," maintains a mysterious backwoodsman identity. The almost literary stories of his youth seem to come straight out of a Dickens novel. I caught up with Mr. Masuga (that has a nice ring to it!) to ask him how his itinerant childhood has informed his work.
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.
It's been awhile since we've posted news about Hollis Hawthorne, the Bay Area dancer, artist, and activist who was suffered brain injury in a motorcycle accident last year and was stranded in India until the generosity of friends, family, and strangers brought her home. Though her condition has been steadily improving since she landed at Stanford, then at St. Luke's, and finally, at a rehab center near her family in Tennessee, progress has been painfully slow and difficult to quantify. The word from her family's blog was all about incremental progress: slight movement in her right leg, for example, or the progression from ingesting only liquids to taking several bites of applesauce. For those close to her, and others who don't know her but have been following her story, it's been hard to tell exactly what this incremental progress means – and especially, now that she's halfway across the country, what this looks like.
But the Interwebs shuddered with happy news this week as friends shared reports from Harrison, the beau who saved her life in India, who visited Hollis and her family on the anniversary of the accident: “I am sitting here in a chair in Nashville in complete shock and amazement. Today is the one year anniversary of Diane's arrival in India. Wednesday was the one year anniversary of the accident. I just returned from Hollis' rehabilitation center where upon leaving I shed tears of joy.
HOLLIS IS NOT AT ALL IN A COMA ANYMORE!!!
Yes! You read that correctly! Scream, shout, jump up and down! Have a shot! Dance! Kiss somebody! It's the real deal, seen it with mine own two eyes! She is awake and talking and present and brilliant and amazing!”