Music

Ex-Girls singer Christopher Owens on the real Lysandre, and being 'a bit of a loner'

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Last year was a momentous one for San Francisco band Girls. Still riding the high from their critically fawned-over and publicly adored sophomore full-length album Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the duo was at the height of its career, playing sold-out shows and reveling in buzz-band glory. Then in July, frontperson Christopher Owens announced via Twitter that he was leaving the band, leaving press and fans alike slack-jawed with surprise.

Owens wasted no time moving into his new career as a solo artist – putting to bed any hopes that Girls’ disbandment was a temporary misstep. This January he released Lysandre, a tight-knight album of autobiographical material from his first tour with a band. It’s a story full of first loves: girls, boys, fellow musicians, and far-off places. He'll perform songs off the album this Sat/23 at the Palace of Fine Arts. Read more »

Alt-folk singer Michelle Shocked goes on homophobic rant, Yoshi's says she won't be back

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UPDATE: now with audio of the incident. 

What is going on with Michelle Shocked? The Texas alt-folk singer-songwriter, formerly known as a leftist-feminist relic of the late 1980s/early '90s, apparently went on a homophobic rant at one of her two Yoshi's shows this past Sunday in San Francisco.

As the Bay Area Reporter notes, Shocked, who seems to have found religion in the past decade, told the Yoshi's crowd: “When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization and Jesus will come back.” Read more »

Live Shots: Rich Kidd, Young Galaxy, tween angst, and barbecue at SXSW, Day 3

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Photos and words by Bowerbird Photography

The surrealists employed a method of drawing called the exquisite corpse, where an artist would create an image on a section of paper, fold it back to conceal the image, and then pass on the paper for another artist's contribution. The beautiful monstrosity wasn't revealed until everyone was finished and the paper unfolded.

Walking down South Congress Street during SXSW 2013 yesterday felt like the musical version of an exquisite corpse. Nearly every block had its own outdoor stage, with an alternative country performance across the street from a hard rock band, indie pop music next to honky-tonk, and street musicians in between. It was sonic mayhem. Read more »

Live Shots: The Hush Sound at Great American Music Hall

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I was introduced to the Hush Sound in high school, when a girlfriend burned "Like Vines” onto a mix CD for me. It was love at first listen. The awkward, adorably fumbling song structures and whimsical lyrics of the Like Vines album were the perfect mirror to my gawky teenage soul. Goodbye Blues, the last album the band released before going on hiatus, showed more advanced songwriting technique and much better production. It was a tragedy. Growing up had made the Hush Sound lose its charm. I kept burning old Hush Sound songs onto mix CDs for a couple of years, and then slowly forgot about it.

You can imagine my surprise when, walking into the Great American last Friday night for a Hush Sound reunion show, I found myself in a nearly sold-out venue. As it turns out, other people had also restlessly waited through the five-year hiatus for this opportunity to relive their youth. Read more »

Live Shots: K-Pop's Night Out, Ashley Monroe, and more at SXSW, Day 1

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Photos and words by Bowerbird Photography

Fans made scrawling lines all through Austin, Texas, waiting to gain access to countless shows, as the SXSW 2013 music festival kicked off on Tuesday night.

Some eager devotees sat cross-legged, tolerating the intense Texas sun since 9am according to a chatty security guard, for the K-Pop Night Out showcase. In the SXSW hierarchy, badges trump wristbands, leaving hardcore fans without tags to load up on patience, scour listings for shows with free access, and pray capacity doesn't max. Read more »

Localized Appreesh: Magic Fight

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Localized Appreesh is our thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com.

Magic Fight has got fangs. More precisely, the newly formed Oakland “post-indie” band — led by Florida born singer-ukulele player Alex Christopher Haager — just released its very first single, “Fangs” off its forthcoming debut album, Wooden Swords & Stolen Echoes.

Read more »

Live Shots: The Robert Glasper Experiment at New Parish

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It really wasn't a question whether the Robert Glasper Experiment would be any good at the New Parish on Friday night  – but how it would go about replicating the success of Black Radio, which recently won the Grammy for R&B album of the year.

That’s an album that features notable collaborators on each track – Erykah Badu, Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Mos Def/Yasiin Bey, etc. – which could leave pianist Glasper a lot to make up for live. Going into the show I had a few theories: maybe the group would use pre-recorded vocal tracks in places, maybe up-and-coming vocalists would be pulled on stage from Oakland’s music scene, or maybe some surprise guest would be introduced. (Singer José James was nearby at the San Jose Jazz Winter Fest. Maybe he’d finish in a timely manner over there and stop by?) Read more »

VOWS' Luke Sweeney on marinating songs, foot prayers, and the gospel of Al Green

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San Francisco’s VOWS has come a long way from its beginning in 2007. As with many creative enterprises, the band -- which plays the Rickshaw Stop Wed/13 -- formed out of the ashes of some good old-fashioned turmoil.

Guitarist Luke Sweeney and drummer Scott Tomio Noda, pals since high school, had just broken up with their band, and bassist Jitsun Sandoval, a friend with whom they sometimes played music, had just split with his wife. The three formed a band whose name signaled the start of restored commitment. Read more »

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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If you're avoiding the hype and heat of Austin for that annual indie, not indie music-and-film massacre that is South By Southwest (er, SXSW, nerds), fear not – there are still plenty of acts to catch live in our town this week. That list includes Martha Wainwright, PANTyRAID, Autre Ne Veut, the Dodos, an annual St. Patty's Day punk blowout, and plenty more.

Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end: Read more »

Flip on the Night Light: free show alert

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We've been hearing a lot about the Night Light thanks to its hosting of quality local shows; in the past year there have been performances by Warm Soda, Burnt Ones, Religious Girls, Jaberi and Deutsch, and the like. This Saturday, to celebrate 12 months of life, the bar-venue is hosting a free party, and there'll be eight bands, seven DJs, and three comedians to check out throughout the night. Yes, all free. Read more »