Call it the influence of witch house on the folk scene, or don't – those involved would probably hate that. But it does feel like there have been more and more “darkly spiritual acoustic-folk” acts of late, in the vein of Chelsea Wolfe and Father John Misty (albeit, on opposite ends of the spectrum), and in particular, King Dude, who returns to the Bay for a set of Oakland shows this weekend. There'll also be live sets this week by Lavender Diamond, less moody but certainly as spiritual and folk-infused, and the legendary, if snappier Mountain Goats.
Unrelated, but also performing in the Bay these next few days: Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers, Overwhelming Colorfast, and the Chuckleberries; Dee Dee from the Dum Dum Girls with her boo, Brandon from the Crocodiles; Wooden Shjips, Liturgy, and Barn Owl, at the same show. Plus, it's Chanukah, and the Subterranean Arthouse is celebrating with Yiddish bands and live klezmer. I hope for your sake you get some latkes this holiday season, my first batch was oily, crispy, and vegan – perfect. Read more »
When I walked into the Great American Music Hall on Wednesday night, I was handed a Christ-Mess Sing-a-Long booklet with a unicorn on the cover. While I had already gathered from the name of the event — Surfjohn Stevens’ Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice — that it wasn’t going to be a standard holiday concert, I wasn’t quite prepared for the awesome eccentricities that awaited me.
The Great American, which is already one of the Bay’s most gorgeous venues, was literally aglow with strings of Christmas lights reflecting off bows and baubles attached to headbands, elf ears, vests, and ugly sweaters throughout the dedicated audience. On stage, incense was burning and guitar techs were wading through piles of inflatable Santas and unicorns. Read more »
Tofu and Whiskey Arbiter of good taste, Thrill Jockey Records is officially 20 years old. In another era, in another business, this would merely be a back-slapping milestone. In the present stuck-barreling-downwards roller coaster of the music industry, it's an anniversary worthy of widespread jubilation.
"It's a mind-boggling number of years," label founder Bettina Richards says during a phone call from the main office in Chicago, where the label's been based since 1995.Read more »
You know Lavender Diamond, right? The whimsical LA-based electro-folk band fronted by crystal-clear vocalist/tree fairy Becky Stark? The group plays SF's newest venue, the Chapel, Tues/11. Turns out, there's a super-secret surprise guest set to appear, and I've got a solid guess now we can announce who it is: John C. Reilly. Read more »
Any time a band breaks up, the beef rumors immediately start to swirl. Throw in Twitter and Facebook, and that rumor tornado can spin quickly out of control – as it did within minutes thanks to the #dasracistbreakup hashtag this past weekend when rapper Heems, on a drunken whim, announced the group’s break up during a show in Berlin. Read more »
The liner notes to Brian Eno’s Music for Airports (1978) act as a veritable Ambient Manifesto, outlining the philosophy of a genre he developed as an alternative to Muzak, and other background fluff. In the final sentence, he asserted, “Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.” By that count, Eno’s solo Warp debut, LUX, is his most successful foray into ambient territory in quite some time. Read more »
Localized Appreesh is our thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another blog this week declared Golden Void “the Bay Area's best new psych band,” and I'm not about to quibble. The band, named after a Hawkwind track, features members of Earthless, and Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, and just released a mind-bending, fuzzy guitar-bursting beaut of a debut album, out now on Thrill Jockey. Read more »
Yes, it's that time of the year again – when I make a faux-turkey. And, I suppose, when many of you eat the real thing. That's cool. Either way, you're going to want to relax, decompress, scream into the abyss after the stress of eating and chatting with the family, or over-indulging at multiple Friendsgivings. This Thanksgiving weekend, you can let your conflicted demons out into the night with Dick Dale, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Cass McCombs, Sébastien Giniaux, Kill Paris, and SISU. Read more »
Man, there were a lot of beards at the Fillmore last Thursday. Not the close-cropped beards that I swear some Bay Area men grow in hopes that a girl or boy wants to talk about it. But shaggy ones. The kind that you really can’t make a statement about. Because they aren’t a statement, unless it’s about their state of unwash.
I was at the Tame Impala show, and the beards were out in force. There were also a smattering of mods and hippies, a larger group of rocker girls with tough eyes and shiny hair, with their boyfriends, and a small slice of older music lovers. Read more »
If you want to stay in the good graces of Titus Andronicus (which played Great American Music Hall this Tuesday), don’t mention frontman Patrick Stickles' beard, or his recent lack of beard, or his uncanny vocal likeness to Bright Eyes vocalist Conor Oberst, or really much of anything else. But you didn’t hear it from me. Because of his sensitivity, Stickles has been churning out some of the best anger and angst-driven punk rock of this century. In spite of his sensitivity, he still seems to be a super nice guy. Read more »