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Bomb the Music Industry!’s Jeff Rosenstock: Poster boy for manic depression in DIY rock’n’roll

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To get a feel for why Jeff Rosenstock plays the way he does, you have to go back almost a decade to the sweaty, now-defunct scene in New Jersey and Long Island that caught the tail-end of the big ska-punk boom and the beginning of the emo explosion.

In the late ‘90s-early 2000s, word-of-mouth was still king in that local music scene. Many bands, like Rosenstock’s pre-Bomb the Music Industry! group, the Arrogant Sons of Bitches, entertained consistently at all-age, low-budget shows. It got to a point where kids in nearly every skank pit in the area knew the band’s songs by heart. They had no real radio play, and were seen mostly on shaky handheld video camera footage from Bloomfield Ave Cafe or the like, but still were on tour forever, had discernable sing-along singles, and (almost) released a split in Japan. Read more »

Lia Rose lets go on new album ‘Bricks and Bones’

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Bay Area country-folk artist Lia Rose is a ball of sunshine both on stage and off. But if you listened to her songs, you’d know it’s not because life’s been easy, it’s just that she’s chosen to face its struggles head on, chin up.

Rose played the Great American Music Hall with Blame Sally in early May and performed on NPR’s West Coast Live in April, where she met author Ruth Ozeki, with whom she’s currently collaborating on a song. Her second full-length solo album Bricks and Bones will be released this Sat/20, the night of her record-release party at the Chapel in San Francisco. In short, the bubbly, talented musician is doing quite well. Read more »

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 »

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 »

Dark side of the Dude

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More than a year ago, in his rundown on “top substances that have influenced music,” promoter-DJ Marco De La Vega said this: “I...raid my own medicine cabinet, take a couple Vicodin, and listen to a stack of records including [Girls],Tamaryn, King Dude, Chelsea Wolfe, and Zola Jesus.”

Already a fan of the others mentioned in that paragraph, I sought out King Dude (a.k.a T.J. Cowgill) and found that I'd already known his previous work, intimately. I'd seen his black metal band Teen Cthulhu in high school, and for many years had the band's sticker plastered on my black Nissan Maxima, later discovering his band that rose from the ashes of Teen Cthulhu: Book of Black Earth.

It was his turns as founder-creative director of his own clothing label, Actual Pain (Kanye has worn it, OK?), and solo “darkly spiritual acoustic-folk” singer-songwriter that have been the most surprising. Like previous King Dude releases, 2012's Burning Daylight (Dais) is a desolate affair, with subtle plucking and Cowgill's darkly raspy vocals meditating on death, murder, spirituality, and love – or as I wrote in this week's Tofu and Whiskey print music column (Jan. 9 issue), it sounds like “a gravelly demon inside, clawing to get out.” Read more »

Will John C. Reilly be the secret guest at Lavender Diamond's Chapel show?

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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 »

Kitty Pryde on Riff Raff, candy, and going viral

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What exactly does it mean to be a pop star these days? Does it mean you have masses of eager (young) fans, breathless feature articles, and a healthy growing buzz on so-called tastemaker sites? Can you do it without a major label, without a proper album, without really touring? Seems like the answer for now is...maybe. It's a world we're all just beginning to crack open. One thing I know for sure, Florida teen rapper Kitty Pryde wouldn't have blown up quite like this before the web.

She made her mark on Youtube, with casual, adorable bedroom rap track and video “Okay Cupid,” along with an ode to a certain youthful pop star (“Justin Bieber”). There's been plenty of speculation about Pryde. If she's actually a teenager. If she's “in on the joke.” If she'll sign to a major label and crush it. These questions are sort of beside the point. So far, her output has been cheerful, weird, fun, and uniquely telling of young life in America in 2012. Or, as the New York Times put it in its CMJ rundown, Pryde “offered cute, comedic expositions of unrequited crushes.” Read more »

The Grannies flaunt their finest digs for a good cause

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The Grannies know how to have fun. After over a decade of raucous good times, including two European tours and years of stage antics, the six remaining members of the local punk band are back, playing in Oakland Fri/22 with Midnight Bombers and the Ardent Sons.

Yet this show extends past the chaotic atmospheres of a typical Grannies show. This show is a benefit for the son of founder and lead guitarist Sluggo Cawley. Read more »

Danzig on Doyle, his fans, Verotik, and that Metallica anniversary

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Glenn Danzig has spawned a cult following with his dark and brooding voice, and the sinisterly seductive imagery of his lyrics. From the early days – some 35 years back – as front person for horror punk icons the Misfits, to metal-infused Samhain, and finally to the eponymous Danzig, where he achieved a degree of mainstream success, he has taken macabre themes, blasted them with an obsessive sheen, and come up with some of the most hauntingly memorable songs this side of hell. Read more »

SF duo Tidelands returns with even more flugelhorn

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We’ve Got a Map boasts the title of experimental folk band Tidelands’ upcoming sophomore album – and do they ever. You may remember seeing Tidelands’ stunning animated music video for their song “Holy Grail” last summer off debut album If....

Well Gabriel Montana Leis and Mie Araki are back this summer, with a relatively minimalistic follow-up to that orchestral introduction. And a show this week at Bottom of the Hill. Read more »