There must be something about living in California that makes people want to pick up an instrument and strum, pluck, or smash. Be it surf-infused rock'n'rollers in San Diego dedicated to the Church of John Swami Reis (Mrs. Magician), illustrious weirdo harpists (Nevada City, Calif. born Joanna Newsom), San Francisco psych poppers (Magic Trick) or sticky LA streets punks (the Shrine), the sounds of the state continue to boil.
Sure, California boasts hundreds of miles of beachy coast, Hollywood streets lined with gold flecked stars, the bubbling Disney-pocalypse, camp-friendly mountainous ranges, and craggy tourist pits. It’s endless and sunny, (even when it’s foggy). And in different cities throughout this unwieldy giant of a region, scenes of sound have popped up decade after decade. It’s all rather inspiring and decadent if you take a step back and listen.
Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:
Joanna Newsom & Philip Glass
It’s a (likely) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch the revered composer and the tree-fairy harpist with pipes of chirping gold, together, in concert. And of course, the show is a benefit for Big Sur's Henry Miller Memorial Library, which typically hosts forested indie concerts throughout the summer months.
Mon/25, 8pm, $62.50-$140
982 Market, SF
To be in a k-hole is essentially to remain stuck in a drugged, spaced-out soup of one’s own mind. So is all that all that rage funneled into punishing, grinding guitar lines and scratchy howls necessary for K-Holes, the NYC five-piece named after such a state, but which sounds more like an extrovert coke binge than an introvert k-hole? Perhaps not, but it gets the point across. K-Holes (a.k.a Jack Hines of Black Lips, Julie Hines, Sarah Villard, Cameron Michel, and Golden Triangle’s Vashti Windish) have a dragged-from-the-pits-of-hell sonic spark and the anti-capitalist lyrics to back the sludge punk ambiance.
With Dirty Ghosts, Blasted Canyons
Tues/26, 9pm, $8-$10
Brick and Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF
Gallery Crawl Nightlife: Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick
Here’s yet another win in the brilliant series of Thursday nightlife events at the Cal Academy of Sciences. This time, the earthly sciences wonderland gets transformed into a pop-up museum with guest curators picking the best things to see and hear. Use your senses, friends. Along with a whole lot of bold pop-up art, there’ll be a performance by San Francisco’s own moony rock’n’roll treasure trove Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick, and additional music by folkYEAH! founder-DJ Britt Govea.
Thu/28, 6pm, $10-$12
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive, SF
Check dystopic Zombies-esque single “There’s No God” off this year’s salty Strange Heaven (released by Swami – John “Swami” Reis’ label; FYI, Reis also produced the record). The rolling waves of fuzz, upbeat melodies matched to deathly serious lyrics, and classic surf guitar wobbling should draw you in quick. “There’s no god/la la la la.”
With Mantles, Kids On A Crime Spree
Fri/29, 10pm, $12
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF
“With his new release, Do Things — a slice of sun that sounds like the product of playing with a drum machine after listening to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” on repeat/acid — May proves that the party is wherever he goes.” -- Ryan Prendiville
With Quintron and Miss Pussycat
Fri/29, 9pm, $9-$12
579 18th St., Oakl.
Sat/30 9:30pm, $10-$12
With Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Shannon and the Clams
647 Valencia, SF
LA’s the Shrine just signed to Tee Pee Records, and is about to release growly punk sophomore album Primitive Blast (July 10). From a preliminary and rudimentary listen, I gather the LP is steeped in shredding and skating on sticky Los Angeles nights, which makes sense – the band’s debut album was recorded with the help of pal Chuck Dukowski, he of hardcore punk/City of Lost Angels skateboarders Black Flag fame.
With Glitter Wizard, Hot Lunch
Sat/30, 9:30pm, $8
1131 Polk Street, SF
“The Baltimore outfit's breakthrough record, Nootropics, doubles down on thick, Krautrockabilly grooves, with the Zen-like propulsion of Lou Reed cruising the Autobahn. The production aesthetic is fascinating, in its ability to sound dry, and soaked in reverb, both at once, and the album's second half reveals a newfound interest in musique concrete, giving the material an artieredge.” -- Taylor Kaplan
With No Joy, Alan Resnick
Sun/1, 8pm, $15
628 Divisadero, SF