Is it hot in here, or is it just -- sorry, no, that's all of San Francisco, doing that delightfully freakish 85-degree Actual Summer thing while the East Coast is still clawing its frost-bitten way out of the 60s.
In addition to skipping work to drink margaritas on patios and texting your Boston-based friends pictures of your feet on the beach just to be a dick, there are quite a few rad, summery shows going on this week — so make some new cut-offs, fill up your water bottle, and go get sweaty with some strangers. Try not to get into any fights in elevators. And enjoy it while it lasts! By June we'll all be wearing hoodies again. Read more »
Being weird in a good way seems like a more difficult status for artists to attain than it used to be. We can tell when you're trying too hard -- the Gaga meat dress, the Miley tongue-wags felt 'round the world -- and it's straight-up unappealing. Thanks to Ye Olde Internet, we're also genuinely harder to shock than we used to be. At the same time, the acceptable box that artists seem to need to fit into to be marketable, to achieve anything like mainstream success, feels smaller all the time.Read more »
-- The 2014 Music Video Race, the competition that pairs local bands with filmmakers for the 48-hour speed-creation of music video magic, is now accepting applications from musicians and filmmakers. The filmmaking weekend is July 11-13, and the screening/party, due to popular demand, has been upgraded to The Independent on July 20. Yours truly will be one of the judges, so, er, make this tough for me.Read more »
They still exist: big metal bands that go on old-fashioned tours, rather than exclusively playing festivals or headlining package tours (aka shows that start at 4pm and are comprised of two bands you actually want to see and five others the label shoehorns in because that's the only way they'll get exposure). Also still in existence: a band that will tour between albums, in fact hitting the road less than two months before a new album drops, and play a set that contains two new songs (to give fans a taste of what's to come), but is mostly composed of familiar back-catalogue tunes.
No worries, dudes — Mastodon the band shows no sign of going anywhere, and based on what drummer Brann Dailor said at the end of last night's show at Oakland's Fox Theater, they'll soon be back in the Bay Area, pumping their sixth studio release, Once More 'Round the Sun, which arrives in late June. Based on the two new songs heard last night ("Chimes at Midnight" and "High Road;" stream the latter via the band's Soundcloud page, or check out the "Audio Visualizer" below the jump), your sludgy summer soundtrack awaits.
Kitten Grenade takes the ukulele seriously. Katelyn Sullivan picked up the instrument when she was lonely and unhappy in Los Angeles, jonesing to be back in San Francisco. Now the instrument adds chiaroscuro to her self-titled debut EP released this January: the lilting chords contrast her brassy voice and its message of heartbreak.Read more »
By Avi Vinocur. Photos by Avi Vinocur and TJ Mimbs.
So as we speak I'm crammed between an NPR listener, a Louisiana native longing to be home for Jazz Fest, and a cool dude with lensless glasses awaiting the gospel of a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx, who found her home in New Orleans singing mountain music. I love America.
Her name is Alynda Lee Segarra -- short, cute, Aubrey Plazaesque (but smiley) with an incredibly evocative voice not quite like anything I've heard. Read more »
Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing aren't exactly strangers to the Bay's indie-folk scene — Johansing's second solo LP, 2013's Ghosts, has spread like lush acoustic pop wildfire around the city since its release, while Ritz is part of the Oakland-based experimental "noir pop" outfit DRMS, which put out the ambitious American 707 earlier this year, a hypnotically weird and weirdly delightful short film and accompanying soundtrack. Read more »
You might not be alone if you do a double-take when hearing José James’ new single for the first time. The song, “EveryLittleThing,” off the singer’s forthcoming album on Blue Note Records (While You Were Sleeping, out June 10), recalls a grinding club hit more than the effortless mix of jazz and neo-soul that made him famous. It is a surprise, to say the least -- the driving, electric sound is nothing like the mellow and easy cool of his previous record, No Beginning No End, released in 2013. Read more »
In the past, Argentinean singer-songwriter Juana Molina took her time to craft carefully looped and layered beatscapes before her audiences. Her approach has changed, per the artistic demands of her most recent release, Wed 21. The songs are more condensed, but the aesthetic is the same.Read more »