Cafe Du Nord always feels cozy, and the sounds of Bay Area based Ash Reiter  and Idea the Artist  were a perfect fit for Wednesday night’s crowd of rapt listeners. Although Idea the Artist’s music was sometimes slower paced and more sentimental than Reiter’s rocking pop ballads, both vibes struck the right chord with this crowd.
A group of girls danced wildly during Reiter’s set, one wearing a glittery pink globe attached to a headband. While Idea the Artist (a.k.a. singer-songwriter Ines Beltranena) closed off the night with her soulful folk songs, Reiter’s set warmed up the audience on a chilly San Francisco night, giving us tunes to dance to and a reason to feel that the fun of summer is well on its way. And during that so-called summer, keep an eye out for Ash Reiter's upcoming sophomore album Hola, which will be released later this summer. Along with a penchant for the warm months, the band thoroughly reps Bay Area. Lead singer Reiter and her eponymous band are based in the Berkeley Hills, and included a song called “Oakland” on most recent release release, Heatwave.
Idea the Artist’s album The Northern Lights Are On... was just released May 23, and recorded in Victoria, British Columbia (by Grammy-nominated producer Joby Baker). Her sound, recorded and in person, is lush and incredibly beautiful – it would be a perfect accompaniment to a dramatic coastal drive along Highway 1.
Beltranena’s voice is harmonized with beautifully, and also accompanied by piano, strings, guitar, bass, and drums. Purchasing a physical copy of her album is well worth it – each track is accompanied by her handcrafted artwork in the booklet, including photos of sculptures, paintings, and pastels.
She'll be releasing a novel soon as well, which is a retelling of the Grimm Brother’s fairytales and Greek myths and legends, but according to Beltranena, darker. In her artist's bio she explains that “ to ‘idea the artist’ is to realize that you alone are the creator of your colorful and potentially explosive existence, and that to see this, to know this, and to act on this, is to idea your artist”.
These are certainly two bands to watch for and, lucky you, both California native-led bands are set to go on tours soon. That is, California is coming to a town near you.