The Noise Pop Festival begins TONIGHT, and while many will recognize names like Yoko Ono and Magnetic Fields, most of the bands remain relatively unknown. SFCritic decided it would be best to share a little who’s who to help our fans prepare for the festival. This is a great opportunity to get out of your house, check-out quality music for bargain prices (most tickets are under $20). Here are a few picks:
Nico Vega (The Independent on February 27th)
Nico Vega’s high energy shows get old and new fans into movin and groovin as the band puts their all into their sets. Even bands that tour with Nico Vega are turned into fans and followers. Seeming to channel Janis Joplin, Volkman thrashes and writhes around on stage, moving as if the music is directing her.
For fans of: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Mark Kozelek (The Great American Music Hall on February 27th)
Born and raised in Ohio, Mark Kozelek spent time in Atlanta before moving to San Francisco and forming the immaculately sorrowful Red House Painters in 1989. The group fused Kozelek’s bittersweet baritone voice with deeply intimate compositions. n 2002, Kozelek again assembled a close knit group of musicians, including some Red House Painters alumni, to form the more accessible and straightforward Sun Kil Moon.
For fans of: merican Music Club, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake
We Were Promised Jetpacks (Slim’s on February 27th)
The Scottish band have received high praise for their debut, These Four Walls. The album is the culmination of years of rock-and-toil (the band started up in earnest back in 2003), features driving rhythms, emotive guitars, and even a little glockenspiel, all anchored by rock-solid drums. The tunes vacillate between energetic rockers and dreary but not too dour downers, all filled with shimmering cymbals and insistent jangle. The album feels like a release for the band, and a catharsis for the listener.
For fans of: Oasis, Interpol, Teenage Fanclub, Kings of Leon
Scout Niblett (Cafe Du Nord on February 26th)
Her latest album, The Calcination of Scout Niblett (Drag City), is a work of refinement, though it still sports her single instrument approach and plenty of reverb. The tone of the album is as somber as ever, filled with mood, angst, and a journey that ultimately is about personal growth. When inspired to write, this songwriter composes some of the most pure, and emotive music out there.
For fans of:PJ Harvey, Nirvana, Cat Power