Thursday night, St Lucia and Conway took to the stage for the second of two sold out shows at The Independent, and gave two of the most high energy performances I’ve seen at the Independent. St Lucia, who I have described to friends as “Imagine if Lionel Richie and Peter Gabriel had an electronic baby,” put on an incredible act both in terms of sound and showmanship.
Last week San Francisco rockers French Cassettes rang in the Year of the Horse by playing their uber-catchy “Too Young” in Chinatown. Stroll with them down Grant Street as they dodge firecrackers, make some new fans and hit enough angelic harmonies to make Dick Cheney swoon.
“Too Young” via Oaktown Indie Mayhem
The Wood Brothers played the Fillmore here in San Francisco last Saturday night, and exceeded every expectation I came in with and shattered any previous judgement I had. I knew they were good, but I didn’t know they were this good. With a little help from some industry icons like Amy Helm and Amos Lee, The Wood Brothers laid down some of the most harmonious bluegrass I’ve ever heard.
The night began with an opening set from Amy Helm, daughter of legendary musician and The Band drummer Levon Helm. Amy’s set was fantastic — warm, dialed in, and straight from the heart. With a voice you instantly fell in love with (regardless of gender).
Now, having never actually experienced either of these bands live before, I wasn’t quite ready for what I was about to experience. Comprised of brothers Chris (upright bass) and Oliver (guitar) Wood with drummer Jano Rix, The Wood Brothers have been at it as a unit since 2006 and currently call Nashville, TN home. The group came on and wasted no time, opening up with a few of their more popular songs like “The Muse” and “Keep Me Around” — but where some fans might scoff or begrudgingly wait for more “deep cut” tracks, the crowd was immediately swept away in the music, dancing, singing along, hootin’ and hollerin’. And not only are these men great lyricists, but they weave in and out of songs with copious bass solos and improvisational jams.
As the night carried on they played hits like “Who The Devil,” “Try Try Again,” and closed out the night with “Get Out My Life Woman.” You can check out the (almost) complete setlist here.
While there were several highlights (notable sit-ins from both Amy Helm AND surprise guest Amos Lee during “Luckiest Man”), it was the incredibly intricate, almost devilish, jams towards the end of “Wastin’ My Mind” that floored me. This is one thing they do incredibly well — going from a harmonious duet, to solos (both guitar and bass), to gut wrenching jams — and shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, given the musicianship of the members (for example, Chris Wood was a founding member of Medeski, Martin, & Wood. If you don’t know who this is, educate yourself).
All in all, I was blown away. At one point noting that “it smell(ed) like Colorado in (t)here,” the band was not only talented, but wildly entertaining. I will most certainly be catching The Wood Brothers next time they’re here in town, and would highly recommend them to anyone who loves bluegrass, rock and roll, or just damn talented musicians.
Hot on the heels of their re-imagining of Little Dragon’s “Twice,” comes another release from East Bay standouts Waterstrider. “Redwood” finds the band leaving behind their afro-pop roots for a bolder, more expansive sound. Drums boom, guitars twist like vines around the bones of the song, and Nate Salman’s voice pulls at your ears and your heartstrings alike.
After the jump, watch a video of Waterstrider performing “Redwood” on the shores of Oakland’s Lake Merritt, and the upcoming “Nowhere Now” in a farmer’s market.
What do you get when you put together Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis, Four Tet, Sampha and Jamie XX on the radio? Three hours of classics and unique hits.
The artists gathered last night at FBi 94.5 in Sydney, taking a break from each of their tours which converged at St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.
A highlight, was the debuting of Four Tet and Jamie xx’ “Seesaw” below.
Photo and video by Victoria Smith
Kicking things off with a bang last Tuesday night at The Chapel, San Francisco natives Melvoy married the youthful sass and rebellious grooves of early Arctic Monkeys and The Fratellis with the latin flavor of desert-dwelling desperadoes Calexico. Singer/guitarist Emmanuel Castro holds up a mirror on “If I Would” when he begs the question “if I buy you things I can’t afford / would that make you like me more?” You get the sense it’s your problem, not his. After kicking up some dust, they showed us the clouds with a couple airy pop numbers, only to have the skies darken and knock us back down to earth with a thunderous Queens of the Stone Age-style sledgehammer-of-a-riff of which the stoner gods would be proud. Rock-solid and immediately catchy vocal harmonies had me singing along to choruses I’d never heard before, as these guys took the crowd on a ride. Nobody dared stop the bus.
Along their tour stop in San Francisco, Elle Mary & The Bad Men, an alt-folk group from Manchester UK assembled a montage of picturesque scenes from the Bay Area. They’ve compiled those images for the video of their song “Angels.” The single was released by digital label, Tru Luv.
I made this mixtape as an ode to Ray Bradbury, having read three of his novels in the past two months. I find his writing extremely relevant to where we are as a society at this juncture in time. His visual imagery is full of stark realities, hopeful futures, and inconclusive landscapes that inspire you to think objectively. I felt the low hums of the wobbly synth bass and the borderline-screeching chalk based snares of the LA Beats movement and like-minded sounds would play out perfectly into a reality such as Bradbury’s. This mix started out as a creative thought process, and slowly transformed into a singular 45 minutes stream of music. Shout out to my girl for gifting me my first Ray Bradbury book and giving me the extra push to put this out.
I included a track list with a rough timeline, so if a particular track piques your interest you can check it out!
Live, Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out, sounds entirely different than his recordings. The singer, songwriter, and producer known mostly as a solo, bedroom performer–is much more in person. This past Tuesday night, fans attending the band’s sold-out performance at The Fillmore got an ear of this other Washed Out.
Paracosm, the title of his sophomore album, literally refers to a fantasy world. From the record’s start with its slowly building dynamics, to its fading close–Greene invites listeners to escape and drift away. At home, regardless of your stereo, the muted levels bring out a softer (though still grooving) equally psychedelic and shoegaze sound that has placed the artist at the forefront of the recent chillwave scene.
In a video interview with Yourstruly, Greene explained that he began writing the album in the fall, later finishing it in the winter, working in front of a window that overlooked the changing seasons in Atlanta, GA. Most of Greene’s lyrics repeat calls to let go and moments of falling. And what seemingly–written–should be dreary is intentionally brightened with major key progressions and buzzing bass kicks that turn gloom into glamor. Read More