Photos by Victoria Smith

Strange Talk Put on Insane Show at Rickshaw Stop’s Padded Room


Friday as I was standing with our talented photographer Victoria Smith near the bar waiting for local opener The Hundred Days to finish their rocking set, I noticed a couple of guys trying to pay for drinks and a bartender that looked throughly unimpressed with their Australian chip-based cards. On closer inspection it was lead vocalist Stephen Docker and guitarist Gillan Gregory from headliner Strange Talk. If you have ever traveled overseas, you know what a cluster fuck it is to use a U.S. card over there or a pin and chip card here. I felt compelled to help them out, and bought their round so they could hurry back stage and get ready for their set. Read More

Photo by Tuomas Kopijaakko

Listen: Amen Dunes Releases New Album Love Tomorrow


It’s Monday. All of us at one point or another hit that Monday slump where you just can’t accept the new work week. Luckily, there’s always new music to help us decompress and get us thinking like productive members of society again.

This past week I’ve been checking out a preview of Amen Dunes’ upcoming album Love. I find the music a perfect match for Monday’s with its mix of melancholy lyrics, haunting tones and folk inspired riffs, all delivered in a fuzzy Lo-Fi, calming package. Read More


RODRIGO Y GABRIELA :: Boil Down to Fresh Water


Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero have come along way from busking on the streets of Dublin via Mexico City. A testament was Friday night’s sold out show at the Fox. It’s been a long time since a duo of guitars and nothing more –not even a voice – commanded such a rally. I don’t really know how long it’s been but they are like sweet fresh water in these times of Skrillex, cleansing from today’s electronic overloadA welcomed refreshment of basics with shredding.

Rodrigo y Gabriela‘s fused style of metal flamenco with primal earthly undertones is a genre of music you may not be able to put a perfect finger on, but is perfectly executed.  A fury of fingers plucking every note right with hands that click and knock enough to satisfy a desire for a back line of drumming and melodic tones that strings everything together. R y G are synchronized gold medalists of sure footed rhythms. Oh and the visuals? The visuals were awesome, massive, scaling, moving, transforming art and I’ll leave it at that because you should go and see. Read More

© 2014 Dace Hines

The Voice is an Instrument: A Review of Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band & Tara Jane O’Neil @ The Independent


Last Wednesday, The Independent served up a modern musical cocktail, concocted of three distinct elements that (like any good drink) combined formed an experience greater than the sum of its parts. Tunde Adebimpe (from TV on the Radio fame) rolled through town with his new project, and brought a couple interesting opening acts along for the ride.

Local jazz-rockers Black Cobra Vipers (previous coverage here) opened the show to a fairly thin crowd, breezing comfortably through all the songs on their excellent EP (appropriately titled EP). Because it was Wednesday in San Francisco, the audience did their best to act cool and careless, however they couldn’t help but tap their feet and bob their heads to the Vipers’ infectious groovin’. Nice job, boys.

Next up was Portland songwriter and visual artist Tara Jane O’Neil, who slipped onto stage silently like a sniper. Feathers of hair poked sheepishly from under her crooked baseball cap as she twiddled a few knobs on a floor-mounted pedalboard, bathed in a backdrop of deep blue stage lights. With such an unassuming presence, you’d be forgiven for thinking she was a guitar tech setting up… Read More

Eyes on the shore reexport 4-1

Where Surf Meets Blues: A Review of Eyes on the Shore @ Hotel Utah


Heavy reverb. Huge sound. Crashing surf. Drop in some Hendrix-esque guitar licks, heavy bass, an extra floor tom, a clean white Stratocaster…and kaboom, you have Eyes on the Shore. The band headlined Hotel Utah last Saturday night, and all was good — actually, more than all good. The band is gearing up to play Oysterfest in Golden Gate Park this weekend, and rest assured — they’re firing on all cylinders.

For those who don’t know, Hotel Utah is an awesomely tiny venue in SOMA that holds maybe 100 people, and gives an incredible up-close and personal experience with the band. It was the perfect venue to see a band that’s in the early stages of what I like to think will be a long-winded run.

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Watch: A Million Billion Dying Suns Drops New Video For “Hey Man”


Well…it’s about damn time [good] music videos made a comeback. The California-native psychedelic band A Million Billion Dying Suns (AMBDS) just teamed up with French Press Films to release a new video for “Hey Man”, and it’s perfection.

The video takes us on a mustachioed adventurer’s journey through hell and back, in a visually stunning, nightmarish and hallucinogenic portrayal of what it’s like to have your ass kicked by bikers, wizards, and lizard sirens — all to a sublime backdrop of screaming guitar licks and reverb-laden vocals. But don’t worry: our protagonist makes it back to the party just in time to pass out in the bathroom.

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PREMIERE: Mike Sempert strikes gold on his own – Coming to the Rickshaw Stop May 14th


Maybe it’s because Mike Sempert and I are ascending into adulthood at roughly the same time that his album Mid Dream – devoted to this transition, and set to be released May 6 on the Velvet Blue Music label – strikes such a chord. What else is it really that touches us in music though? Isn’t it when, in the midst of a human moment, an artist describes that moment so well that everyone listening who is also in that moment has to scream yes yes yes? To Mid Dream I scream yes yes yes!

After 10 or so years fronting Birds & Batteries, with great local success and a good foothold on the next rung up, Sempert’s struck out on his own. It’s 2014. I have a kid. He’s married. We’re both getting lusciously, ripely into adulthood. Life is more complicated here, and Mid Dream speaks to this with a wise and humble eye. Read More

DWNTWN at Neck of the Woods

DWNTWN Brings Good Vibes and Dreamy Beats to Neck of The Woods


Last friday night, up-and-coming LA-based DWNTWN brought its dreamy synth pop beats to San Francisco’s Richmond district. The dance floor practically vibrated with energy as they brought some of their Southern California vibes to the notoriously foggy Richmond District.

The band started as the duo of Jamie Leffler and Robert Cepeda but now tours as a four piece band with the addition of Chris Sanchez and Dan Vanchieri. Leffler provides airy vocals and a larger than life stage presence that is grounded by Cepeda’s harmonies and biting electronic hooks.

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Back at the Greek, the National’s Older Material Shines

Photographs by Jason Palodino

Photographs by Jason Palodino

The National’s Sunday evening performance at the Greek Theater began the way that countless National shows have begun over the years: with the slow-burning “Start a War.” But where this show differed from many of those performances is that even at the front of the theater, the crowd was a bit sparse. After quickly selling out a Saturday show, the second day was added to lukewarm interest. It was still mostly full, but when’s the last time you could make a beeline to the stage ten minutes before the National play?

While anthemic crowd-pleasers like “Mistaken for Strangers” and “Bloodbuzz Ohio” were as tight as ever, they also felt a bit stale. The formula went roughly like this: Read More

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