Tove Styrke, The Tropics and GNTLMN Light Up popscene at The Rickshaw Stop


Friday night, Popscene once again took over The Rickshaw Stop in the Civic Center for a night of high energy pop. Tove Styrke headlined, representing Sweden’s exploding pop music ecosystem and was joined by locals The Tropics, and LA’s GNTLMN. As always, Popscene’s Aaron Axelsen was on hand to spin new music between sets.

I need to make a quick disclosure. On Friday, I was in the middle of a terrible cold, and the only way I could rally to get to the show was to shove my face full of DayQuil™ washed down with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale™. So for me, everything was weird, slightly shiny and mildly drowsy. Read More

TDM3 - Live Photo (Meredith Powell)

The Devil Makes Three Prepares to Rock the Fox Theater January 31st


The Devil Makes Three are kicking off 2015 with a rigorous tour schedule, and will make a stop in Oakland on January 31st. The large capacity of the Fox Theater should not daunt this trio, seeing as they have made a reputation out of blowing away large festival crowds and small venues alike with the relentless energy they bring to their rockabilly infused Americana.

During this North American tour the band will be selling a seven inch featuring a couple new tunes produced by Buddy Miller which mark the first new music released by the group since 2013’s critically acclaimed I’m a Stranger Here.  The new tracks bring a soulful polish to the bands folk steeped roots, a sound which should be right at home in the elegantly cavernous Fox Theater.

Tickets are still available for $25 + fees here.

Photo by Meredith Powell

hella gay 2014

Hella Gay in Oakland Wants You to Come Party; Gay or Straight


Hella Gay Oakland Queer Dance Party,  or simply Hella Gay, has been a destination for some serious ass shaking in Oakland for the past six years. Originally conceived by DJ’s GSTAR and Hey Hey Hey after they threw a New Year’s Eve party so fun, they decided to make it a monthly event. Hella Gay was held for years at The Uptown Nightclub in Oakland, but after it shut its doors a couple months ago, the collective is now seeking a new permanent home. The music played is all across the board, but what’s most crucial according to the crew is that it gets people dancing.

The lineup has changed throughout the years as members rotated in and out with GSTAR as a holdfast. Hella Gay now welcomes two new members, DR. SPINZ and FELA KUTCHii. The parties happen the fourth Saturday of every month from 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets are $5 at the door, 21+, Location TBA.

I got to ask the members a few questions about Hella Gay below: Read More


Ticket Giveaway: The Hot Toddies & Rainbow Girls @ The Fillmore


We have two tickets to give away for Saturday January 31st as The Hot Toddies finally make their way onto the Fillmore stage. Sharing the night with three other local, all-female crews – Rainbow Girls, The Shes, and Kendra McKinley – this bill is sure to please.

The eternal appeal of The Hot Toddies, celebrating their 10th anniversary with this show, is in their ability to flip sweetness on it’s face while still oozing it. Their voices never step outside of that good-girl-next-door cadence as they lay lyrics like “Conversations keep passing me by / All I wanna do is sit around with you and get high / When you’re near me breathing you set my soul on fire / It’s too bad so sad I’m a blood sucking fucking vampire” on you. Breezy, dreamy surf pop blended with dark, bass-driven, rock that makes you blush and giggle.

Kendra McKinley opens with a rare solo performance. Another surf-popping girl group, The Shes support, with harmonies as tight as if they’ve been singing together since elementary school (which apparently they have). And Rainbow Girls close down the night with their whiskey-soaked, foot-stomping sound.

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Song of the Day: The Tropics “Take You Home”


SF-based pop rockers The Tropics are back with another video for single “Take You Home.” While the song has been floating around since the release of their EP Wind House, it was originally a bonus available only on the vinyl edition of the album.

I spent much of 2014 following the act and it looks like 2015 is off to a great start for The Tropics. The new song features some wicked guitar solos, horn elements and soulful refrains. Frank Door directed the video, capturing show footage along with casual shots of Bernal and The Mission. Watching the video kind of feels like walking from El Rio to Bart after drinking three too many.

The Tropics will be opening for Sweden’s amazing dance export Tove Stryke January 16th at Rickshaw Stop. This is the bargain of 2015 so far, at only about $15 bucks with fees.

Check out our past coverage of The Tropics if you like what you hear.





Song of the Day: “The Rain” by Oh Wonder


Oh Wonder, known as Wonder Wonder when we first posted about them, is that mysterious duo from the UK releasing a single track on the 1st of each month all year long. Yesterday, they released the 5th song, “The Rain,” and it keeps the impressive energy of the album moving, building up from last month’s melancholic (and heartbreakingly beautiful) ballad “All You Do.” Starting with an easy-listening, 70’s soft rock feel, the song layers in darker synths in mid-way through after the male-female vocals twist upwards in a continued showcase of melodic prowess.

It is one thing to say, “We want the music to speak for itself,” and not let details of the band’s individual stories or personalities intersect with the purity of the songs. They’re not the only band who has done this kind of thing, not even the only one doing it now. Yet, it is quite another thing for the music to actually stand this impressively on its own. The music DOES speak for itself.

These are gorgeously composed, performed, and produced songs, and with every new song, my hunger for this album grows. I can feel the arcing energy as themes emerge and melodic and lyrical patterns reveal themselves.  Maybe because it is all I know about this band, the music feels like a mini-opera. And I feel a lurching ache for the next scene.

With a combined 2.5 million listens for these 5 songs on Soundcloud, I have a feeling I’m not alone in this aching. Follow them here.


Panic is Perfect Continues to Tease Upcoming EP with Single “Build a Wall”


As we reach the last days of 2014 Panic is Perfect is giving us some great new music to look forward to in 2015. The SF-based electronic pop group was a late entrant to the local scene this year but is already generating some buzz and even made Aaron Axelsen of Live 105’s list of top SF acts of 2014.

They first captured our attention with “Go Go Go,” which is definitely in my top five local tracks in 2014. The flowing synth, violin samples and impossibly-catchy vocal harmonies make this an act to watch in 2015.

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If Your Friends Tell You Horse Feathers is Average Live, Your Friends are Wrong


Horse Feathers is great rainy day music. (They’ve been a staple for me in the weather we’ve had the past few days in the Bay.) But I was warned they give only an average live performance. With that looming in the back of my mind, I walked in to their show at Great American Music Hall. What they gave was a performance that was anything but average and left my comrade, who knew nothing about the group before that evening, saying that this was the first live show in a year worth going to.

The architecture of the building is gorgeously reminiscent of 1920s grandeur. People lounged at cocktail tables sipping whiskeys, enjoying the syrupy voice of opener Sara Jackson-Holman. Her haunting crooning complemented the speakeasy ambiance. Read More


Trentemøller’s Electro-Industrial Thanksgiving Treat @ The Fillmore


Last week, we locked ourselves in a familial cage and stuffed our faces with turkey until our eyes popped out and we swore to never, ever go back for fifths again for the rest of our lives. (Didn’t we learn this last year? And the year before?) A couple days earlier, Copenhagen-based multi-instrumentalist and bootstrapping badass Trentemøller stopped by The Fillmore to send us off into the weekend with more than just turkey and tears. This was one of the last shows supporting the touring cycle for last year’s Lost album, and I can tell you right now the band is still picking up steam, even as the tour winds down.

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Giveaway + Interview: Dustin Brown of NTNT on Portland Music Scene, Yeasayer and Being a SF Tourist


Saturday December 13th, Portland-based NTNT will bring a little bit of the Pacific Northwest and a lot of synthed up indie pop to Neck of the Woods. They are sharing the stage with local act Scissors for Lefty and Dangermaker in what is bound to be a high energy, dance heavy billing.

The only thing that could make your Saturday night better is getting into the show for free, and we have you covered there. Enter below (it takes maybe a minute) and you will be entered to win a pair of tickets.

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