Fundraiser for Bay Area Women & Children’s Center @ Great American Thurs 3/16

03/15/2017

Kendra McKinley, Vanwave, and the Rainbow Girls co-headline an amazing night of music at the Great American Music Hall this Thursday night in support of the Bay Area Women and Children’s Center (BAWCC). BAWCC provides services to some of the most vulnerable San Franciscans, providing clothing, health services and more to women and children in precarious financial situations. It’s places like BAWCC that make San Francisco great. So get yourself together and head out to GAMH to support this great cause and hear these badass psych-folk indie rock n rollers do their thing. More information and tickets can be found here

Kendra McKinley “Canyon Canon”

Vanwave “Ghost”

Rainbow Girls “She-Bop Nation”

Tonight @ the Independent: Sinkane gets you moving

03/03/2017

Words by Abel Habtegeorgis

Growing up, Sinkane didn’t know a lot of people like him. Born Ahmed Gallab in London England, the younger version of Sinkane moved around quite a bit and lived all over the world, including in Utah where he developed a love of Mondays.

“Best day of the week,” he says enthusiastically during a phone interview with SF Critic. “See in Utah, everything was closed on Sundays so I never got why people called it the first of day of a new week and to me isn’t the right time to start anew anyway”.

Unlike a lot of normal people, Sinkane loves his Mondays and uses the day to recharge and reboot. Makes sense for someone who maintains a grueling tour schedule that has seen him and his band play all over the world at a mind numbing pace. Read More

Round Up: What Tech Blogs Think of Lorde’s New Single “Green Light”

03/02/2017

Instead of sharing our thoughts on the Lorde’s highly anticipated new single “Green Light” we thought we would see what some of the top publications in the tech world have to say. This is the first new music from Lorde in about three years and the first off her upcoming album Melodrama.

First up we have The Verge. Like many, the authors are excited for new Lorde after the ground-breaking album Heroine but the reception is timid at best. “The song, “Green Light,” is fine, but this whole thing is kind of like that friend who keeps promising to take you to a great new restaurant, and then when she does — almost four years later — it turns out to be a Chop’t.”

Senior Verge Oreo reviewer Dan Seifert also had this to say:

Business Insider takes a different approach to their review, instead focusing on more of the technical aspects of the new song. We learn that this is Lorde’s first album written and produced with Jack Antonoff of Fun. and Bleachers. There is also a solid breakdown of the songs cadence: ‘The song starts with piano and Lorde’s singing before exploding into a skittering drum beat and a soaring chorus that goes, “I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it.”‘

In Forbes, we hear more about Lorde’s stylistic evolution, a move from “gloom” to “a more upbeat feeling.” As this writer puts it this all points to a promising if not somewhat overly aggressive future for the star. “She may have changed lanes, but it has now become clear she is driving on her own road, one where there is no room for other pop stars.”

The overall reviews seemed a bit mixed, but it’s clear that the tech world is hungry for more disruption from this 20 year old prodigy from New Zealand.

Editors Note: We will update this post when the coverage from TechCrunch comes in.

Black Marble & Uniform Join Forces for Noise Pop’s Weirdest Lineup @ Starline Social Club

02/25/2017

Wednesday night, a few bands with seemingly little in common rolled through Oakland’s Starline Social Club as part of Noise Pop’s 25th anniversary festival. I’m not sure how to describe this lineup except like when you walk into the kitchen super hungry at 1am (probably for the 3rd time) and all you can find is Ritz crackers, marshmallows, and a bottle of Sriracha. All good stuff, but who would be crazy enough to combine them? 1am you, in a moment of either starved desperation or unhinged creative liberty, that’s who. But somehow, it just… works. Sorta. Once you get used to the taste.

Read More

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INTERVIEW: SF native Hanni El Khatib comes home to the Chapel tomorrow night

02/23/2017

San Francisco born Hanni El Khatib is a vintage blues rocker in the vein of The Black Keys, but with a little dab of punk and funk.  He’s garnered more than 8 million spins on Spotify with his four releases, the most recent of which, Savage Times, is a collection of 5 EPs released throughout 2016 plus four new songs. Bursting with raw energy, his songs hit you hard and leave a mark. 

“If the ones who hate me don’t kill me first /
the ones that love me gonna harm me worse”
~ Hanni El Khatib in “Gonna Die Alone”

In advance of his sold out Noise Pop set at The Chapel tomorrow (Friday) night, El Khatib took a few minutes to answer some of SF Critic’s pressing questions about where he went to school in town, how the current political climate is affecting his music, and, most importantly, his favorite local burrito spot. 


SF CRITIC (SFC): You’re an SF native! Rad. What schools did you go to? 
HANNI EL KHATIB (HEK): Alamo & SH

SFC: The influences in your music are too many to name. What are the influences that we might not hear -musicians or other artists who impacted your art but aren’t referenced necessarily in the sound?

HEK: I dunno. I like all the rhythmic stuff that goes on in a lot of Nigerian music. I also love the vocal production on the Travis Scott and Young Thug stuff. Read More

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Noise Pop 25: Diet Cig Pack Brick & Mortar Music Hall

02/23/2017

Noise Pop 25 continued to impress last night at Brick and Mortar with a stellar lineup of female-fronted rock acts. The bill showcased local acts Joyride! and Plush, and they didn’t disappoint the sell out crowd. Joyride! with their fast-paced punk riffs was the perfect appetizer. Plush, which features some familiar faces from The She’s, kept the energy flowing with their brand of rock that seems to borrow from a plethora of genres including shoegaze, psych and maybe even some 90s grunge. The combination of the openers’ playing styles, set the table perfectly for Diet Cig.

The first thing that strikes you about the New York, punk-pop duo is an incredible energy. Vocalist/guitarist Alex Luciano couldn’t wait to get the crowd going, leading a pre-show jumping session to warm everyone up. Things didn’t calm down once the music started as she jumped on and off drummer Noah Bowman‘s kit, her amp and pretty much anything she could throughout the performance. In “Scene Sick” she sings “I just wanna to dance” and everyone at the show can now confirm.

 The other other striking characteristic of Diet Cig is a real sense of honestly. The simplicity of the pop guitar chords, is balanced with lyrics that shift from both deep to superficial, but always seem objectively true. Songs hit topics like hooking up in the back of a car at 16, an ode to Luciano’s dad, and of course heartbreak.The duo’s newest release “Tummy Ache” is a great example of the in-your-face honestly of their songwriting. Read More

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Thao’s electrified new video “Meticulous Bird”

02/23/2017

Thao Nguyen – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – have just released a video for “Meticulous Bird” off 2016’s A Man Alive,  and it is electrifying. The track is visceral – a body experience as much as something to listen to – and the video (created by Johnny Look) plays that element up perfectly with glitchy visuals and Nguyen dancing through the aisles of an empty grocery store. It feels angry, dark, powerful, emerging, busting out. The eyes of a dead fish twitch. There’s a powerful defiance in this video, premiered by NPR Music today.

(Might I thank whatever forces brought Nguyen and Merrill Garbus (the producer of the track/album) to collaborate? A match made in musical heaven.) 

Nguyen’s statement only reinforces the clearly expressed sentiment of this video:

“The heart of this song is in the reclamation of the body. I wrote it for survivors of sexual violence in particular, and those who resist the abuse of power in general … Director Jonny Look gave me the opportunity to present the song in all its facets: the darkness, the dark humor, the unfettered anger and the complexities of moving on from violation and how the memory of trespass rises to the fore and then recedes into the every day.
 
My ongoing hope for ‘Meticulous Bird’ is that a survivor of any kind would hear it and want to use it: to celebrate their sovereignty, to remind themselves of their power, to warn those who would exploit the vulnerabilities of others that such trespasses against the humanity of one or many will never go unanswered. My updated and amended hope for ‘Meticulous Bird’ is that it is just one contribution of an endless many in the efforts to resist and to notify whoever needs notifying: you have no idea how ferocious we can and will be.” ~ Thao Nguyen

There is an accompanying t-shirt, designed by Thao, available for just three days here. It says “Oh my Oh my God / You didn’t know we get ferocious” – the perfect protest shirt for the present climate. All proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood. Thao will be at The Chapel on March 15th. Tickets here.

Press photo.

Mad Love for JoJo in San Francisco

02/22/2017
There was a moment in the middle of JoJo’s set, on Sunday night in San Francisco, where she held the mic out to the crowd, and it felt like every person in the room yelled the lyrics to “Baby It’s You” back at her. To someone new to Joanna Levesque’s story, they would never have known the song is over a decade old!
 

JoJo first came on the scene in 2014 as a thirteen-year-old singer with the breakout hit, “Leave (Get Out)”, which made her the youngest ever solo number one musician on the US Billboard charts. It spawned a platinum-selling self-titled album and an army of loyal and dedicated fans. Troubles at her then label Blackground, left the young singer in limbo, not able to release music officially. After years stuck in hiatus, she was able to sign a new contract with Atlantic and work on releasing her third album; her first in ten years.

As the lights went dark, chants of “JoJo. JoJo,” reverberated around the sold out concert venue. These cheers turned into a roar as she appeared on stage. The Foxborough, MA-raised musician matched this energy with a high-octane start. The bright synths of “Clovers” travelled over the crowd and the crowd responded with as much dancing as the tight space in the packed venue would allow.

 JoJo at Regency Ballroom-01

While much has changed for JoJo, she still appears to enjoy her older music. She wasted no time in performing “Leave (Get Out)”, the words finding new meaning from the lips of a twenty-six-year-old woman as opposed to the teenager who initially sang the song.

The set was a mixture of pop-R&B in all its forms; from a racy lap dance for an unexpecting fan, Michael, during “High Heels”, to her performance of “Like This”, which oozed sensuality. “FAB” felt grittier than the recorded version, the guitars swirling around JoJo’s vocals to add even more weight to one of the anthems from her latest album, 2016’s Mad Love.

It was the songs from the missing years between the release of The High Road and Mad Love which helped to draw the set together. Her version of Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” helped — “I’ve been up for three days / Adderall and RedBull”, the opening line, was screamed by those who knew and drew smiles among those unfamiliar. “Save My Soul,” added to the setlist by popular demand, she confessed, was warm and inviting. JoJo may not have released an album in ten years; however, it never felt like she went away.

 

JoJo at Regency Ballroom-07

Mad Love was an opportunity for JoJo to come into her own as a songwriter, which allowed her to delve into more personal stories. The opening track on her album, “Music”, offered a sobering moment as she sung about her relationship with her family. The rendition started with her alone on stage with just a piano accompaniment. The song grew at the same pace as the emotions in the room. Looking around you could sense how this personal tale resonated with so many people.

As the night ended, and people left the venue with only a little voice left after all the singing, I found myself whistling her songs on the way home. JoJo’s performance was engaging and impassioned. And, after being held back for such a long time, it looks like her star is finally going to be allowed to shine brightly.

Photos: The Knocks Continue to Impress and Evolve at Sold Out Fillmore Show

02/15/2017

 

Thursday night NYC-based producing duo The Knocks once again turned a San Francisco venue into an insane dance party. After selling out three nights at The Independent last year and packing the Twin Peaks stage at Outside Lands this time the two took on the historic Fillmore and got the whole floor moving.

Attendees were treated to new tracks from the just released Testify EP including an amazing new collaboration with MNEK called “WORSHIP.” Check out that new new below: 

 

 

Longtime fans were also treated to the disco-inspired jams like “Classic” with the help of Mark Johns and “Comfortable.” The Knocks have been on a steady climb in popularity since 2014 and a recent European tour with Justin Bieber has really given them a boast around the world. If the new tracks are any indication their second album might be a real mainstream breakthrough, only time will tell.

Ben “BRoc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson are currently taking a breather after the west coast leg of their Feel Good Feel Great Tour and hit the east coast in about two weeks. Check out pics below and more on the tour here. Read More

Song of the Day: Phoebe Ryan Wants Your “Dark Side”

02/15/2017

LA-based Phoebe Ryan hasn’t been wasting any time so far in 2017, giving us another new single “Dark Side.” The new single combines Ryan’s impassioned, breathy lyrics with synth-infused beats that might be equally at home in a Tropical House set. Tying the song together are moments of calm featuring a simple guitar riff and her entrancing voice.

Ryan has recently been on tour with Swedish pop sensation Tove Lo, which has been the perfect pairing of of badass women. The two apparently met when Phoebe gave Tove a jello shot out of her pocket. Throughout the tour Ryan’s social media has focused on her goal of giving the audience an amazing show while being herself; touting how great it was to perform in her PJ’s when the airline lost her clothes recently. Given this, it’s not hard to understand why “Dark Side” is a song about loving someone for who they even if they aren’t perfect. Check it out:

 

Phoebe Ryan finishes up her tour with Tove Lo this month on the east coast. More info at her official site here. You can also check out some photos of Phoebe Ryan from her stop here in SF last year here.  

 

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