Mixing Business With Poison: Why Readers Can’t Trust SF Sounds

04/19/2017

By Bob Patterson

Here in the Bay Area, we are lucky to have a great community of local culture and music writers. I end up spending a few hours a week enjoying the work of other local writers in a wide variety of publications. But as of this last week, I can no longer trust that the music opinions of SF Sounds aren’t being used to settle the business scores of its publisher.

When I first saw this issue’s cover story ‘The Backstreet Boys of Bluegrass’ about The Brothers Comatose I thought it was pretty funny and was interested in some burns about the dorky coordinated dance moves they throw into their shows. What I got instead was a noticeably unhinged hit piece that was baffling in scale. I have nothing against calling out a bad show, bad behavior or even hating a band, but there was obviously something else going on for SF Sounds to go all in on a local, indie bluegrass band. I can understand how The Brothers Comatose might not be your thing, but I find their music to be generally interesting and fun.

The second fishy part of this story is that it wasn’t attributed to an author, and even has this bizarre correction online alerting readers that the person originally credited with the story, did not, in fact, write it. “Print copies incorrectly attributed the author as Patrick Knowles.” It turns out there is someone at SF Sounds that might have a reason to hate The Brothers Comatose, and this motive is even in the damn story. I am talking about SF Sounds publisher Jason Perkins, who in the past, has already been called out for not self-identifying in editorials (among other concerns).

Via SF Sounds Masthead

In the story, we don’t learn a lot, but we do learn that one of the reasons The Brothers Comatose should be scolded is alleged bad behavior by them and their fans at Comatopia, a festival hosted by the band at Sierra Valley Lodge in 2016. Read More

Cathedrals Throw Nightingale Blowout Party to Release New Single “Don’t Act Like A Stranger”

03/31/2017

Saturday was a big day for electronic duo Cathedrals, not only were Johnny Hwin and Brodie Jenkins celebrating their recent birthdays, but they also shipped us a taste of new music. And what better way to mark a few milestones than throw a crazy party? Called Nightingale, the event brought together an amazing group dressed in all black for the occasion. The theme was ‘chic noir’, think Black Swan meets Don Juan. 

Photo by Shanna McIntyre

Early in the night Cathedrals set the mood by giving attendees a sneak peak at the upcoming video for “Don’t Act Like A Stranger” which we are told is dropping soon. They then treated us to a few stripped down songs on the venue’s piano. Johnny and Brodie have been teasing us with a few releases including 2016’s “Howling” and a remix EP since their self-titled EP in 2014, but this is our first peak into whats next. Listen to the new track below: 

Featuring pulsing synths, an incredibly catchy guitar rift and layers of Brodie Jenkin’s sultry lyrics “Don’t Act Like A Stranger” captures all the magic that propelled the duo to one of SF’s most buzzed about acts a few years ago. After a few listens you will be hungry for more new music.

The night ended like all good parties should, with a sing-a-long to Bohemian Rhapsody. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more Nightingale events in the future in addition to new tracks from Cathedrals.

 

Eve Fleishman brings dreamy folk-tinged jazz to Monument Saturday

03/23/2017

If you’ve been feasting on a steady diet of indie and pop, do yourself a favor and cleanse your palette with the sweet sounds of Eve Fleishman. She’ll be playing through her newest album, Atmospheric Epic on Saturday night at Monument. 

Fleishman’s sound resembles contemporary greats like Nora Jones and Alison Krauss, while also harkening back to another era when melody ruled songwriting (the Gershwins, Irving Berlin etc). By her own description the album nods to Walt Whitman’s American epic poem (Leaves of Grass, the book/poem he released in increasingly thick volumes throughout his life), and indeed it is full of poetry and stories. The album is buoyed by impeccable performances from all its players, and is both atmospheric and beguiling. Fleishman’s voice floats innocent and pristine on a melancholic sea, as if we are sailing from Nashville to San Francisco with her (a move she made a few years ago), picking up flecks of Americana along the way and culminating in a laid back cover of Joni Mitchell’s “California”. 

You can listen to the whole album below. The show on Saturday will be at Monument, a work space and venue at 140 9th Street in SF. More info and tickets are here. The utterly adorable Justin Seagrave will open the evening. 

Black Mountain Commune With Darkness at The Chapel

03/19/2017

I go through phases where I don’t necessarily loose my faith in new Rock & Roll, but feel a bit disillusioned with it. I ask myself, “What can you show me that hasn’t been done better by (fill in the name of any heavy 70’s legends here)?” Whenever I get that fatalistic feeling, the most sure fire way to become re-enchanted with the genre is to get out and hear some live music.

The limitations of a home stereo, and neighborly goodwill, often prevent us from hearing this music as it was intended: pants pissingly loud, that is. It is only at decibel levels frowned upon by doctors and mothers everywhere that one can truly commune with the spirit of Rock. After my pilgrimage to The Chapel on Thursday, my faith has been restored. Like so many TV evangelists, Black Mountain and supporting act zZz laid a healing hand on my withered musical spirit.

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Song of the Day: “20 Motherfuckers” by The Wyatt Act @ Piano Fight 3/23

03/18/2017

The Wyatt Act released this song, “20 Motherfuckers”, a few months back and if a retail outlet hadn’t already coopted the term, I’d say it was San Franpsycho. They call it Slam Rock. They even have a manifesto:

“SlamRock Manifesto:

Street-corner style poetry meets transgressive rock. SlamRock is a philosophy, a lifestyle, an attitude, a swagger. SlamRock is a reaction to a society of detached, automatic, alienated, civilized play-acts. SlamRock values process over product and interaction over isolation. 3 Principles of SlamRock: Spontaneity, Variety, Put on a fucking show!”

And put on a show they do. The last one that I attended was an all participatory (though not mandatory) strip show while badass bassist and singer Guinevere Q (“No Big Fucking Deal” the people shout upon hearing her name) screamed over the drums and trumpets. 

“20 Motherfuckers” speaks to the heart of being an artist in San Francisco through the last bunch of years, as the streets have increasingly emptied of the beautiful freaks who once defined the arts scene, replaced by people staring at their phones. It’s partly, but never completely angry and outraged. The anger is tempered by its own playfulness. It’s the kind of song that reminds you that smashing the system can be energizing and fun too. 

They’re playing at Piano Fight on Thursday 3/23 with Van Goat and Northern Waste. The show is a fundraiser for the San Francisco Tenants Union, and true to their manifesto it will be a fucking show. Called “House Meeting”, it will include roommate interviews, chore wheels, games, prizes, advice from a Housing Rights Lawyer, and an opportunity to support a great cause. 

Shigeto, on making the 20′ in front of him a better place / @ The Midway 3/18

03/15/2017

Zach Saginaw, known by his middle name/moniker Shigeto, let me know right away that he had just returned, “about 20 hours ago”, from playing shows in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and that yesterday was both his birthday and the night of his ongoing residency (with friends) at Motor City Wine bar in Detroit. But over the course of nearly an hour’s conversation, he proved that even sleep deprived and jet lagged, he is an artist devoted to improvisation, experimentation, and growth.

Saginaw is in town on Saturday night as the featured performer at a multi-media, immersive, technological (and likely quite long) experimental performance –  Luminary: Art, Music, Tech – at the Midway. The night will bring together nearly two dozen artists in what Future Fires and The Midway are calling the first in an ongoing series of collaborations aimed at exploring “the visionary work of creators and musicians from around the world using emerging technologies: immersive audio, drones, VR, projection mapping, and more.” It’s an apt setting for Saginaw, whose musical life is rooted in collaborative improvisation via his start as a jazz drummer. 

Those who know Shigeto’s music know it is born out of a vast lineage of influences – jazz, hip-hop, electronic, folk. Every song weaves organic instrumentation – eg drum kit, shakers, hand drums, a bell tree, a mbira – with futuristic sounds from synthesizers, drum machines, and samples of familiar video game bleeps or clinking glasses or drum sticks falling to the floor (for example), that are filtered, played backwards, repeated, echoed. The result is a rich and polyrhythmic exploration of sound and emotion, a sonic map of a moment that somehow stills feels spacious and ambient. Read More

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.

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