Sweden's The Sounds perform.

THE SOUNDS rumble The Regency Ballroom


The Sounds. I did not know. I was not ready. How did this band of 16 years slip between my jaded fingers? Swedish lead babe Maja Ivarsson was cool from the start: black leather jacket (like me), white shirt (like me), heels (like me), hair pulled back with bangs (like me) — I love me, she was IN and that’s not just why. Ivarsson lit a cigarette on the Regency’s stage, which is her law-given right under a cabaret license, and, when finished, flicked it strong and long into the crowd. Why does this activity rile us so?

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Tycho’s Dream Comes True With Sold Out Fillmore Show w/ Trails and Ways


San Francisco based Tycho (Scott Hansen) gave the hometown crowd a thrill Thursday night at The Fillmore, telling fans that playing the sold out venue was “a dream come true.” Hansen, who produces ambient-leaning electronic music under the moniker Tycho, brought his studio creations to life with the help of a drummer, guitarist and bassist. The lush mix of guitar riffs, electronic beats and intense drumming felt similar to shows put on by M83, but without lyrics.

Hansen is also a visual artist and each song was accompanied by a blend of video and graphic design projected on a screen two stories high behind the stage. Mellow melodies played out on guitar and synthesizer were accompanied by highly-saturated, slow motion footage of birds flying, surfers and other mind-bending, kaleidoscope video creations. The spectacle was truly performance art. Read More


Grab Your Tambourine and Check Out “The Stone” by Terraplane Sun


Today Venice, CA based Terraplane Sun announced its upcoming album Generation Blues. As the album title suggests, the group plays a kind of modern indie blues rock with some great dancing potential. They also dropped the single “The Stone” which you can check out below. The track has a great beat and a ton of great energy and character. I will be keeping an eye out for the full album in June.

Check out “The Stone” below and let us know what you think.

Photo Credit: Mark Maryanovich

Moby, Little Dragon, Phantogram & Gramatik to Headline Lightning In A Bottle Festival 2014



The music lineup for the Lightning in a Bottle Festival 2014 has been announced, and it features Moby, Little Dragon, Phantogram, Gramatik, Beats Antique, Amon Tobin, Baauer, Gold Panda, Simian Mobile Disco, Claude VonStroke and more.

This internationally renowned transformative music and art experience, celebrating its 9th year, also includes the sounds of The Polish Ambassador, Damian Lazarus, Cashmere Cat, Chet Faker, Lee Burridge, and the Lucent Dossier Experience

This year the festival is Memorial Day Weekend - May 22-26 2014, at a location closer to San Francisco than in previous years: San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, CA, down in Monterey County.

Organizers say: “Lightning in a Bottle is a fusion of electronic music and introspective qualities of installation art, live performance, spiritual workshops, and an overarching embodiment of cultural and environmental consciousness.

Much of Lightning in a Bottle’s intimate singularity is expressed through The Lucent Temple of Consciousness, a sanctuary for all participants who inspire to enrich the soul and spirit. The 2014 schedule inside the Lucent Temple, built out of recycled and found objects, will include over 300 different experiences in yoga, workshops, speakers and exotic world music.”

Check out the Temple’s Line-up:


and the Yoga Line-Up:IXECQvgr90NzRoLLNBJhttjY-ydlXHBEu7ALrksw_uTXK-dtSIuGPopn-1F0AeWfiM4JlIYf6H8CgyuhCr69tUi9jNJmdP9JgPEOlm6vtczJwg24UTzVlt6qdj4AHocamzR7IMKshL_4VgLe=s0-d-e1-ft

For the 5th year in a row, the Grand Artique Stage will be back at Lightning in a Bottle, and this year they are aiming to go bigger than ever.  Bringing back to life their town Frontierville, a fully immersive Trading Post/General Store and a heavy-hitting line-up to rip up their own Live Music Stage.   9tx05M1vAvIFW-UCFN_N-hVc9UpGeikcbSsj0MZDHgY5b8VrYyUJIhY2_NhB5l-AF75XOC68zJAJFsGrW2-OwWusO-DHm_tA24C9fCclcjFA_1Ux7AjGzrI-PulY-ol_f32p9LffE2vVuQ=s0-d-e1-ft


The Do LaB just released a new video highlighting the lure and magic of the festival. Check it out and buy your tickets early at www.lightninginabottle.org

BottleRock Napa Valley Drops 2014 Lineup – Outkast, The Cure, Robert Earl Keen and More



BottleRock Napa Valley music festival announced their preliminary lineup today, and it’s a doozy — as an ATLien, and a breathing human being, this lineup has me pumped. With Outkast, The Cure, and Eric Church at the top of the bill, the festival is jam packed with some serious talent. The festival is set for May 30 – June 1 at the Napa Expo Center in downtown Napa.
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Beck Tour 2014 for Morning Phase


We don’t often share tour dates, but in the case of Beck we hope this is seen as a plea to his troupe to add a Bay Area date. (Beck, please add a Bay Area date.) As an artist who’s catalogue remains fresh, even fifteen years later, Beck’s latest album Morning Phase is no different. The highly lauded album is already a contender for best in 2014, spending its second week in the top 10 of the U.S. album chart since its release in late February.

As someone fortunate enough to have caught his performance for Pop-up Magazine’s “Music Magazine” last year–if you have the opportunity to catch him–don’t let it slip by. His calendar is open for the Bay Area’s slated Outside Lands. Could it be a sign? You heard the rumor here first. Read More

G-eazy_sfcritic 10

It’s Happening for G Eazy – These Things Happen Tour Review at The Fillmore


“These things happen.” G-Eazy repeats that phrase a few times in the night instead of saying, “Wow, this is amazing.”

It’s his current hashtag motto, as well as the title of his tour. It’s fitting. Becoming a celebrity, headlining large venues, then selling them out, and having models tweet that you’re “boss”—these things do happen for G-Eazy. Three years since graduating from Loyola University, the rapper, born Gerald Gillum, is quickly ascending into the celebrity heartthrob status of which many have always dreamed.

It’s a Wednesday night, and The Fillmore is sold out (the show sold out a month in advance)–yet it feels oddly empty. Only after our photographer struggles to get closer to the stage for photos does it become clear that crowd full of teen girls, wearing belly cut shirts, are packed so tightly to the front that the back of the room seems sparse. Center stage, the rapper stands atop a small raised platform that is illuminated by a brightly lit “G-Eazy” sign. Compared to the grandiose sets of current pop stars, this setup looks bare. But it serves its perfunctory purpose throughout the night: G climbs the stairs–making sure he’s in sight of all the girls in the crowd–then either adjusts his hair or pulls his shirt up over his face, wiping the sweat from his brow, each action receiving the same high pitched screams and calls of “We love you!” from the audience. It’s almost too much, but these things happen. Read More

Not Everything is Beer and Rock-and-Roll – Angel Olsen @ The Great American Music Hall


Angel Olsen visited us at The Great American Music Hall this Monday, playing with a four piece band (Angel on guitar, along with an additional guitarist, bassist and drummer) in what appeared to be dangerously close to a full house. The singer/songwriter has been gaining some serious national attention quickly, with features in the New York Times and multiple NPR bumps in just the last few months.

Angel got her start in Chicago, but is truly an international act — you can check out her full tour schedule here. It’s easy to imagine her playing in a dim lit coffee shop, water droplets sliding down the window behind her, as onlookers listened and warmed themselves with a cup of coffee.

I had a fairly good idea of what I was walking into, but I was thoroughly impressed with the live quality of her voice. Too many times studio albums are so well produced that talented vocalists turn out to be wildly underwhelming live–but, this was not at all the case. Although this was a relatively low energy performance, and she gave off a very “I don’t care” vibe, her voice was powerful and commanding while still being delicate with an emotional inflection.

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Behind the Visuals of Yassou Benedict’s “In Fits in Dreams.”



For many of us music is visual. Our aural senses convert tones into colors and memories. Yet, rarely on a music blog do we read about the perspective of a filmmaker creating a music video.

Gary Yost is a local Bay Area filmmaker that was approached by Lilie Bytheway-Hoy of the local indie band Yassou Benedict to make a video for the band’s song “In Fits in Dreams.” In the process of sharing the video with us, Yost explained how he conceived of the video that was filmed at eight different locations throughout San Francisco and southern Marin.

“The lyrics to the song drove the narrative,” explained Yost. “Lilie’s approach to singing lyrics is interesting in that she keeps them very vague and open to interpretation. But if you read them as written, they are extremely insightful.” Read More

Josh Epstein, Dale Jr Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr & Chad Valley Rock The Fillmore with Harmonies and Bubbles


Saturday night  Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr and Chad Valley got the trampoline-like floor of The Fillmore bouncing to a blend of electronic beats, pulsing percussion and smooth vocal melodies.

Opener Chad Valley, got the eventing started with its brand of synth pop accompanied by haunting lyrics. Many in the U.S. assume that Chad Valley is the singer’s name, but it’s actually a long running brand of toys in the UK, which artist Hugo Manuel has adopted for his act. Manuel closed his set with “Shell Suite” a song that showcases his vocal range and compositional creativity and was perfect segue into the rest of the night.

Josh Epstein, half of the quirky duo Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, was nice enough to talk with us last week in advance of the show, sharing insights into the band and showing some love for his hometown of Detroit. Saturday night he focused on some San Francisco memories – telling a story about a packed show a few years back in the early days of the band at Milk Bar and rocking a Warriors practice jersey that his mom bought him as a teen. Read More

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