Seven Things To Look Forward to at Phono del Sol Music Festival Saturday July 11th


We are big fans of The Bay Bridged here at SFCritic. Not only do they spend every day supporting local music here in San Francisco, but they also put on one of the best bang-for-your-buck music festivals in the country. I am of course talking about Phono del Sol Music and Food Festival. There is so much to love about this boutique festival that takes place in the Misson’s perfect little Potrero del Sol.

To celebrate this year’s show I decided to pick an arbitrary number of things I am looking forward to Saturday.

1. I’ll start out with an easy one, co-headliner Tanlines. Tanlines are touring on their new album Highlights released in May. This NYC duo just oozes creativity as can be heard in their music and seen in this incredible Netflix parody created to promote the album. Their electronic blend is hard to categorize, but if I had to describe it I’d say it sounds like Talking Heads recorded an album in a submarine with a sassy robot sidekick from the 80s? Check out “Pieces” off the new record, I can’t wait to hear this one in the afternoon sunshine.

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Jacco Gardner to Induce Flashbacks, Psychedelia at Brick and Mortar This Saturday (June 27)


Jacco Gardner is set to play Brick & Mortar Music Hall tomorrow night (Saturday, June 27), touring in support of his new album, Hypnophobia, which was just released on Polyvinyl Records. Judging by his sound, and the space that is Brick & Mortar, it should make for an incredibly intimate, and I would imagine flooring, experience.

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Day Wave Drops New Single for You To Weekend To


Oakland’s very own Jackson Phillips, aka Dave Wave, released a new single last week called We Try But We Don’t Fit In, and it’s a perfect tune to drift into the weekend to. It’s the kind of song that can maximize any kind of emotion that happens to be influencing you at this moment in time – whether that’s elation from seeing old friends, the flurry of excitement from new relationships, or the comforting buzz of a few cold beers on the beach. A mellow guitar line, simple yet driving, paired with harmonious vocals dipped in falsetto and reverb, this song will help transport you to wherever it is you need to be right now.

If you haven’t given up yet, and are indeed thirsty for more, check out Day Wave’s SoundCloud here.

It’s Saturday, and after reigning victorious over a doomsday-style hangover, you have a drink in your hand, the wind in your face and the sun on your back. You’re a champion, one that can’t be held back – basking in the glory that is 48 hours of pure, unadulterated exemption, free of responsibilities or decision making. Happy weekend, you beautiful Warriors.


Treasure Island Music Festival 2015 Lineup Oct 17-18 + Tickets on Sale Thursday at 10am


Great news for fans of great music and beautiful views, TIMF 2015 lineup is finally here. There is a little something for everyone this year with headliners such as The National, CHVRCHES, Father John Misty and RTJ.

While you might not see as many acts on the lineup at Treasure Island as you would at Outside Lands, you also don’t have to walk half a mile between stages and set times are staggered so you don’t miss any artists.

The whole lineup looks great and they’ve done a good job of balancing electronic and rock. Early tickets will cost you $150 + fees and when those are gone it goes up to $170 + fees. Get Tickets Thursday here.

The National
Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique
The War On Drugs
Azealia Banks
Father John Misty
STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9)
Run The Jewels
Panda Bear
Gorgon City (live)
Jose Gonzalez
Hudson Mohawke
Cashmere Cat
Drive Like Jehu
Lower Dens
Ex Hex
Mikal Cronin
Viet Cong
Bob Moses
Skylar Spence

Check out our pictures from last year here.


Photos: Sufjan Stevens Unites The Fox Theater With a Night of Music and Remembrance


Sufjan Stevens shared a unifying performance with a sold out Fox Theater on June 5th in Oakland. The focus of the evening was his album Carrie & Lowell, in which Stevens explores feelings of love, abandonment, and loss. These themes all revolve around the death of his estranged mother. Emotions were amplified as home movies of a mother and son were projected onto screens that resembled windows of a church.

Stevens brought up the word “sharing” multiple times during a mid-show speech. He questioned our natural tendency to isolate ourselves when facing grief. We all have a shared understanding of grief, and tapping into that can create a sense of community, where we can heal as a whole. Through Stevens’ songs and words, the audience at the Fox Theater was invited to take part in the grieving process as a community of empathy.

At times, during his gorgeous 23 song set, Stevens stood alone under a single spotlight, singing for the loved ones he has lost. Other times, lights and immense noise bombarded the audience, making the show a full body experience. During his song, “Fourth of July,” the line “we’re all gonna die” was repeated as lights flashed onto the passionately attentive crowd. This was a unifying, rather than morbid experience. The sound and force of the performance vibrated the entire Fox Theater as tears rolled down faces in the audience. “We have all lost many things and we all continue to share in each others’ suffering,” Stevens said. We were there that night remembering together. Read More

Miami Horror

Photos: Miami Horror Worth the Wait at The Independent


Miami Horror redefined high energy Wednesday night at The Independent with a raucous set that had the crowd dancing deep into the night. When I say the show was worth the wait I’m referring both to the 11:25 set start time on a school night and the fact that I have been trying to see the group for about four years and kept missing their shows. A few extra yawns on Thursday were definitely worth it to see this band turn the stage and audience into a jungle gym,  blasting our brains with impossibly catchy synth-disco-funk.

Before the show I had the opportunity to interview Ben Plant producer/founder/bassist extraordinaire for the group. He talked about the groups recent move from Australia to LA, and of the journey to find and fine tune their unique sound. Anyone familiar with Australian synth pop will immediately see the similarities between groups like Empire of the Sun, Cut Copy, Gypsy and the Cat, etc. But while Miami Horror can bring down the house with a dance jam just like the others I mentioned, they also bring a unique flair. The disco influence is undeniable and infectious, but what really surprises you is just how psychedelic the guys get up there. It’s feels kind of like that scene in Back to the Future where Marty McFly plays some Van Halen style guitar with the motown band, but in this case they are a disco band and McFly starts jamming some Tame Impala. Read More


Interview: Aussie Transplants Miami Horror on Crafting Their Sound Ahead of Headlining The Independent 6/3


Before Miami Horror headlines a sold out Independent on Wednesday, I had a chance interview Ben Plant, producer and creative force behind the band. They have been busy recently, moving from Australia to LA, exploring ways to to blend different genres into their music and putting out the album All Possible Futures. 

Miami Horror comes from Australia, a large island isolated from the rest of the world where marsupials and synth pop have flourished and evolved into creatures you can’t find anywhere else. The Australians have pushed the boundaries of electronic pop and created hundreds of sub-genres of synthpop. Miami Horror infuses their music with disco and other nostalgic elements, but what surprises me most is just how psycadelic the music can get. Especially the new album and tracks like “Forever Ever.” The biggest single is “Real Slow” an amazingly bouncy track that will have you bobbing whether you are hanging with friends, jamming in your car, or hating life at the office.
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Photos: The Knocks & Phoebe Ryan Ignore the Fog to Bring Summer Vibes to Sold Out Independent


If you love to dance there are few live shows that can compete with The Knocks. Thursday they put on a clinic in getting a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd moving. Outside the wind was howling and whipping up the fog, but inside warmth radiated off the crowd as The Knocks mixed a set filled with new songs, fan favorites and surprise guests.

Phoebe Ryan is supporting The Knocks on their short West Coast tour. Small in stature, the LA-based singer packs a wallop of personality and vocal power. Her smooth, breathy lyrics float on a bed of sparse electronic melodies and heavy drums. Accompanied by synth/keys and a live drummer the singer got the crowd going with her mashup of R. Kelly and Miguel “Iginition/ Do You…” and single “Mine.” She also played to the crowd with a song called “Chronic” about sex and well, chronic.

In one of the best moments I’ve seen recently at a show, someone brought a homemade sign for her high school band If The Shoe Fits, causing her to have a pretty good laugh on stage. After the her set she spent time with the fans taking pictures and talking, which is always nice to see. Read More

AlexWinston Press Photo 2_Credit to Emily Knecht

You should care about Alex Winston’s show @ The Fillmore 6/9


For a few weeks, I’ve been listening to a lot of radio pop music and yearning for substance. Somehow substance (dynamic, nuanced, well-crafted songwriting) has not been one of the defining characteristics of commercially successful pop music for decades. Today, I got the sonic equivalent of a medium-rare, pan-seared filet mignon delivered right to my inbox: Alex Winston‘s “Careless,” which you can see and hear below. She’s hitting the Fillmore Tuesday 6/9 supporting Neon Trees, and we will be there.

When “Careless” starts, I first think I’ve accidentally clicked on a track from Daft Punk‘s Random Access Memories. Then Winston’s vocals hit, and they are full of a reserved emotion, held back as someone who is trying not to say something they really want to say. Cue the curt little smacks on the high hat, which you get from keeping the cymbals tight-lipped, so to speak. (Kate Bush‘s weirdly Baroque-pop “Army Dreamers” comes to mind, wrought with unspoken emotion.)

At 0:46 the whole song explodes open. A tom-heavy pick up lands in a wide, wet cymbal splash. Vocally, all reservations are abandoned, and the emotion morphs into a strong confidence, with a backing choir that has evaded over-production, keeping the feeling of a bunch of friends singing along. This chorus is truly careless, expansive. This chorus rewrites the rest of the song. Now the reserved verses feel like an inhale instead, with the next exhale just a pre-chorus away. Read More


Interview: Caitlin Canty brings gorgeous sparse Americana to Freight & Salvage


The Freight & Salvage in downtown Berkeley is known for its excellent curation of folk, Americana and traditional music. You could just swing by on a Tuesday and be almost guaranteed an excellent show if these genres are your jam. If you were going to do that this week, however, we recommend you swing by on Friday night May 29th instead and catch Caitlin Canty open for Eilen Jewell.

Canty is a Vermont native living in Nashville who brings an unfettered voice and songwriting style that is at once reminiscent of Nicki Bluhm, and distinct from her. Where Bluhm veers towards the rock side of country, folk and blues, Canty steers closer to the folk side of blues and country. Where Bluhm exudes a lightness of heart even in the saddest song, Canty seems to bring a haunting sadness to every note she sings. While combining American genres earns them both the Americana tag, Canty’s Americana seems best suited to the intimate 500-seat Freight & Salvage listening room, which boasts some of the Bay’s best sound by the way. Read More

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