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Kamasi Washington – The New Guard of Jazz

09/21/2015

In the wake of his recent collaborations with Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington has put himself in the perfect position to reinvigorate jazz music, and if the young faces crowding the Warfield Saturday night are any indication, he is doing just that. Washington’s opening set for Snarky Puppy marks his first performance in San Francisco, and he left us wanting more. Wanting a lot more actually, because material from the tenor saxophonist’s sprawling solo debut The Epic, does not lend itself particularly well to a 45 minute opening set. That being said, Washington, along with his seven piece band, and several guest performers used their time effectively to melt faces and blow minds. The pace was set right out of the gate with an appropriately behemoth performance of The Epic’s opening track “Change of the Guard.”

There is no shortage of virtuosity in the company Washington keeps. His band, The Next Step is made up of his long-time friends and collaborators, many of whom are in his previous project The West Coast Get Down. The live ensemble included acoustic bassist Miles Mosley, Ryan Porter on trombone, vocals by Patrice Quinn, Brandon Coleman and Cameron Graves on keys, and two drum kits manned by Tony Austin and Ronald Bruner Jr. One of the most endearing parts of the show was seeing excitement and enthusiasm of the folks on stage as they listened to their colleagues take a solo and explore the space of Washington’s grandiose arrangements with improvisation. Read More

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TICKET GIVEAWAY: Oakland Music Festival 9/26- GoldLink, Los Rakas, Trails and Ways + Many More

09/18/2015

If you rely on stereotypes, Oakland is a dangerous place whose population mostly face bleak futures. But it doesn’t take much to realize the bullshit in that. Oakland is alive. It has a rich history, as home to not only the Black Panthers, but also one of the most vibrant African American middle class communities in the country starting in the 1920s, the final destination of Amelia Earhart’s successful solo flight from Honolulu, and the creation of Rocky Road ice cream. It also has a rich musical history with legends like MC Hammer, Digital Underground, Heiroglyphics, En Vogue and the Pointer Sisters all calling Oakland home. Oakland is a place of proud culture and strong community and its present moment is worthy of celebration.

Oakland Music Festival (OMF) set out in 2013 to do just that: pay homage to Oakland’s badassness. Happening next Saturday September 26th, the festival will put 42 artists on 5 stages to close out the summer in style. The bill boasts local and international acts that span pretty much any genre you’d be interested in (hip-hop, electronic, R&B, indie, Latin, rock, World), most notably buzzing rapper Goldlink and local indie darlings Trails & Ways. Per Bay Area festival standards, there will also be an Epicurean array of delectable edibles from local restaurants, and beverages from local breweries.

We want to help you get there, and we’re giving away two passes to the festival.

a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Read More

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Song of the Day: ASTR is Back with “It’s Over,” Playing Mezzanine 11/8

09/17/2015

Brooklyn-based electronic duo ASTR is back with a new track. Last time I saw these two they were opening for The Knocks at The Independent and I was blown away by the high energy performance from front-woman Zoe Silverman.

Perhaps best know for their fantastic and dreamy cover of Drake‘s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” they have built on the launching pad with a score of playlist worthy original hits. If you like what you hear cruise down to TBD Fest Saturday or Symbiosis Gathering Sunday. They will also be here November 8th at Mezzanine opening for Ryn Weaver, tickets for 22.50 +fees here.

Check out “It’s Over (ft. Mick Jenkins)” and let us know what your think: 

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Slim Twig bewilders and beguiles @ the Hemlock 9/27

09/17/2015

Thank You For Stickin’ With Twig is not just an album name for Slim Twig. It is also an honest bit of gratitude for those who have stuck with him through a wandering musical career across the last few years. In five albums he’s moved from “sample-stained” to symphonic to movie soundtrack and now “sonically immersive.” It’s hard not to think of Frank Zappa.

The album — released in August on DFA Records and available for free stream on YouTube (embedded below) with a Veuve Cliquot-sipping, bowling jacket-wearing Twig as your guide — is heavy on synthetic sounds, with warped, effected vocals on most tracks. Some tracks sound like they were pressed to vinyl, left on the dashboard to melt, and then replayed and recorded for the final version. There are live instruments in there too, often disguised beyond recognition. Read More

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Music City aims to save our city’s music

09/16/2015

Rudy Colombini has lived in San Francisco for damn near his whole life. He’s opened for Joan Jett, Elton John, Devo, Chaka Kahn, and The Beach Boys. He fronts a fantastically successful Rolling Stones tribute band, and now the rail-thin singer in leather pants has a dream: build a musical mecca in San Francisco that both pays homage to its storied history, and pays forward a lifeline to the current generation of musicians and artists here, most of whom are barely treading water in a stormy sea of affordability.

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Colombini is not the first person to have this all-inclusive dream. A few years ago, there was a push to create The Root, which was a beautiful, but failed, concept for a non-profit hub for music, utilizing city funds set aside in the early 2000s for this purpose. But he is the first person who’s had the property to bring it to reality. As a part-time broker and developer, Colombini owns buildings in the TenderKnob in which he’s creating his Music City. Read More

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Song of the Day: “Gone” by JR JR (FKA Dale Earnhardt JR JR)

09/16/2015

There is a lot going on so far in 2015 for Detroit’s Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott. This summer they made the big decision to chop down their name from Dale Earnhardt JR JR to just JR JR. They will test the new name for the San Francisco audience October 9th at Great American Music Hall (tickets for $20 plus fees here).

When I talked to Josh Epstein about the name in 2014 he said: “We never really considered another name. It all happened so quickly. We wanted a name that we felt wouldn’t pigeon hole us and it came up and was over in 15 minutes.” Name changes are risky for bands who have already established themselves, but for them the name was never the point.

Not wasting any time they have already released a couple singles under the new moniker. The first singe “Gone” debuted in July, so I am a little late to the game. “Gone” proves that the guys are still trailblazing their own style of music, far from being ‘pigeon holed.’ They play a style of electronic rock that feels old at its core, but at the same time totally experimental. Kind of like listening to an old Beach Boys cassette as it melts in a hot car. They put on a great live show including sax solos, and love to sample their own vocals and pull and stretch them into the hooks for their songs.

Check out “Gone” below and check out our photos from their show here in 2014 here.

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Photos: Bag Raiders Bring the Heat to Popscene at Rickshaw Stop

09/15/2015

Electronic duo Jack Glass and Chris Stracey are used to playing some of the biggest clubs and venues around the globe and have been creating tracks together for nearly a decade. Even with years of performing under their belts and the relatively small size of the Rickshaw Stop, they seemed to be a little nervous during the first minute of their set Friday. Why? This was only the third show they had played in the past three and a half years live, and I would guess the first time they played in SF with full instrumentation.

I’ve seen them DJ before but I’d never even heard of the guys playing live so personally I was excited. After taking the stage they immediately dove into “Waterfalls” the new single off the EP of the same name. We wrote about the song last week and it’s a great representation of what makes them top producers. They take worldly musical themes and combine them with amazing samples to get people move their ass on the dance floor.

The crowd was a bit overwrought with bros which I had not expected. There was a weird section of guys dancing with hoodies and sunglasses on sloshing beer everywhere and even an uncomfortable mosh pit right before the set. But overall people were just there to dance and get weird. Bag Raiders supplied the fuel, playing several songs off their album Bag Raiders including hit “Sunlight” about halfway through the set. As they began to play their hits, any hesitation or nervousness disappeared and they donned the big smiles I am used to seeing when they perform.

My favorite of the set was “Wonderland,” another new track off Waterfalls. I think the song has a lot of potential to be another hit for the guys. It features a big, brassy synth hook, crisp vocals interspersed with falsetto and a multilayered beat chock-full of bright samples. They definitely played all the jams the crowd was looking for, including “Fun Punch” and closed with mega-hit “Shooting Stars.”

Check out “Wonderland” and our photos below.

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Daily Lineup Announced for Treasure Island, Single Day Tickets on Sale Thursday at 10am

09/15/2015

While across the country people are mourning the end of summer and the festival season, the Bay Area is gearing up for the Indian summer and Treasure Island Music Festival’s 9th incarnation. The acts have been set for some time now (with the notable exception of FKA Twigs being announced as Robyn‘s replacement last week), but many people have been eager to see which of the two days speaks to them the most.

This year it looks like a lot of thought went into setting the perfect vibe for each day. Saturday definitely leans towards the high-energy, electronic side of the billing, while Sunday will appeal to the rock crowd with major indie acts and guitar virtuosos. Just thinking about Run the Jewels and STS9 playing back-to-back Saturday gets my heart pumping and Deadmau5 is sure to draw a large contingent of his fans.

Don’t sleep on Sunday though. I think as far as technical ability this might be the most solid lineup TI has ever presented. You have The National who always kill it in live performances and CHVRCHES who are coming in hot with new singles and album on the way. And just look at all the fucking talent during the day: The War on Drugs,  Father John Misty (his Instagram over the past few weeks is the funniest shit ever btw), Panda Bear, Jose fucking Gonzalez and Canadian badasses Viet Cong to name a few.

As always the best part of the festival is how it’s set up so you won’t spend your whole day walking and missing the acts you really want to see, that or the amazing sunset sets each day.

You can grab your ticket here for $95+ fees (includes ride to island).

You can check out our coverage from last year here: Day 1   Day 2

Full Saturday lineup:

Deadmau5 • FKA twigs • Azealia Banks • STS9 • Run The Jewels • Gorgon City (Live) • Hudson Mohawke • Cashmere Cat • Viceroy • Shamir • Baio • Bob Moses • Skylar Spence

Full Sunday lineup:

The National • Chvrches • The War On Drugs • Father John Misty • Panda Bear • Jose Gonzalez • Deerhunter • Drive Like Jehu • Lower Dens • Ex Hex • Mikal Cronin • Viet Cong • Ought

 

 

Cara Stricker

Song of the Day: “Waterfalls” By Aussie Electronic Duo Bag Raiders

09/09/2015

The long drought is over. Sorry fellow Californians I am referring to the over 3 year long hiatus from new music by Sydney’s DJ and producer duo Bag Raiders, we’re still fucked in the water department. Known for their impossibly happy synth electronic beats, the duo is set to headline Rickshaw Stop on Friday 9/11. Although advance tickets are sold out I recommend going early to grab tickets at the door.

After blowing peoples minds with tracks like “Shooting Stars” and “Sunlight” on their self titled album in 2012, the duo has been touring and working on their next album. On July 17th we got our first taste of whats coming with Waterfalls EP. The first single, conveniently called “Waterfalls” just got its own video.

The song has a real celebratory feel, drawing you in with quick, complex loops of percussion samples. The chorus layers falsetto vocals over beats heavily influenced by subsaharan african music. A synth pop throwback to when Paul Simon was jamming with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Toto was blessing the rains. It blends together really well. But don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself.

“Waterfalls” Bag Raiders:

Photo by Cara Stricker

Oakland, CA - September 1, 2015

Cult Records band from Mexico City, Rey Pila open for Brandon Flowers at the Fox Theater.

Photo Credit: Victoria Smith

Photos: Rey Pila Open for Brandon Flowers at the Fox Theater

09/04/2015

Julian Casablancas, most notably of The Strokes, discovered Mexico City’s Rey Pila by over hearing them play at a nearby NYC office. He knew he had to have these guys on his indie label Cult Records. The rockers’ sound vibrates like some 80’s Bowie– hard. On September 25th we are going to get the next dose of the band with their first full album on Cult Records, The Future Sugar.

We last checked in with Rey Pila in 2014 while they were touring with Interpol. Writer Nate Chavez found them to be “pleasant surprise” and experienced a sense of discovery similar to Julian Casablancas’ first encounter. Nate also heard the shades of Bowie in their synth inspired music you can read the full review here.

Discover them for the first time yourself with “Alexander” their first single released on Cult Records.

Rey Pila is making a name for themselves playing with some of the biggest names,having opened for acts such as Interpol, and Wednesday, Brandon Flowers. Brandon Flowers, previously of The Killers, was no slouch either. While some have called his recent performances with The Killers a little lackluster, performing his own material he belted. Check out his solo sound with this recent live performance in Mexico of his new song “Can’t Deny My Love.” Read More

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