Photos: Beacon Blends Electronic Grooves and Smooth Lyrics at Rickshaw Stop


Wednesday fans at the Rickshaw Stop were treated to a wide spectrum of electronic genres from acts Running in the Fog, Lord RAJA, and headliners Beacon. There was a surprisingly large crowd out on a weekday night and they filled the space with plenty of energy, dancing, and talking over each other between sets.

Running in the Fog, the moniker SF-based Amanda Harper, opened with a slowed down house beat and soulful female vocals. The music at points reminded me of a classic jazz singer set to heavy synths and drums, while other songs sound like straight up 90s R&B, baby-making music.

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Wednesday 1/28 @ Rickshaw Stop: NY’s Beacon Prepares to Drop Heavy Beats and Haunting Vocals


Another bargain for music lovers this week at Rickshaw Stop, NY acts Beacon and Lord RAJA will be joined by local act Running in the Fog for just $12 at the door. I know it’s a Wednesday, but just convince yourself you don’t REALLY have to work Thursday and come out for some good music.

I’ve had Beacon on a few playlists for the past couple years, especially the recent remix of Tycho‘s “See.” The Brooklyn-based duo plays their own blend of electronic ambient beats with R&B inspired lyrics, and right before the new year they dropped their new EP L1.

For me the new EP is really a game changer. They still have the haunting, Thom Yorke-esque vocals but the new beats have a weighty, heavy feel to them. Where the older stuff would often spacious and super ambient, their is a new complexity with L1. Not that their previous stuff was bad, but the new stuff is just doing so much more for me and I’m looking forwards to seeing what the next full album brings. Read More

Kyle Benefit Jan 30 Amnesia

Benefit for Kyle Lesley @ Amnesia this Friday


There are many pockets of the local SF music scene. One of them revolves around a little bar on Valencia Street called Amnesia, which has been a community center of sorts for the folk-freak scene (though the venue has no genre-limitation) through the 14 years I’ve been in this city. It’s a beautiful community of people who make music from the heart, some of which really breaks your heart and some of which gets you sweating and shaking on Amnesia’s dark and cramped little dance floor.

Friday night, Amnesia will host a fundraiser for a friend of that community, Kyle Lesley, who has been battling stage IV metastatic melanoma for a few years. I’ve had another friend battle this very stage of this very cancer, and it’s a nasty, persistent, aggressive fucker. (Really, isn’t that the one thing we can all agree on? Cancer sucks.)   Read More


Photos: EagleWolfSnake @ Bottom Of The Hill


EagleWolfSnake represents the latest creation from three multi-talented musicians whose purpose is to make you get off your ass and have fun. San Francisco’s Indie Pop Rock trio constructs driving beats accompanied by precision harmonies, sprinkled with funky guitar licks, leaving you no choice but to move your feet. Debuting as EagleWolfSnake, they’ve orchestrated a full-bodied sound that makes one wonder how there’s only three members in the band. At Bottom of the Hill, there was no lack of energy when they took the stage. Their stage presence demonstrated this integral brotherly chemistry, only accomplished by years of playing together. The catchy, upbeat melodies from songs like Whatever You Say keeps your body moving while chanting along to the anthem. Check out the music video below:

You can catch EagleWolfSnake performing all over the bay area in preparation for Napa Valley’s BottleRock festival in May, where they will certainly expand their Bay Area following. Read More


Tove Styrke, The Tropics and GNTLMN Light Up popscene at The Rickshaw Stop


Friday night, Popscene once again took over The Rickshaw Stop in the Civic Center for a night of high energy pop. Tove Styrke headlined, representing Sweden’s exploding pop music ecosystem and was joined by locals The Tropics, and LA’s GNTLMN. As always, Popscene’s Aaron Axelsen was on hand to spin new music between sets.

I need to make a quick disclosure. On Friday, I was in the middle of a terrible cold, and the only way I could rally to get to the show was to shove my face full of DayQuil™ washed down with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale™. So for me, everything was weird, slightly shiny and mildly drowsy. Read More

TDM3 - Live Photo (Meredith Powell)

The Devil Makes Three Prepares to Rock the Fox Theater January 31st


The Devil Makes Three are kicking off 2015 with a rigorous tour schedule, and will make a stop in Oakland on January 31st. The large capacity of the Fox Theater should not daunt this trio, seeing as they have made a reputation out of blowing away large festival crowds and small venues alike with the relentless energy they bring to their rockabilly infused Americana.

During this North American tour the band will be selling a seven inch featuring a couple new tunes produced by Buddy Miller which mark the first new music released by the group since 2013’s critically acclaimed I’m a Stranger Here.  The new tracks bring a soulful polish to the bands folk steeped roots, a sound which should be right at home in the elegantly cavernous Fox Theater.

Tickets are still available for $25 + fees here.

Photo by Meredith Powell

hella gay 2014

Hella Gay in Oakland Wants You to Come Party; Gay or Straight


Hella Gay Oakland Queer Dance Party,  or simply Hella Gay, has been a destination for some serious ass shaking in Oakland for the past six years. Originally conceived by DJ’s GSTAR and Hey Hey Hey after they threw a New Year’s Eve party so fun, they decided to make it a monthly event. Hella Gay was held for years at The Uptown Nightclub in Oakland, but after it shut its doors a couple months ago, the collective is now seeking a new permanent home. The music played is all across the board, but what’s most crucial according to the crew is that it gets people dancing.

The lineup has changed throughout the years as members rotated in and out with GSTAR as a holdfast. Hella Gay now welcomes two new members, DR. SPINZ and FELA KUTCHii. The parties happen the fourth Saturday of every month from 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets are $5 at the door, 21+, Location TBA.

I got to ask the members a few questions about Hella Gay below: Read More


Ticket Giveaway: The Hot Toddies & Rainbow Girls @ The Fillmore


We have two tickets to give away for Saturday January 31st as The Hot Toddies finally make their way onto the Fillmore stage. Sharing the night with three other local, all-female crews – Rainbow Girls, The Shes, and Kendra McKinley – this bill is sure to please.

The eternal appeal of The Hot Toddies, celebrating their 10th anniversary with this show, is in their ability to flip sweetness on it’s face while still oozing it. Their voices never step outside of that good-girl-next-door cadence as they lay lyrics like “Conversations keep passing me by / All I wanna do is sit around with you and get high / When you’re near me breathing you set my soul on fire / It’s too bad so sad I’m a blood sucking fucking vampire” on you. Breezy, dreamy surf pop blended with dark, bass-driven, rock that makes you blush and giggle.

Kendra McKinley opens with a rare solo performance. Another surf-popping girl group, The Shes support, with harmonies as tight as if they’ve been singing together since elementary school (which apparently they have). And Rainbow Girls close down the night with their whiskey-soaked, foot-stomping sound.

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Song of the Day: The Tropics “Take You Home”


SF-based pop rockers The Tropics are back with another video for single “Take You Home.” While the song has been floating around since the release of their EP Wind House, it was originally a bonus available only on the vinyl edition of the album.

I spent much of 2014 following the act and it looks like 2015 is off to a great start for The Tropics. The new song features some wicked guitar solos, horn elements and soulful refrains. Frank Door directed the video, capturing show footage along with casual shots of Bernal and The Mission. Watching the video kind of feels like walking from El Rio to Bart after drinking three too many.

The Tropics will be opening for Sweden’s amazing dance export Tove Stryke January 16th at Rickshaw Stop. This is the bargain of 2015 so far, at only about $15 bucks with fees.

Check out our past coverage of The Tropics if you like what you hear.





Song of the Day: “The Rain” by Oh Wonder


Oh Wonder, known as Wonder Wonder when we first posted about them, is that mysterious duo from the UK releasing a single track on the 1st of each month all year long. Yesterday, they released the 5th song, “The Rain,” and it keeps the impressive energy of the album moving, building up from last month’s melancholic (and heartbreakingly beautiful) ballad “All You Do.” Starting with an easy-listening, 70’s soft rock feel, the song layers in darker synths in mid-way through after the male-female vocals twist upwards in a continued showcase of melodic prowess.

It is one thing to say, “We want the music to speak for itself,” and not let details of the band’s individual stories or personalities intersect with the purity of the songs. They’re not the only band who has done this kind of thing, not even the only one doing it now. Yet, it is quite another thing for the music to actually stand this impressively on its own. The music DOES speak for itself.

These are gorgeously composed, performed, and produced songs, and with every new song, my hunger for this album grows. I can feel the arcing energy as themes emerge and melodic and lyrical patterns reveal themselves.  Maybe because it is all I know about this band, the music feels like a mini-opera. And I feel a lurching ache for the next scene.

With a combined 2.5 million listens for these 5 songs on Soundcloud, I have a feeling I’m not alone in this aching. Follow them here.

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