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Photos: Leon Bridges Harkens Back to an Earlier Era of R&B at Sold Out Fillmore

11/11/2015

In a little over a year, Leon Bridges has gone from being freshly signed to building a passionate cult following. His debut album, Coming Home, reached No. 8 in the US, introducing the world to his new wave of guitar soaked 50s-inspired soul.

He was welcomed last week to San Francisco to play at a sold-out Fillmore. His retro soul was at home in the historic venue which joins San Francisco’s Fillmore and Western Addition districts. The area known as “The Harlem of the West” was a fitting location for Leon Bridges to perform music which heavily throws back to sounds of early-civil rights era R&B.

Looking around the Fillmore there were flutters of people wearing vintage clothing; white shirts, skinny ties and waistcoats were the garments of choice. It made for a nice contrast seeing the retro-fitted fashionistas cozying up to people from all walks of life there to enjoy the man of the moment. Read More

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Nothing Weird Going On in the Van: An Interview with Graham Ulicny of Reptar

11/06/2015

About halfway through my interview with Graham Ulicny, singer and guitarist for Athens, GA-born Reptar, he pauses. “Hold on one second, I think we’re coming to a check-in point or something.” After a few moments of silence, I can hear the entire band erupt in laughter as they leave the check-in point (which was in the middle of the Arizona desert). “He asked if we were on a school outing. Yep… we’re just some school boys driving to San Diego… some nice american school boys.” He added, “nothing weird going on in here… at the moment.”

But things certainly do get awesomely weird when they take the stage. Reptar is set to play the Rickshaw Stop tonight – get your tickets here before they sell out.

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Photos: Treasure Island Music Festival Day 2 The National, Chvrches, Panda Bear, Father John Misty and Many More

10/24/2015

By Bob Patterson
Photos by Pedro Paredes-Haz

There are a lot of things that set Treasure Island Music Festival apart from the other festivals we see in Northern California. First we have the beautiful setting, you really can’t beat being in the middle of the Bay during the Indian Summer. Secondly is the alternating format where every act is just a minute’s walk away, eliminating the FOMO experienced at other festivals. But perhaps the thing that sets the festival furthest apart from the competition is loading Saturday with the dance acts and Sunday with buzzed about indie rock acts. This isn’t a hard set rule and there are dance acts on Sunday and indie acts on Saturday, but the vibes are definitely very different.

This year we were treated to an absolutely stellar set of acts on Sunday. The action started early with acts like Viet Cong, Mikhail Cronin and Ex Hex and continued all the way through closing act The National. Check out our gallery for some great shots of all the acts. I’ll focus on some of my favorite acts for the review.

José González

There are few things that say lazy Sunday afternoon more perfectly than José González. The Swedish folk singer filled the breezy afternoon with a mixture of original songs, covers and songs by members of his accompanying band. He gave the crowd what they were waiting for on the last song, playing his cover of “Heartbeats” by The Knife solo as the band and audience looked on. It’s hard to say a cover is better than an original, especially in this case because the original is so good, but in this case it might be true.

Panda Bear

Even while watching him create music live, I often can’t figure out how Panda Bear AKA Noah Lennox weaves such complex beats and melodies together. A one man music machine, Lennox looks so unassuming, but the way he composes music and mixes his own voice is genius.

For me the best moment was hearing “Boys Latin” off the new album Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper live. The beat is a deep industrial shoe gaze and Lennox’s vocals are almost gregorian. You will never hear vowels the same again. Read More

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SONG OF THE DAY: Foxtails Brigade inject ghosts into Joanna Newsom’s “Book of Right On”

10/23/2015

If you know local band Foxtails Brigade (OIM Records) — whose career got a boost recently when their video for “Far Away And Long Ago” won the a Best Music Video Award at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival — you know that they have an uncanny ability to make creepy sound beautiful. Their cover of Joanna Newsom‘s quirky and sparse “Book of Right On,” released today, does just this, paying homage while injecting haunting echoes and empty spaces in a terrifically beautiful way.

No one will argue that Joanna Newsom is a brilliant musician, but many people are turned off by her warbly voice. (Personally I love it.) Foxtails Brigade’s lead singer (and songwriter) Laura Weinbach’s smooth and controlled voice blasts that concern out of the park. It is underpinned by her distinctive guitar plucking reminiscent (in the best way) of a barely functioning music box that lets loose a few notes at midnight when insomnia is plaguing the house. (Weinbach’s the Hollywood-born daughter of a horror film maker and cult comedian.) Washed in and then stripped of a dozen other plucking sounds – the blerping of a space machine, a glockenspiel, distorted guitar wahs – the song keeps a percussive, staccato feel while still feeling orchestral as the lead melody strings us along. This is gothic folk at its best. Have a listen below and tell us if you agree. (You can also download the song for free via Soundcloud.)

They are playing Amnesia on Friday October 30th, but are headed for much bigger stages. Catch them in this intimate setting while you can. Foxtail Brigade puts on an incredible live show full of musical prowess.

Annie Bacon / @anniebacon

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Photos: Marina and The Diamonds Bring Energy and Spectacle to the Fox Theater

10/22/2015

Marina and The Diamonds returned to the Bay Area for the second time in 2015 for the first of two nights at Oakland’s Fox Theater. This was the 7th stop on her Neon Nature Tour which spans North America and Europe; culminating in a show at London’s Roundhouse in February of next year.

While not full to capacity (Wednesday night’s show has sold out however), the Fox had a comfortable atmosphere. Fans adorned with fruitful head-dress and girls in colorful glitter sprinkled sequin dresses made it a good place for people watching.

While Froot was released earlier in the year, this tour feels like it is for more than to just promote a new music. Split in to three acts it worked more like a greatest hits collection; an anthology of the music Marina and the Diamonds has released so far. The three acts were structured around each of her albums; The Family Jewels, Electa Heart and Froot. This structure made it easy to see how she has changed and developed as an artist. From the raw, gritty pop sound of The Family Jewels, to the more synth influenced sound of Electra Heart each act showcased a different moment in time for her music. For someone whose debut album was only released in 2010 it felt like a bold move, however one she pulled off with aplomb complete with colorful wardrobe changes. Read More

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How to Paint a Drumbeat: An Interview with Django Django’s David Maclean

10/22/2015

Django Django is set to play the beautiful Regency Ballroom tomorrow (buy your tickets here before they sell out), and if you’ve never seen this band before, now is your chance to witness something quite special. If you’ve never heard of this band before, it’s time to re-evaluate your life and go listen to them immediately.

Anyhow, I recently had the honor of sitting down with drummer and producer David Maclean to discuss a bit about the band before they come and leave the The Regency a burning pile of rubble.

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Photos: Treasure Island Music Festival Day One Featuring Run The Jewels, Big Grams, Deadmaus, FKA Twigs, STS9 and Many More

10/21/2015

For those of you who missed it, another year of the Treasure Island Music Festival started with a bang on Saturday. First off – this festival is probably my favorite place to see music. The lineups are usually pretty stellar (while they’re not 100% my cup of tea, I can certainly appreciate the high-level talent this festival is bringing), and the setting is flawless. Seeing The City from Treasure Island as the sun sets gives you an amazing feeling; wind in your hair, SF looking all 1989-Gotham City-esque, music rising over your head… it just doesn’t get much better than that.

As always, the staples were there; silent disco (I NEVER miss a silent disco, brah), great food, gross Heineken, art installations and bubbles. Oh yeah, and a bunch of awesome music. This year they also added a comedy tent near the entrance of the festival but none of the acts could entice me or my friends from the music.

The big names came to play on Saturday, so we decide to focus on our favorite moments, but make sure to check out the gallery for more stellar acts.

Run The Jewels

Coming out to Queen’s “We are The Champions,” Run the Jewels wasted absolutely no time getting right into the grittiness that we all love them for. I believe Killer Mike’s first words out were, “We’re gonna burn this stage to the mothafuckin’ ground.” And that they did as they jumped right into “Blockbuster Night Part 1.” One great thing about this group is not only their unique, grimy beats, but it translates incredibly well to the stage. With songs like “Sea Legs” and “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”, the energy was high – and almost everyone in the crowd seemed to know just about every lyric to every song. I remember learning about Killer Mike when I lived back in Atlanta, and it’s amazing to see him come this far and making this kind of music – in your face, yet poetic, with tons of gusto.

If we had to file a complaint, it’s that we didn’t get a taste of any of the tracks off their new remix album Meow The Jewels. Read More

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TICKET GIVEAWAY to Haunted Concert at Rickshaw Stop w/ Abbot Kinney, Travis Hayes and Vanwave 10/28

10/20/2015

The local music scene has had a bolster in the past year and a half from a group called Balanced Breakfast, which has brought people out of their solitary struggle for superstardom into an organized mass of collective talent and community. The success of this music industry meet-up, started right here in SF by Stefan Aronsen (also known as SF Intercom) and Andy Freeman, has been so strong that Balanced Breakfast meet-ups now happen in 10 other cities across the country. In addition to the 8am meetings, the founding SF chapter also hosts shows, including this one next Wednesday October 28th at the Rickshaw Stop, which will feature rockers Abbot Kinney, Travis Hayes and the Young Daze, and Vanwave, as well as a DJ set by Aronsen.

The all-ages show will be creating what they’re calling “an immersive Halloween experience” … check out the teaser video above & be as curious as I am … as well as some great music from local bands. Alt-rock Abbot Kinney will be releasing “Can We Become,” the first track off their upcoming EP The Night, a track currently being featured on KFOG’s Local Scene collection (and streaming below.)  The band moved north from LA (where they sold out the Troubadour) a few years ago and has a polished but still gritty sound that evokes early Radiohead, with lead singer Jared Swanson’s vocals sounding Jeff Buckley smooth.

We’re giving away two tickets for you to get your Halloween on … but don’t worry, if you don’t win them here, you can still get $5 off at the door by showing up in costume. Show’s at the Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street, and starts at 8:00p. You can also get advanced tickets at $5 off the door price hereRead More

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PREMIERE: Folk duo Wolf + Crow release haunting first track off “Folklore”

10/20/2015

We are excited to premiere the track “Nothing” from Bay Area neo-folk duo* Wolf + Crow‘s new album Folklore, due out next Friday October 23rd. This track epitomizes the masterful songwriting, musical chops, and poetry that makes the entire album an instant classic for fans of old folk, new folk, blues, soul, spirituals, and/or just damn fine musicianship.

“Nothing” – Wolf + Crow

For those of us** who know the stunning, breathlessly beautiful folk songs of Wolf + Crow, the wait for Folklore has been almost unbearably long. After running a successful Kickstarter in 2012, the band took to a hundred year old brick building in downtown SF with Hyde Street Studio’s Scott McDowell and producer Brandon Keeley. Tracking was complete within a year, and then, as it does, life interrupted. Read More

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Ariel Pink & Black Lips Night 2, and the Return of Bimbos 365 Club

10/17/2015

Gypsy punks Black Lips exploded into SF’s hidden gem Bimbos 365 Club creating an unlikely contrast of a spit in your face punk band in a club that would be suited for the rat pack.

Garage punk to their core and looser than geese, the band who are known for their high-energy, unpredictable, anything-goes shows, seemed a bit tame for a group with such a reputation. That was until the crowd filled in and the band played the sought after song “Katrina.” Finally it was the Black Lips again giving the show everyone expects; crowd surfers, shirt losers and guitarist Cole Alexander catching his own spit from the air. Being true to their lyrics the band ended with “Bad Kids” and earned the sea of beer that was chucked at them from the crowd.

San Francisco, CA - October 14, 2015 The Black Lips perform live at Bimbo's 365 Club opening for Ariel Pink. Photo Credit: Victoria Smith

Thus began the weirdest intermission and largest exodus of the entire crowd of potential smokers, or mere fresh air seekers, exiting out front. Leaving just four souls holding fort in front of the stage. Read More

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