Slim Twig bewilders and beguiles @ the Hemlock 9/27


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


Music City aims to save our city’s music


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.

Columbini performing with the Unauthorized Rolling Stones The_URS_by_Stefan_3

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


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


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


Noise Pop’s 20th St Block Party Returns to The Mission September 12th


Here we go again as the third annual incarnation of the hyper local event delivering great Bay Area music, vendors and food. Hosted by by Noise Pop and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group the event shuts off several blocks on 20th between Bryant and Harrison. The perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy what makes living in San Francisco great.

This year we are treated to a great lineup of acts, headlined by Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. I have seen Thao several times and it’s definitely the high energy funky folk party you are missing in your life. Local acts Nick Waterhouse, Andrew St. James, Dominant Legs, Fine Points, No Vacation and the always entertaining youth group San Francisco Rock Project are also slotted to play.

The event is free, but for those looking for a bit more you can pick up VIP tickets for $95. VIP entitles you to dedicated viewing areas, free beer and wine and some free bites from vendors. Full details here. Read More


Song of the Day – “Pulse” by Shigeto


Yesterday was a great day in my world. Michigan-based artist Shigeto announced a new EP and released the first track, “Pulse.” Starting off as an epilogue to 2013’s No Better Time Than Now, the track carries you from one musical world to another over seven sparsely lush minutes, hinting at Tropicália with its polyrhythms.

Shigeto’s music was introduced to me by his brother, himself an incredible artist and (then) barista at Detroit’s ineffable Astro Coffee. He suggested we check out his set at Movement, the electronic music festival the city hosts. Since then, No Better Time  has been a mainstay of The Soundtrack Of My Life. Released on Ghostly International, (a home he shares with Matthew Dear, Fort Romeau, Tycho & Phantogram among others), the album has kept Zach Saginaw busy hustling and experimenting with new sounds and performance styles. (He’s always played his drums live, but is bringing a full live band with him most recently). Through it all, the pulse remains the same. His is solitary music. Thinking music. Intensely creative. His Ghostly bio describes it perfectly:

These releases are nominally indebted to instrumental hip-hop but, like Zach, straddling many worlds at once. Cool shades of ambient music, stuttering early IDM, dubstep sub-bass, and jazz melodicism color Shigeto’s palette, which he wields with a painterly attention to detail.

The 6-song EP, Intermission, called by Saginaw “a halftime of sorts” between albums, is due out October 30th. I’m just throwing it out to The Universe that he should bring it to San Francisco. Please, Universe.

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

Press photo by Jon DeCola


Because They’re Fucking Rad: A Review of Day Wave @ The Phoenix Hotel


Earlier this month, Day Wave played a poolside show at the legendary Phoenix Hotel. Put on by Noise Pop and Boing Boing, and billed as the GOOD MEASURE tour, the band was touring in support of their recently released (and inaugural) EP, Headcase – a five song ditty from a five piece band, headed by Jackson Phillips of Oakland. Some of you might remember the band Carousel, which included current guitarist Kevin Friedman and was the impetus for Day Wave.

I’ve been excited to see this band for a while. If you’ve been paying close attention, we’ve covered them before. Well, a couple of times. And there’s a reason for that. There’s a reason they’ll be heading out on tour with Albert Hammond Junior soon, because they’re fucking rad, that’s why. Read More

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