Kanye West, Tom Petty, Disclosure, hockey-puck sized peanut butter cups, and every type of local micro-beer combined can still culminate in a shitty Outside Lands experience if you’re unprepared. So don’t be. Water, sweaters, and money are just a few things you’ll need to have for the best festival experience. Here are five tips: Read More
The Walkmen frontman, Indie rock prince and tall glass of water (in the 6’5″ area), Hamilton Leithauser, crooned his debut solo record, Black Hours, within the arches of The Chapel. Backed with The Walkmen’s Paul Maroon, Leithauser was casual and confident, sometimes with a hand in his pocket. He performed seamlessly with a voice you can count on to rise — from a Frank Sinatra, through a Julian Casablancas and around a Chris Martin, with a swagger and plowing yell all his own — barreling through tracks off Black Hours and throwing in some Walkmen classic’s like “We’ve Been Had.”
Black Hours is for all of time: vocals forward, emotional, fun, cool, sometimes with a 40′s-style string session, or a 60′s tambourine, or a dazzling xylophone, or African drumming. The music ranges from get up n’ go to bedtime melodies, while others are haunting, or sunshine daydreamy. The track most remnant of The Walkmen’s rock is “I Don’t Need Anyone.”
If you have eclectic taste, and you somehow haven’t stumbled upon him yet, you should know and explore Hamilton Leithauser. It’s not EDM, but it will probably get your girlfriend to kiss you harder.
SFCritic is lucky enough to offer you and one of your “super-freakiest” friends tickets to check Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with The Very Jane Girls Friday August 8th at the world famous Fillmore.
Those of you who don’t compete in a fantasy saxophone league may be unaware of Karl Denson, but the initiated know him as a jazz and funk saxophone/vocals legend. And if that doesn’t sell you, he also plays a mean flute. Read More
Wednesday night we were treated to, UK based, CYMBALS’ first ever stop in SF at RickShaw Stop. While the crowd may have been a bit hesitant, as the Wednesday crowd often is, vocalist and guitarist Jack Cleverly looked to get the crowd going early by immediately hoping off the stage and preforming the beginning of “The End” amongst the fans. As he put it, “…might be Wednesday out there, but we are in here.”
Usually billed as a four-piece, they appeared as a trio dropping a dedicated bassist for the show. Cleverly was joined by Luke Carson, on keys and bass, and drummer, Neil Gillespie. The group played a mix of upbeat dance rock, mixed with darker, more brooding songs like “Winter ’98.” The reverb on the guitar was cranked in that very 80s, drawn-out style that hung in the air after each pluck. Add the pounding drums, synth and keyboard and you got a very rich sound. Every song was a jam, with some pushing the seven or even eight minute mark. You could compare CYMBALS to LCD Soundsystem, Duran Duran or New Order depending upon which song you were hearing at that moment. Read More
Catch New Jersey chillwavers, Real Estate, perform their latest LP, Atlas, at The Fillmore next Friday and Saturday. Following up their SFCritic favorite album , Days (2011), the group kicks off their US tour here for two nights.
You can win a pair of tickets to see them Friday night (Aug. 1st) by entering below.
We’ll email the winner next Thursday, so hang tight. Below you’ll find their single, “Talking Backwards” as well as their additional tour dates if you can’t catch’em in SF.
With the announcement of yesterday’s Outside Lands schedule I can now officially state that I’m more excited than a fat kid at a cake factory. As of today there are 16 days until the party begins. Fortunately, this year’s line up doesn’t have me doing a lot of running around to see my favorite bands.
Build your dream OSL schedule here.
Last Thursday, we had the pleasure of checking out Craft Spells fresh off the release of the new album Nausea. With Nausea, an odd name for an eccentric album, Craft Spells has definitely matured technically since 2011′s praised album Idle Labor. The often surf-like guitar is bolder, drums replace drum machines, and the synth and keyboard melodies are stronger, especially in songs like “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide,” and “Komorebi.” The vocals are discounted and are often delivered monotone in a style some might called “bummer rock.” The overall experience is a musical journey that keeps you guessing at what’s next. Read More
Last Wednesday, local act The Tropics sent a bolt of lightning through the chapel in their opening set for the extremely talented Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. The Tropics, a five piece act, are a band that several of us here at SFCritic took notice of with the release of the group’s first single “Sleepless.” Playing a blend of folk rock and pop, the group is highlighted by smooth and haunting lyrics from singer Claire George. A firm bass line and looping guitar and keys provide the perfect architecture for George’s voice, which often transcends lyrical delivery to become an instrument of its own.
Going into the show, I knew I liked the sound of “Sleepless,” but I was a little nervous about the overall show, because it’s their only song currently available. Thankfully, the tropics easily exceeded my expectations and surprised me with a well-developed catalogue of music and refined stage presence.
We’re weeks away from Outside Lands Music Festival (August 8th-10th), but we’ve already gotten a taste. This past Wednesday Proposition Chicken (1750 Market) hosted the second of the festival’s Summer Pairings, a Bay Area pop-up food and music series. Guests were treated to a four-course dinner and a chef-curated musical playlist of the festival’s lineup, along with beer pairings by Firestone Walker Brewing Company.
Proposition Chicken, from the owners of Hayes Valley’s Straw, is led by husband and wife duo, Maura and Ari Feingold. Unlike the couple’s kooky, carnival themed restaurant, Ari explains that Proposition Chicken is themeless. But he’s selling himself short. Dinner consisted of a kale salad, matzo ball soup, either fried or roasted chicken and a chocolate popsicle egg that Ari says is his attempt at a Cadbury Creme Egg. It’s comfort food. It’s your mother’s Friday night Shabbat (minus the Easter candy). When I took a bite of the soup, Disclosure’s “Help Me Lose My Mind” prophetically playing in the background, I became Anton Ego, the esteemed food critic in Pixar’s Ratatouille, sent instantly back to childhood memories. It was that good. I told Ari my step-mother would be jealous, and internally, wondered if she’d think I’ve betrayed her.
Four years ago the city debated the benefits of this “noisy” and “overcrowded” festival, but today that seems silly now. Thanks to the Outside Lands’ Summer Pairing series, I’ve discovered a new family run business in San Francisco. With hundreds of featured Bay Area restaurants, artists and vendors alike, the festival not only provides attendees a way to discover new musicians, but also the city’s other cultural offerings.
The final Summer Pairing will take place Tuesday, July 29th at the Beast and the Hare (1001 Guerrero) in the Mission. The dinner centers around a rather intriguing, worldly pairing: Italian delicacies such as charcuterie, offal, and grilled meats served alongside Japanese-style rice wine from Portland purveyor SakéOne. To purchase tickets, go here.
For a refresher on Outside Lands’ lineup, check out why we can’t wait. Also, we’d love to hear what you’re most excited to try or hear at Outside Lands this year.
The Olympia, Washington black metal band Wolves In The Throne Room is currently on a Summer west coast tour for their new album Celestite and will be at Slim’s on Thursday July 17th. Though the music of brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver checks all the genre’s boxes — heavily distorted flying-V guitars, long unkept hair, and Scandinavian influences — Wolves have also gained a dedicated following by breaking the mold. You won’t see these guys in corpse paint, or leading Satanic prayers, and moshing and flash photography are frowned upon for their audiences. WITTR’s music is about more than aggression. Between the shrieking and bass drum sixteenth notes, the music has a strong foundation in Washington’s natural beauty, as evidenced by the band’s arboreal album art and tendency to go glacially minimalist. They’ve been described as “eco-metal” and “astral black metal.”