Chipotle Cultivate Festival Wins a Critic Over


We’re over saturated with brands trying to get our attention. At bus stops, commercials before movie previews, advertisements in bathroom stalls, billboard after billboard, between tweets or Facebook posts, flashing banners on webpages–we’re inundated with brands saying “Look at me!” And so, when Chipotle decides to organize a music festival the skeptic in me can only think “More marketing, yeesh!” But there’s something different about Chipotle’s Cultivate, which took place yesterday at Golden Gate Park.

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Rejoice! Caribou announces New Album, hear the first track now


Photo by Dan Dennison/NME

Following up his critically-acclaimed, perfectly-executed full-length Swim in 2010, Caribou has (finally) announced a new album that is set to be released October 8th. The album title is Our Love, with a track list that seems to imply the almost complete separation of themes and motifs of his previous record.

From a personal standpoint, this is extremely exciting news, as the Swim record was a personal favorite and has easily topped the charts of my iTunes and Spotify play count lists over the past four years. As if the announcement weren’t enough, we’ve also been given the opportunity to hear the first track off the record, which is titled, ‘Can’t Do Without You.’ Read More

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Lightning in a Bottle 2014: A Colorful Taste of Heaven


Last Memorial Day weekend, the annual Lightning in a Bottle festival descended upon the rugged San Antonio Reservoir Recreation Area, in California’s Central Valley, treating attendees to four days of thoughtfully curated content from visual and interactive art, workshops, yoga, group meditations, and oh yeah… music. Artists such as Moby, Phantogram, Little Dragon, and more promised to add up to a crowd-pleasing weekend of awesomeness.

And that it certainly was. The Polish Ambassador and Gramatik got us off to a groovy start on the main Lightning Stage Friday evening with the perfect blend of jazzy electro-funk-hop. As the sun went down over the distant golden mountains, everybody was wearing their brightest smile and so many neon blinking lights the audience looked like a living, breathing NASA command center viewed through a kaleidoscope. Later, Moby threw down a high-energy big-beat electro-house DJ set that felt far more intense than his studio material would suggest he’s capable of, regularly stepping out from behind the decks to engage the crowd. Read More

Melvoy’s Ode to San Francisco Keeps the Wheels Moving


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“San Francisco” the first single off Melvoy’s debut LP Irrelevant Elephants is quite the doozy. The track pays homage to the city lead singer, Emmanuel Castro, now calls home by way of San Diego–taking note of the absurd amounts of deification and hipsters’ fascination with jeans, while singing with a ferocity that never looks back. Read More

Foals & Cage @ The Fox 497

Front-loaded: A Review of Foals & Cage the Elephant @ The Fox Theater


Last Tuesday, I finally got to see UK indie outfit Foals when they stopped by Oakland’s Fox Theater with Kentucky natives Cage the Elephant in tow.

We have a lot of Foals fans at SFCritic, and I fought my staff to cover this show. Their brand of emotional, yet cerebral math rock is both intellectually challenging and rewarding, and I was lucky to witness it live. I knew they’d kill it, and they did. What I didn’t expect, however, was to be blown away by the opening band.

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Win Concert Tickets To See tUnE-yArDs and Sylvan Esso


Bay Area based band, tUnE-yArDs, led by Merrill Garbus, will take the stage at The Fillmore next Friday (June 6th). Known for their “forward movement—whether because of her explosive performance style or the always-surprising way in which her songs unfold,” the band will be joined by Sylvan Esso. The burgeoning stars juxtapose Amelia Meath’s bluesy, folk vocals with infectious dance rhythms to form pop singles fitting for both a Top 50 radio station or a music bloggers’ unveiling of the “next best thing.” Their self-titled debut is out now and is a must grab.

We’re excited to offer a pair of tickets to one lucky winner to catch both one of our favorite local bands and up and coming. Oh, did we mention the show is sold-out? All you have to do is sign up and activate your subscription for our mailing list. (We’ll announce the winner next Thursday at 5pm PST. Make sure to use a valid email, or we won’t be able to contact you!)  Read More

Chet Faker

Photos: Chet Faker “Drops Game” on Sold Out Independent


There is no better way to close out a long weekend than catching a great act in the comfy confines of The Independent. Monday, Australian artist Chet Faker showed me why he is a rising star, combining unique samples and synth beats with an unbelievably soulful voice. The rich sound enveloped the crowd commanding full attention from everyone in attendance. The show had some in the crowd yelling “I love you!” to which he deftly responded “I love you too.”

Faker is touring on his first full-length album Built on Glass. In an interview with Pedestrian TV he described the struggle of putting together the CD — first he tried to please everyone and ended up hating it; later he tried to go too avant-garde and ended up not liking the finished product. Built on Glass is a compromise of sorts and the result is magical. The music is similar to Londoner James Blake in that it’s electronic, but the elements are sometimes more subtle and support the weight of Faker’s powerful lyrics. Faker takes pride in handcrafting his music from lyrics, samples, and arrangements, to the recording and mixing, and credits the power of the Internet for allowing an artist like himself to reach such a wide audience.

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A Second Look at Matisyahu – An Interview with the Reggae Rapper


Matisyahu reflected on his answers and changed his mind.

After sending follow up questions to his original response via email, the American reggae singer provided rewritten answers. Likely concerned with the reception of his initial responses, he replied saying “Being judged and feeling misunderstood has been a recurrent theme in my life.” His image has been a focal point of his career. An Orthodox Jew from White Plains, New York, Matisyahu, born Matthew Paul Miller, captivated the world with his 2006 performance at Stubb’s in Austin. His long beard, payos (sidelocks), and unusual blend of Old Testament storytelling with reggae melodies was a complete anomaly as Americans looked internationally for new styles like Shakira and Sean Paul that took top spots on the Billboard Chart.

At the end of 2011, Matisyahu shared a photo of himself clean shaven, declaring that he was “reclaiming himself” and ready to move forward with his career. But as much as any artist wishes to be creatively pure, no one operates within a vacuum unaware of critics and fans alike. On June 3rd, he will release his fifth studio album, Akeda, which is Hebrew for “binding” and a reference to the story of Isaac, where G-d tests Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his child. The story parallels where the artist stands today: his creative decisions decided, awaiting to see if his fans will follow.

This upcoming Friday Matisyahu will perform at Bottlerock Music Festival in Napa. In a series of emails, SFCritic spoke with Matisyahu about his upcoming album, his image and religious outlook. Read More


Sean Lennon’s ‘The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger’ (GOASTT) @GAMH


I met Sean Lennon in Dublin, Ireland eight years ago. He was humble, a bit shy and somehow apologetic, playing to a seated crowd of about 50 in the upstairs of a pub called Whelans. There were no sorry’s at the Great American Music Hall Tuesday night as GOASST. Lennon’s project with model babe bass-player girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, seems to gives him permission to shine on. Sean is a bad ass, vibing and technical, guitar player. Still, I can’t help to say his spirit still feels like a musical giant bent over and cramped into a glass house. He has so much potential.

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Photos by Victoria Smith

Strange Talk Put on Insane Show at Rickshaw Stop’s Padded Room


Friday as I was standing with our talented photographer Victoria Smith near the bar waiting for local opener The Hundred Days to finish their rocking set, I noticed a couple of guys trying to pay for drinks and a bartender that looked throughly unimpressed with their Australian chip-based cards. On closer inspection it was lead vocalist Stephen Docker and guitarist Gillan Gregory from headliner Strange Talk. If you have ever traveled overseas, you know what a cluster fuck it is to use a U.S. card over there or a pin and chip card here. I felt compelled to help them out, and bought their round so they could hurry back stage and get ready for their set. Read More

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