Review & Photos: Psychic Ills, Mike Donovan (Sic Alps), Föllakzoid, AAN @ Hemlock Tavern, 2/28/13 (Noise Pop 2013)

The Hemlock seems an unlikely venue for Noise Pop. The oversized cutesy animated Noise Pop banner looked out of place behind the tiny stage in the dingy nethers of a club that prides itself on featuring "a bleeding-edge, non-mainstream mix of local, national and international bands...subgenres, scenes and microscenes." Like putting a Hello Kitty sticker on a murky bong. That said, it seemed like any ol' night at the Hemlock -- a veritable mix of the too cool for school, too stoned for school, and TL party party people (some of which I wager to guess have never stepped foot [...]

Noise Pop 2012: Two Gallants, White Cloud, Greg Ashley @ Edinburgh Castle, 2/23/12

Equally passionate and effortless, Two Gallants rolled through a set of old favorites and new works the first night of their two-night stand at the Edinburgh Castle on Thursday. Wedged in between the short-lived freak folk ascendance (Devandra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and various hairy trolls) and the reverb revival (Thee Oh Sees, Fresh and Onlys, and various recovering shoegazers), Tyler Vogel and Adam Stephens proved to be the quintessential SF house band for the past some-odd years. Built from adolescent busking, onetime national buzz, and some hairy tour tales, the two stir punk-adled emotion with rural rhythmic accents, and never [...]

Noise Pop Review: No Age, Grass Widow, Rank/Xerox, Crazy Band 2/26/11

About halfway through the second band at the Rickshaw the other night, I was beginning to realize that the night's lineup was designed as a "punk rock" bill more than anything (mind you, Spin was presenting). Admittedly, I've always been slightly uneasy with the connotations of "punk". To me, it's become as vague or ironic a descriptor as "indie" or "folk." I always thought punk ended sometime in the early 80s when hard rock and glam metal began, then grunge, 90s arena rock, and the eventual schism of genres we've come to embrace or poke fun at. Were the Talking [...]

Noise Pop Review: The Concretes, Birds & Batteries, Magic Bullets, Psychic Friend

On a night when a meteorologist's conspiracy hoodwinked all of us into thinking it would snow in our temperate little town, the Rickshaw played host to Sweden's The Concretes, two of SF's local heavyweights, Birds & Batteries and Magic Bullets, and a debut performance from Psychic Friend (featuring Will Schwartz of Imperial Teen). Energy was a little low at the start of the evening, but Schwartz being the music vet he is, wasted little time hooking his overtly emotional, piano-powered pop into the emerging crowd. Filling out the guitarless trio were drummer Patty Schemel (Hole) and bassist Bo Boddie, who [...]

Interview: Sic Alps discuss Napa Asylum, getting by on tour, and why their live show is better than ever

Sic Alps - "Do You Want To Give $$?" Hot on the heels of the release of their double LP Napa Asylum, Sic Alps' Matt Hartman and newest member Noel von Harmonson were gracious enough to chat with us about the band's new kick-ass record, tour hobbies, and some of their musical leanings. Be sure to catch them on February 9, as part of the all star lineup (also including Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, The Sandwitches) at the Coalition on Homelessness Benefit at the Great American Music Hall, before they embark on a US tour in just a few [...]

By |February 7, 2011|Tags: |

Young Prisms saturate the Bottom of the Hill for their LP release 1/19/11

Photos by: Rachel Keenan When the dust clears, album release shows -- much like prom nights, or say, New Year's Eve goings on -- can have a calculated emotion about them. Usually the magic of an album, at least for the band, occurred sometime several months ago in the haze of a poorly lit studio when an accidental note or a missed entry becomes the unsuspecting essence of a bridge...a song...or the record itself. Not to mention, hometown crowds are the best and the worst. Everyone you love, and maybe even some of those who have become estranged, can be [...]

By |January 24, 2011|Tags: |

Noise Pop 2010: Thao Nguyen / Mirah, Horse Feathers, Dave Smallen, Carletta Sue Kay @ Swedish American Hall

Photos by: Nicole Browner While the audience, and even the performers, might have expected Saturday night's collaboration between Mirah and Thao Nguyen to come across as a spirited little experiment, it was quite plain after the first couple songs that this venture was going to be a distinct highlight of the festival, if not a prelude to a storied pairing to come. Mirah, having recently moved to SF from the heralded indie rock village of Olympia, seems to have arrived just in time to intersect with her soul-crossed musical sister who is beginning to sell out shows left and right [...]

Noise Pop 2010: Atlas Sound, Geographer, Magic Wands, Nice Nice @ GAMH

Photos by: Nicole Browner As Noise Pop 2010 entered its closing weekend, packing or selling out many high profile venues in the city, badge holders, photographers, and various press folk were confronted with all kinds of competing choices. Friday and Saturday's lineups featured a smattering of sterling singer songwriters (John Vanderlice, Mirah / Thao, Laura Gibson, Mark Kozelek), including a murkier permutation of this breed in Atlas Sound, the solo project of Deerhunter's Bradford Cox. Cox's musical and personal backstory continues to elicit attention concerning his dual persona as introverted bedroom recording recluse and front man for one of the [...]

Noise Pop 2010: The Dodos & Magik Magik Orchestra @ Palace of Fine Arts

Photos by: Charlie Homo Everyone loves a homegrown success story. And whether you caught The Dodos' Meric Long as a fledgling picker, shoegazing through bangs and armed with loop pedals and two microphones (one always bleeding reverb nearly at ear's might) at Hotel Utah, the Make-Out Room or a myriad of other intimate venues dotted around the Bay Area, it's now simply fodder for the nostalgic among us. For most of Thursday evening's grand production at the Palace of Fine Arts, Meric himself seemed in awe of just how far he and his musical comrades have (well deservedly) come. Being [...]

Noise Pop 2010: Foreign Born, The Fresh & Onlys, Free Energy, The Splinters @ Rickshaw Stop

Photos by: Rachel Keenan Thankfully, the rain dissipated to welcome the first proper full slate evening of Noise Pop acts. It's always a bit of transition to slip into "festival" mode, where four band bills can test the weariness of your legs and ears, not to mention your liver. The sets can be a bit shorter, if not strategic, but the discovery of a new bff band is always looming. Although the room was slowly filling up, it was fitting to hear a pocket of natural reverb grace the harmony-driven 60s basement pop of the The Splinters, who hail from [...]

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