Katie Knipp goes back to ‘The Well’

(photos: Phil Kampel) Words by Carolyn McCoy By now, most of us have a serious case of the Lockdown Blues. But there is hope! Almost like a homeopathic dose of the blues to cure the blues, Katie Knipp’s latest release, The Well, is just the antidote for the overall hell we are experiencing right now. Last year at this time, Knipp was climbing the Billboard Blues charts, in which she shared honored space with other masters like Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. She was also flying high on a nod from the Grammy Association by almost acquiring a nomination [...]

By |March 18, 2021|Tags: |

Nick Vicario of Public Eye drops solo LP

Man, there's something comforting about self-titled LP from San Francisco punk outfit, Smirk. The solo project of Public Eye guitarist Nick Vicario, which dropped last week via Feel It Records in the US and Drunken Sailor Records in the UK, occupies the warm fuzzy nexus between '70s glam and '80s punk. But even with the analog production pushed to the front, Smirk strikes a particular kind of anachronism that's difficult to pull off. Anyone can throw on some sunglasses and slur words like Iggy Pop, but you got to have those hooks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFp9U32iVT0   Maybe these songs sound like the [...]

By |March 14, 2021|Tags: |

Save the Arlene Francis Center with us.

Even if you're not from the North Bay, you've seen their name around here many times — the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa is a mainstay of Sonoma County's music community, and has been since the '90s. Like many, many, many other venues, the pandemic has hit them in the pocketbook pretty damn hard. So they're doing what we all do best right now: Hosting a livestream-slash-fundraiser. Actually, this one is pre-recorded -- but it's debuting online tonight. Catch sets from Slugger, Down Dirty Shake, and Heidi Benjamin, emceed by our own Derek Nielsen. How can you help? [...]

How the Bay Area can do better for Black musicians

Author Adam Hudson plays an open mic in Benicia. Words by Adam Hudson While the San Francisco Bay Area prides itself on liberal multiculturalism and progressive politics, racism and segregation in the region are more real than people like to admit. And you can see that even in the music community.    For seven years, I played in an all-nonwhite alternative rock band called Sunata; two of us were African-American (myself, the drummer, and the bassist) and one was Indo-Fijian (guitarist/vocalist). We stuck out in the Bay Area rock scene. Even though rock music originated in the Black community, rock music [...]

By |February 18, 2021|Tags: |

Ann James Jr releases new single, “The Rain”

On February 1, San Francisco's Ann James Jr released a lyrical new single, "The Rain." Urgent and raw in composition and instrumentation, the music grounds a lyrically charged and melancholic story shared by singer-songwriter Kevin Waylonis. In "The Rain" there are no gimmicks or affectations, just a poignant existential narrative accompanied by a charismatic vocal performance. https://open.spotify.com/track/7N0QeW21qZ1REozV6SPQHr With musical interludes serving almost as scene changes in a play, the music cools into a patient indie-pulse to feature breathtaking lines like "and times, you hardly look me in the eyes / that's alright / I'm afraid to know what you'd find [...]

By |February 16, 2021|

Elliott Ok’s first single “Snap! (The End)”

On February 5, Santa Cruz's Elliott Ok released his first single "Snap! (The End)." With an arresting vocal performance, catchy melodies, and lush production, this song's a compelling announcement of Elliot Ok's emergence as a singer-songwriter in the Bay Area Americana and indie music scene. "Snap! (The End)" certainly does not reflect the startling fact that this is his first recording — at least one shared with the public. It evinces a real sense of craft that would typically be found in a well-seasoned songwriter. Yet, having served as a multi-instrumentalist in many prominent Bay Area acts throughout the years, [...]

By |February 16, 2021|Tags: |

Petticoat’s new single “Stretch” weaves synthscapes

Having released a new single "Stretch" on January 28, San Francisco/LA artist Petticoat (David Halsey) is starting 2021 on an endearing and reflective note. "Stretch"'s '80s new wave, hyperpop synthscapes and motivational bass lines bed an alluring vocal performance akin to 1975. Balancing emotion and control, the oceanic, oneiric music complements Halsey's waking musings of a lover's hangover: "I stretch out into other worlds with you / I'm stressed out underneath my sheets at noon. Don't fall in love before you take her home / You think you love her when you really don't." "I love the music from eras that [...]

By |February 15, 2021|Tags: |

King Dream pushes the big red reset button on “Return to Zero”

photo: Giant Eye Photography Like the rest of us, musicians had to make the great pivot in 2020. For Jeremy Lyon of King Dream, whose average week stacked multiple shows with different bands, playing solo, private events, parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, you name it — the shift to "work-from-home" was, well, rather extreme. And yet, he's been keeping pretty busy. The shows — albeit remote ones — are still there. Sometimes they're live on the web, sometimes pre-recorded and rebroadcast. One day it's for Social Distance Live, the Bay Area-based affair that bands together many local artists covering a famous [...]

By |February 12, 2021|Tags: , |

Saturday livestream will pay tribute to Dominic Miranda

If you even dabbled in local music in the last decade and a half you might have experienced Dominic Miranda's work: in The Record Winter, in Rex Goliath, as Payphone. It's more likely, though, you experienced it secondhand, through the other artists he collaborated with and inspired. Since the mid-'00s, his presence was a consistent, anchoring force in notoriously boom-and-bust South Bay music scene. In October of last year, Miranda passed away from complications of a heart condition, leaving a clear loss in San Jose music. And on Saturday night, the breadth of his influence will be apparent as artists [...]

Avi Vinocur’s ‘Hindsight’ will make you miss going places

This morning, San Francisco's Avi Vinocur announced a new album, arriving next Friday. Recorded entirely on his iPhone in his apartment, Hindsight feels like a ship-in-a-bottle encapsulation of the year that's behind us (check the pun in the title). But the storytelling is fiction: Each song is set in a different time and place, something most of us didn't get to experience a lot of last year. Hindsight by Avi Vinocur Strung together, the album sounds like a solitary road trip. A quiet backroad, the dying fuzz of losing a local radio station, a reason known only to you. Since [...]

By |February 5, 2021|Tags: |
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