Alcest, Shelter

Ben: Now that I like Alcest, that means they’re no longer a metal band, right? If it’s any consolation to the metalheads who feel burned by the French band’s wholehearted embrace of anthemic shoegaze and post-rock, I’ll note that Shelter actually convinced to look backward into the band’s catalog, which I’m also now digging. Shelter sounds lush and beautiful, but it’s neither formless nor boring, which is the most common pitfall for me with even some of the more celebrated shoegaze acts. Please tour the States soon!

Jason: To be completely honest, I’m more than a little bored by all of the recent handwringing over the effects of gentrification on San Francisco and the “techies” and their buses being blamed for, well, everything. Sure, there’s something to be said for working to ensure that our fair city remains a bastion of social progress, cultural diversity, and artistic creativity, but the fact of the matter is that SF and its population have been evolving since the minute Juan Bautista de Anza set foot on the shoreline of what would become the Presidio in 1776. In my humble opinion, no one person or group of people has a right to live anywhere (you now, unless they have title to the property…or are at least current on their mortgage payments), and for folks who relocated here 10, 20, or even 50 years ago (or whose ancestors relocated here 100 years ago) to claim some sort of superiority over the latest wave of newcomers is insanity (although I’ll still never call my old neigborhood “NOPA” – it’s the Western Addition, Bi-Rite or no Bi-Rite). So, when I read our old friend John Dwyer’s description of POW!‘s latest offering Hi-Tech Boom, I can’t say I was too enthused. Thankfully, there’s more to the album than the newly-minted L.A. resident’s introduction – it’s 25 minutes of raw energy that is capable of gripping the listener with such force that the entire outside world falls away. I really dug POW!’s set when they played with Cool Ghouls in the cave at Sutro Baths last year, and Hi-Tech Boom shows that their sound translates very well to the recording studio. Watch the video for the title track below.

Anna: I find it incredibly interesting that sometimes, and absolutely depending on the individual, music can completely fuel the ability to concentrate and be productive while at work, or turn on a dime and be way too distracting. This happens to me often: I’ll put on a playlist or album and for the time being, it will be at least part way responsible for me getting through an ever-growing list of tasks. And then, an hour later, I’ll find it too distracting and will have to turn it off. Perhaps this is just my brain, perhaps it’s the music at hand, but either way, I find the process interesting. Lately, plagued with a giant list of security upgrades and longer-term projects that get more complicated by the day, the only music that gets me through it is the music of Robyn. More specifically, “Fembot”, from Body Talk, is currently my best work friend. Time to turn this song on once again and incinerate this task list.