Photos/Review: Battles @ Bottom of the Hill 5/3/11

The first thing about seeing Battles in concert is that their records don’t even remotely hint at the savage power and sheer volume of their live show. Mirrored, their breakthrough debut full-length, and the tracks that have been released from their upcoming sophomore effort, have their live show's playful braininess and experimental complexity but they have a mannered ease to them. On record, the band may be playing some of the most uncompromisingly difficult music in all of indie rock but it sounds like they're making it without breaking a sweat. Live, it's a whole different story--by the end of [...]

By |May 5, 2011|Tags: |

Noise Pop Review: Battlehooch, Nobunny, The Exray’s and The Downer Party

Blame the weatherman. Even though people kept going to Bottom of the Hill's rear courtyard and disappointingly peering up into the cloudless, snow-free sky hoping for a once-in-a-lifetime show, the real show was going on inside. After The Downer Party's poppy, riot girl-inspired punk rock opened the night, San Francisco's own Exray's took the stage. Nominally a duo but performing as a three piece, Exray's have a unique live setup. Instead of a drummer, their percussion is handled entirely by someone playing an electronic drum machine. Interestingly, for the majority of the set, the "drummer" used naturalistic drum sounds and [...]

Noise Pop Review: The Stone Foxes, Voxhaul Broadcast, Ferocious Few, The Soft White Sixties @ The Independent 2/24/11

Photos by: Agata Kamler I've seen the Ferocious Few more time than I care to count. I've seen them in parks, on street corners, at raucous outdoor festivals. I saw them play in the middle of a packed street during a joyous near-riot the night Obama was elected. I've seen them so regularly that I once recognized their guitarist on an airplane. This may be the only local band at their level I've seen often enough to pick out of crowd whose members I didn't know personally (I'm terrible with faces). Yet, I've never seen them indoors or gone out [...]

Noise Pop Review: Yo La Tengo & The Urinals Being in a band is a lot like being married. Anyone who has been in an even remotely serious band can attest to this being the gospel truth. Much like a marriage, sustaining a band over twenty-something years occasionally requires switching things up to keep the relationship interesting. Some people try introducing another partner into the mix. Others try role playing as a orchestral prog outfit or a sexy cowgirl who's been naughty. People have even gone as far as writing the score to an embarrassingly awful Broadway musical about Spiderman (not recommended). Whatever you do, the key is [...]

By |February 24, 2011|Tags: , |

Review: Rufus Wainwright and the San Francisco Symphony think big

Warning: I'm going to talk about classical music but it's only going to be a little boring, I promise. There are lots of different ways for rock star kids to rebel against their rock star parents. If you're Hank Williams III, you rebel against two generations of country music establishment by playing nasty-ass punk rock. If you're Jakob Dylan and your dad is a living legend, you rebel by sucking. If your parents are dyed-in-the-wool folkies like Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, you rebel by composing a lavish orchestral piece that calls for three flutes, three oboes, a piccaolo, [...]

Dissecting the Song: John Vanderslice – “I’ll Never Live Up To You”

It's a more than a little perplexing trying to figure out when John Vanderslice found the time to write and record a song like "I'll Never Live Up To You." Between running Tiny Telephone recording studio (which the San Francisco Bay Guardian declared the "Best Place to Record Your Analog Indie Rock Masterpiece"), producing albums for bands like Spoon and The Mountain Goats and working on opening up a whole new co-op recording studio, Vanderslice still manages to teach a introductory songwriting class for 8 to 11-year olds at Dave Eggers' hip, literary non-profit, 826 Valencia - leaving a seemingly [...]

By |October 29, 2010|Tags: |

Interview: Wallpaper. plays a Bay Area festival for the very first time

In the spirit of the upcoming Treasure Island Music Festival October 16-17, The Bay Bridged had a chat with Wallpaper. The local band is scheduled to play on Saturday, along with a number of other dance-friendly electro acts. This is the last in our series of interviews leading up to the festival. Previous interviews have featured Surfer Blood, Phantogram, and the Mumlers. The most interesting musicians are almost always the ones that deftly walk a fine line between two halves of some fundamental contradiction - bands that hide gorgeous melodies under an ocean of sonic chaos or rappers whose lyrics [...]

Review: Eric McFadden Trio and the Vau de Viere Society

Photo by: Ryan Montgomery It's a truth universally acknowledged that good burlesque is notoriously difficult to pull off. Well, it's maybe not universally acknowledged by people in mediocre burlesque troupes, something that San Francisco seems to be absolutely lousy with, but it really should be. Good burlesque acts objectively look like simple things to do, and the onstage attitude of a really cool burlesque performance - sexy, aggressively coy and more than a little art-damaged - seems eminently capturable. If, at the end of the day, all it really takes to pull off is a pair of fishnets and precisely [...]

Dissecting the Song: Thee Oh Sees – “Warm Slime”

It takes a certain brand of chutzpah for a band to tack 11 minutes of spaced-out krautrock onto the end of a 2-minute garage-pop song, and then make that whole 13-minute epic the first track on an album that barely clocks in at half an hour. The conventional wisdom of track ordering says that you front-load a record with your most accessible pop ditties and put your extended psychedelic jams in the back - give people an enticing piece of candy at the beginning in the hope they stick around for the LSD-laced meat you have planned for them later. [...]

Dissecting the Song: The Stone Foxes – “I Killed Robert Johnson”

Looking back though almost a century of hazy myth-making, every part of famed delta bluesman Robert Johnson's life has become the stuff of legend. With no birth certificate, a mere 29 recorded songs and only two surviving photographs, all we really have of the man whose infamous deal with the devil is effectively rock and roll's creation myth is a handful of half-remembered stories, passed down from one generation to the next through song, film and Wikipedia. While what may or may not have happened at those  Mississippi crossroads has been retold ad infinitum (even somehow inspiring this), the legend [...]

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