This weekend: First annual Oakland Popfest, presented by KALX

This weekend marks the first annual Oakland Popfest: four shows over three nights spotlighting indie pop bands from both sides of the Bay and a few out-of-towners that will surely shake things up and shake some hips. Inspired by the Athens Popfest, founder Claude Cardenas plans to cultivate a weekend of twee indulgence for the Bay Area indie pop community. "We decided to do an Oakland Popfest after going to Athens Popfest in 2016 and seeing how they run things, and how Popfest should be an event and not a bunch of shows that feel disconnected. It really was an [...]

By |August 16, 2017|Tags: |

Terry Malts play ‘Killing Time’ at the Bottom of the Hill next week

Five years ago, Slumberland Records released Killing Time, the debut album from San Francisco's Terry Malts. Almost instantaneously, the group became the buzz band of the season. Fourteen fuzzed-out blasts of catchy primitive pop songs and a driving and unpredictable live set earned them the reputation of one of San Francisco's most exciting new bands. "When we started Terry Malts, we were still doing our old band Magic Bullets." vocalist/bassist Phil Benson recalls. "Magic Bullets was pretty austere, and we wanted to do a side project after our drummer and keyboardist left," guitarist Corey Cunningham continues. "We were still paying for [...]

By |February 17, 2017|Tags: |

The Lookouting: A Celebration of Lookout! Records runs through next weekend at 924 Gilman

Nineteen-year-old Alex Botkin wasn't around for any of Lookout!'s heyday. "I've been going to Gilman since 2011," he says of the legendary East Bay collective that went hand-in-hand with Berkeley label Lookout! Records' mid-'90s success. "I kinda discovered Lookout! through that, and became enthralled by the stories and bands that came out of the label, and just how unique every artist was. Then I just began collecting the releases and I fell in love with every new band I found." Botkin recalls. Largely through his love of the label, he's organized a series of shows at 924 Gilman to celebrate Lookout!'s [...]

By |January 3, 2017|Tags: |

The Mr. T Experience: Celebrating 30 years with a new album, new novel, and a new start

(photo: Wilson Photoworks) Thirty years ago, the Mr. T Experience released their first album, Everybody’s Entitled to Their Own Opinion, a rudimentary blast of bubblegum disguised as a punk album. From there the band would go on to become founding members of Berkeley's 924 Gilman Street Project scene, sign to Lookout! Records and tour the world several times over. They were one of the first Bay Area pop-punk bands and inspired legions of fans and followers. As their sound evolved and changed, the record industry did as well. Suddenly the whole landscape of selling records had plateaued and taken a nosedive [...]

Ash celebrate the 20th anniversary of ‘1977’ at The Independent

In 1996 Irish alt-rockers Ash released their first full-length album, 1977. Named in honor of the birth year of two out of the three members, the year punk broke in the UK and the year Star Wars made its theatrical debut, 1977 offered a post-Nirvana guitar buzz that embraced the quirkiness of an Empire Records generation. Vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler offered hook-driven angst that combined sweet melodies and effects drenched walls of guitar. While taking cues from Creation records and frantic and melodic punk rock of the late '70s, Wheeler, along with bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray, let their youthful exuberance run [...]

By |September 21, 2016|Tags: |

FM Knives reunite one more time for Hemlock Tavern show this weekend

In the early '00s, punk rock and power-pop had began to revisit the past as bands like The Briefs and Exploding Hearts burst on to the scene. Decked in white denim and peroxide fringe haircuts, these fashionable groups ushered in a power-pop and '77 revival that would last nearly a decade. After surviving grunge, "big rawk" and 90's pop-punk, suddenly guitar panic and a cheeky pop approach was en vogue. But before the North West even had time to heat their hair irons, four reprobates from Sacramento had already beaten them to the punch. FM Knives were born in the [...]

By |September 15, 2016|Tags: |

Mall Walk announce debut album ‘Funny Papers,’ stream album track

(photo: Julie Juarez) Mall Walk are set to release their long-awaited debut album, "Funny Papers" this October on Mt. St. Mtn. records. The Oakland based three-piece issued their first 7" single "Criminal Code", on their Vacant Stare label last year and have been generating buzz among post-punk circles ever since. Vocalist/guitarist Rob I. Miller builds a lush tapestry of guitar effects and disaffected vocals over the solid grooves of Nicholas Clark (drums) and Daniel Brown (bass). The band effortlessly slips into a nervous frenzy reminiscent of a guitar-driven Tubeway Army, all the while embracing full on '90s college radio noise [...]

By |September 7, 2016|Tags: |

Razz celebrate the release of their debut 7″ this Friday at the Hemlock

"Power-pop" may have become a dirty word ever since the genre became saturated with hair bands poorly attempting to recreate the magic of Greg Shaw's original Bomp Records roster, but Razz are one of the few Bay Area groups that actually sound right at home among Disconnected-era Stiv Bators and classic Real Kids. Frontman/rhythm guitarist Dan Wood (formerly of The Pets and Tropical Sleep) keeps chord structure clean and simple as his voice carries instantly infectious melodies. Bassist Andy Jordan rounds out any roughness of Wood's delivery as the pair's voices blend impeccably. Jordan's harmonies perfectly envelop Wood's holler and add [...]

By |August 2, 2016|Tags: |

King Rocker presents a double record-release show for Apache and BTs

The Mission used to be seedy. You could buy drugs and a switchblade and get into a lot of trouble without having to try very hard, and there was always a sense of danger and adventure that hung in the air on a hot summer night. As rock and roll bands become an endangered species and bars and venues are being replaced by reclaimed-wood cafes and gastropubs, King Rocker records are taking over The Make Out Room for a double record release party to give everyone a reminder of how much fun a sweaty Sunday night in the Mission could [...]

By |July 29, 2016|Tags: , |

Southpaw Turns 7: A conversation with Southpaw Records

In an era of streaming sites and fickle music trends, Baltimore exiles Rob Fales and Amanda Niesslein have been releasing records and tapes as Southpaw Records since 2009. Releasing early recordings by Shannon and the Clams, Ty Segall, and The Bare Wires, Southpaw was there documenting a very exciting time in the Bay Area music scene. Today, Southpaw has over 50 releases under its belt, including Canadian darlings Young Guv and

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