Review + Photos: Still Flyin’, Social Studies, La Corde @ Rickshaw 1/14

Still Flyin' grandstanded the audience at Rickshaw last Friday night, flooding the stage with two percussionists, three backup singers and some epic dance songs. Jamming through songs off their new release Neu Ideas, Sean Rawls played an easy comaraderie with the audience, teasing them with promises of old favorite, "Bird is Aware," later in the set. It was hard to tell whether the band or the audience was having more fun or dancing harder, but I will say, Rawls brought the champagne. Social Studies, with their precise indie pop, flushed out the middle set. While their music rides on the [...]

Review & Photos: The Goldenhearts, The Moanin’ Dove, Linda Perry @ CELLspace 11/5/10

I arrived last Friday night in the cavernous CELLspace during a set by Linda Perry. Known both for her work with 4 Non Blondes and as a producer/songwriter for some major pop performers, she sat alone at the piano singing with a beautiful, raw voice and throwing salty jokes at the audience. I recommend checking out her neat side project of covers using her iPhone. The Goldenhearts followed up, celebrating the release of their new album Is There Love on Mars?. Headed by Roger Rocha (who was a guitarist for 4 Non Blondes), the band plays rock songs living on [...]

Photos & Review: The Crooked Jades @ The Episcopal Church of St. Mary 10/10

So, I went to church last Sunday. To be honest, I'm not a churchgoer, but the Episcopal Church of St. Mary hosts a neat series of free shows called Candlelight Concerts. Local old-time band The Crooked Jades played, moving easily along a wide swath of Americana music. Their work is has made its mark nationally as well; recently their song "Fork and File" was in the Sean Penn movie "Into the Wild" and they made the soundtrack for the PBS documentary "Seven Sisters: A Kentucky Portrait." The band played in the lucent church, framed by hundred-year-old redwood planks and candles. [...]

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Review: Sam Amidon + Chloe Makes Music @ Cafe du Nord 9/13

For the first time since I've been going to Cafe du Nord, it was silent during the sets. Since it was Monday, there wasn't a rowdy bar crowd and both Chloe Makes Music and Sam Amidon fully owned the quiet. Singer/songwriter Chloe set the tone for the evening with her spare and traveling songs, pairing the naive quality of her voice with minor chords and dark narratives. She played tunes from her upcoming release The Puppeteer which showcases her talent for wordplay and storytelling. Cellist Jen Grady (Adam Stephens, Emily Jane White) joined her, giving warm weight to Chloe's agile [...]

Chloe Makes Music – “The Duel” (featuring Chris Chu of The Morning Benders)

Quirky and lithe-voiced Chloe Makes Music is releasing her debut record The Puppeteer this fall. Produced by the prolific Chris Chu (The Morning Benders), it features the talented musicians Jen Grady (Adam Stephens, Emily Jane White) and Sara Gambina-Belknap (The Bitter Honeys, Gamelan Sekar Jaya). You can hear some songs off the upcoming record next Monday at Cafe Du Nord when she opens for folksinger Sam Amidon. In the meantime, here's a sweet duet with Chu from the upcoming release entitled "The Duel": [wpaudio url="" text="Chloe Makes Music - The Duel" dl="0"]

Preview: John Vanderslice on One Night Music

I had the luck of joining an intimate audience last Saturday to watch John Vanderslice record a session with the awesome blog One Night Music at Pirate Cat Radio. One Night Music is a site that features independent musicians (local or passing through) performing a handful of songs in a unique moment. Their videos are lovely and they've recorded some amazing musicians. Look for John Vanderslice's video in early September.

Review & Video: A B & the Sea, What Laura Says, So Many Wizards @ Cafe Du Nord 7/7 Local favorites A B & the Sea brought their retro pop to Cafe Du Nord last Wednesday as a part of the local showcase The Rumble. Two out-of-towners -- So Many Wizards (LA) and What Laura Says (Phoenix) -- kicked off the free (with RSVP) show, presented by a consortium of Noise Pop, Future Sounds and The Owl Mag. So Many Wizards describe their music as "bedroom pop," but I would add "late-night romantics" to that description; the trio navigates short, atmospheric songs centered on songwriter Nima Kazerouni's forlorn lyrics. They sounded best when Kazerouni dropped his guitar and [...]

Review: My First Earthquake, The Downer Party, The Attachments @ Rickshaw, 6/17

Photos by: Anna Gazdowicz My First Earthquake has a gift for humor that is tricky to achieve in song. Last Thursday at the Rickshaw Stop they released their new EP, Crush, which has refined what they do best - funny, nerdy dance songs with glimpses of gravity. Starting with old favorites, "Vow to Vowels" and "Cool in the Cool Way," MFE got the upfront audience enthusiastically singing along. The most striking element of their performance was frontwoman Rebecca Bortman's ebullient stage presence and agile voice. With dead-on pitch and unique cadence, Bortman was a pleasure to watch singing live. In [...]

Thursday, 6/17: My First Earthquake release ‘Crush’ @ Rickshaw

Thursday night, get crushed: My First Earthquake is releasing a new EP, Crush at the Rickshaw Stop (9pm, $10). The EP was recorded in one day at Hyde Street Studios, and its four songs ring true to MFE's fun, clever pop with its upbeat rhythms and catchy melodies. The EP is available for free download right now at MFE's Bandcamp page. In describing the sound on the EP, the band says they are drawn to Beck and Prince, "who can explore styles and timbres but still keep a recognizable sound." They added, "two of the songs on the EP are [...]

Review and Photos: The Tyde, My Teenage Stride, Math & Physics Club, Devon Williams @ Rickshaw 5/30

Five out-of-town bands closed out Popfest on Sunday night to a modest but attentive crowd at the Rickshaw Stop. I came in during opener Devon Williams' set, catching the tail end of their eighties pop tinged with the bittersweet heart of a teen. Next Math and Physics Club brought the sunshine back with their quick-witted pop. Layering lyrics like "I could keep the feeling/ but the feeling's mutual" over bright, punchy guitar riffs, the Seattle-based band put out a fun set. I recommend the song "The International," from their just-released album, I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do. The [...]

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