Gobbinjr’s Double Debut: Two Bay Area shows planned for the weekend

"Have you ever felt that someone was mysterious and strange?" Emma Witmer of Gobbinjr sings on the title track of Vom Nite, the band's latest EP. "When you get too close, you feel the urge to look the other way," Witmer continues. "No one wants to love someone who's never been loved before." It's an uncomfortable, albeit compelling, sentiment: Feeling pushed away from something precisely because of its attractive qualities is the type of aching human experience that is universally relatable. And though many songs about mysterious strangers have and will be written, "Vom Nite," like the rest of Gobbinjr's œuvre, is [...]

By |May 4, 2017|Tags: |

Xiomara on ‘the essence of hip-hop’ and internal revolution

“I’m just trying to encourage other people to be their best selves,” Xiomara tells me, as we chat over the phone. She’s babysitting for a friend, and throughout our conversation, children’s voices interrupt, asking for an orange; a game; attention. She apologizes, but I think it’s cute: It reminds me of my life as an after-school teacher, and also of how deeply rooted Xiomara is in her community. Born in Berkeley, Xiomara has moved all over the Bay Area during her lifetime, and has made connections throughout. Xiomara’s debut album, Seven Nineteen, was recorded at the Knock Knock Recording Studio [...]

By |April 28, 2017|Tags: |

Review + Photos: Mitski and Steady Holiday at the Fillmore

Mitski (photo: Robert Alleyne) The first time I saw Mitski belt straight into her guitar strings was two years ago, during a shattering Audiotree Live Session I devoured through my computer screen. The last time was on Thursday, at the Fillmore, as Mitski finished her sold-out show with a solo rendition of “Class of 2013.” It’s a compelling image — Mitski, with her guitar flung into the air and pressed against her cheek, her face turned into its strings, which turn towards a shrill microphone — and one that I find relevant because of both its strength and its efficacy. If she [...]

By |April 20, 2017|Tags: |

Review + Photos: Sigur Rós at the Fox Theater

Sigur Rós (photo: Jon Bauer) Sigur Rós are consistently billed as a post-rock band — but while listening to them in a contemporary context, their music reminds me less of the 2000’s soaring arrangements, and more of this era’s experimental manipulations of sound through production. They are a rock band, yes, but Sigur Rós’ approach to emotional articulation is electronic. Prioritizing sound construction over literal meaning, their music pulls listeners emotionally without relying on context. At the Fox Theater in Oakland on Sunday night, Sigur Rós’ expansive sound was matched with soaring lights and patterned projections. The theater itself seemed [...]

By |April 13, 2017|Tags: |

Hazel Reading Series brings living room readings to San Francisco

(Hazel Reading Series banner, designed by Diana To.) “We have no prescribed identities,” Sara Marinelli of San Francisco's Hazel Reading Series says to me over the phone. For us, [womanhood] is really a non-binary thing, and it’s really inclusive — I would say that one of the goals [of Hazel] would absolutely be to [...] deconstruct some gender norms and some expectations, so that the readers and audience felt more comfortable with [gender].” Started by Marinelli and collaborator Erica Eller in 2013, Hazel Reading Series has other goals as well: To create room for women’s stories in the Bay Area, foster [...]

Interview: Lady Lamb strives for courage, emotional vulnerability on new EP

“Be present / be patient / be transparent” Aly Spaltro writes at the end of her Tender Warriors Club manifesto. Originally written as a personal reminder to refrain from retreating emotionally during difficult periods, the manifesto is one of many creative projects coming out of Spaltro’s latest EP as Lady Lamb, Tender Warriors Club. Spaltro’s voice is slow and enduring on Tender Warriors Club, bubbling into emotive highs and sinking into yawning lows. On “Heaven Sent”, the EP’s lead track, Spaltro's voice drops into a resonant echo as she sings that “heaven bent to hell / heaven - herself –– [...]

By |March 17, 2017|Tags: |

Giveaway: Xiu Xiu at The Chapel

They're weird, they're local, and they're coming to The Chapel: Xiu Xiu is slated for a memorable performance on March 19th in San Francisco. Presented by (((folkYEAH!))), Sunday's performance will be the first time that Xiu Xiu plays live in San Francisco since the release of their latest album, Forget. Their first full album since 2014, Forget is a spectacular collection of sounds, featuring the band's unique and occasionally disconcerting love of multi-layered arrangements, and a spattering of notable collaborators, including John Congleton, Charlemagne Palestine, and Vaginal Davis. It's a full and compelling album, and it comes after a run of interesting [...]

By |March 16, 2017|Tags: |

Giveaway: Thao Nguyen at The Chapel

Thao Nguyen, I often like to say, is the best reason to stay in San Francisco. Nguyen has been playing music in the city since 2009, and her onstage charisma, unstoppable shreds, and dedicated, compelling lyrics have made her a fundamental part of the Bay Area's music scene. A champion for independent artists and incarcerated women, Nguyen's voice in the SF arts scene is unique and needed. Nguyen's band, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, released their last album, A Man Alive in 2016. The album is fantastic in its production, in its composition, and in its tight and personal lyrics. Meticulously [...]

Review + Photos: Chicano Batman at the Fillmore

Chicano Batman (photo: Robert Alleyne) To my eye, at least one-in-three audience members in Chicano Batman’s San Francisco crowd was wearing Chicano Batman merch. Excited fans––families, couples, groups of friends, and dedicated singles abounded––crowded into the Fillmore on Friday of last week. Perhaps I have seen the Fillmore as full, but I have never seen it alight with energy and expectation as it was on Friday night; the official release date of Chicano Batman’s latest album, Freedom is Free, and one of the later dates on the west coast leg of their 2017 tour, the night was a special one for [...]

By |March 8, 2017|Tags: |

Noise Pop: Adia Victoria and the ‘White Gaze’

Adia Victoria (photo: Kaiya Gordon) “So the question that naturally emerges is simple,” Jenn M. Jackson writes in her 2015 essay, “We Done Told Y’all What’s Up”. “What are the rules?” she continues. “Is there a rule that Black bodies are always up for public (read ‘White’) consumption?” In music, the history of Black exploitation and white consumption is long. Black innovators have watched as country took cues from gospel music, as jazz halls filled with white performers, and as hip-hop was white-washed by appropriative pop. Even the advent of rock and roll––a genre fronted in the contemporary imagination by British [...]

Go to Top