Bandcamp takes no cut on Friday March 20th

Image courtesy of Bandcamp With venues closing, tours halting, and even practice spaces closing down, many musicians are quite suddenly no longer able to make their bills. In an effort to help support their artists, Oakland-based Bandcamp pledged not to take a single penny from all purchases made from midnight to midnight on Friday, March 20. In an email to subscribers, the company writes, “If you are able, please join us in putting some much needed money directly into artists’ pockets.” To learn more about why Bandcamp is banding together — pun, yes — to support musicians, besides the obvious [...]

If we were at SXSW, here’s who we would have seen

In times of excitement or exhaustion; happiness or sadness, one of the most powerful saviors of a mood, a day, or even a life, is music. Before things shut down and the world took a collective pause, we were all geared up to head over to SXSW to see some of our favorite bands from the Bay Area and beyond. Obviously that didn’t happen, but we’d like to still see them in our dreams. And in the spirit of supporting struggling musicians whose work we need so much, we’d like to offer some insights into some of the artists who [...]

Premiere: Shrouded Strangers release “Night Prancer” video

After last year’s album Night Prancing (Burger Records), Shrouded Strangers just released the video for single “Night Prancer” and it's a trippy fun treat. The song feels perfect for energizing your spirit a warm spring day and is a throwback to early Kinks and '60s psych rock, tuning in nicely with the rest of the album. Another track worth a shout out is song “Prodigal Sequoia.” Check out those hooks like you won’t believe and maybe a little nod to the boys’ Big Sur roots. The band tells us that Night Prancing is “...the soundtrack to an ‘unrealized film script,’ [...]

The folksy, jazzy, gentle pop of the Saxophones’ ‘Eternity Bay’

(photo: Connor Sorenson) When Alexi Erenkov and Alison Alderdice got married, Erenkov’s vows weren’t your typical declarations. “They were about our mortality,” says The Saxophones’ drummer Alison Alderdice with a bit of a grin. “The light and the dark and how this marriage will end when one of us dies...It was really romantic, though.” The couple laugh. The Saxophones — vocalist and lyricist Alexi Erenkov, drummer Alison Alderdice and bassist Richard Laws — create music that is gentle and ethereal, layered with woodwinds and rich, serenading vocals. Alderdice shifts their 3-month old on her chest, who looks in my direction [...]

Lauren Ruth Ward explodes onto Cafe du Nord stage

Grungy '70s psych-rock singer Lauren Ruth Ward just released “Water Sign” from her forthcoming album, Volume II ahead of her US tour jumping off this month. On the 19th of March the Baltimore singer plays Cafe du Nord (presented by Noise Pop, so you know it’s solid) and it’s sure to be a funky splendid time. The single’s accompanying video (shot by Dylan Doornbos Hayes) is a funny trip with a hint at the some of the antics Ward gets up to on stage. She’s a charismatic performer with a pleasingly unique voice that’s hard to pin down. For fans [...]

Noise Pop 2020: Resavoir livens SFJAZZ’s Joe Henderson Lab

(photo: Tim Nagle) Following the release of last fall's self-titled Resavoir, the Chicago-based band started the first night of their tour at SFJAZZ’s Joe Henderson Lab on February 29 as part of the Noise Pop 2020 lineup. The band, led by trumpet player Will Miller (Whitney), is a tight-knit group of musicians whose stage chemistry makes their funky '60s jazz-inspired compositions all the more engaging. Miller introduces the band and tells us they’ve been playing to gather for years. “This guy right here?” Miller says, pointing to percussionist Peter Manheim. “He’s been my day one homie. We did some breathing [...]

Noise Pop 2020: Helado Negro, Angelica Garcia, Meerna and Tré Burt mesmerize the crowd

On the third night of Noise Pop 2020 at Great American Music Hall, Meerna opened the night with a room-silencing cover of Joan Baez’s “Silver Dagger” and set the stage for what would be a lovely and soulful performance. Never have I seen an audience so silent, so willfully watching the first opening act. Meerna frontwoman Carly Bond, who typically plays with a full band, braved the stage solo and confessed, “Guys, I’m scared,” then tuning her guitar added in a drawn out voice, “Soooo scared,” to audience chuckles. After busting out an old favorite, “Good Luck,” Bond tuned her [...]

The Seshen dive into ‘CYAN’ in time for Noise Pop

(photo: Brittany Powers) Synthesizers, drum machines, and live percussion blend with the cool, soulful voice of the Seshen’s Lalin St. Juste to create a harmonious combination of synth-pop and electronic R&B. On their newest album, CYAN (February 28), we hear influences the band didn’t previously engage with. There’s a little bit of indie rock, touches of folk, neo-soul, and hip-hop. We sat down with the band to talk about the release of their third album, their award-winning music video and upcoming short film, and the excitement around playing as part of Noise Pop. In the creation of their third album, [...]

Jack Symes’ Prom Night at Great American

Singer-songwriter Jack Symes returns to his old San Francisco stomping grounds this March to grace the Great American stage. Didn’t get the prom night you wanted in high school? Fret not, Symes is giving you a reason to dress to the nines in your most prom-ed out attire. As part of his two-part Prom Night show--ahead of his new single, “Prom Song”--Symes will feature an eight-piece band and “...balloon archways, corsages, streamers, the works. We’ll be channeling a sort of 1960’s high school prom vibe for the night,” he tells us. Single “Baby, My Baby” arrived this month and it’s [...]

Canadian folk pop singer Andy Shauf plays August Hall February 21

Photo credit: Colin Medley Lookin’ for a good time? Look no further than next week. August Hall is hosting Toronto-based Andy Shauf, whose latest album The Neon Skyline dropped in January (ANTI-). The album is Shauf’s sixth album and his second concept album. Following 2016 album The Party (which earned him several nominations and a couple big wins, including Western Canadian Music Awards' Pop Artist of the Year), Neon Skyline is full of story songs with a touch of humor à la Randy Newman or The Kinks’ Ray Davies. Shauf’s pleasing inflection, a warm array of woodwinds and interesting arrangements [...]

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