Black Swans play Bay Area shows this week, after split with Bonnie Prince Billy

Photo: Lydia Deakin Black Swans - "Rooster" The unabridged book of American songwriters would include pages on Bob Martin and Larry Jon Wilson. But not that many pages. In order to understand their contributions one would need to push past the Haggards and Hardins, the Goffins and Kings, the Everlys and Earles, and dive headlong into the footnotes and sidebars. It is in this historical underbrush that Jerry DiCicca operates. The impresario, producer, and yes songwriter (nom de plume: The Black Swans) has spent the good part of four years stoking a rediscovery of these two diamonds-in-the-rough, culminating with the [...]

By |January 18, 2011|Tags: |

Review: ‘Genuine ideas’ at SF MusicTech Summit 5/17

SF MusicTech from on Vimeo. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. SF Music Tech is a word class conference and an indispensable stop for anyone crazy enough to be in the music biz in 2010. On Monday I met one such crazy individual: Benji Rodgers of London, England. From his office in Covent Garden he has built a bustling venture called Pledge Music, a platform that enables unsigned artists to tap their fans for the dosh needed to make records. They are doing something right because 70% of the artists on Pledge make or exceed their [...]

Noise Pop 2010: Mark Kozelek, Laura Gibson, Paula Frazer, Fences

Photos by: Charlie Homo We got a little lost on the way to the gig last night due, in part, to losing our bearings among the thousands of people gathered on Market Street to watch floats of Tiger Woods and light things on fire. The melee unfortunately caused us to miss the opener. Having missed Fences we decamped to the parquet for SF’s Paula Frazer whose bewitching tunes rolled around the Great American as if tumbleweed in a spaghetti western starring Grace Slick. Her operatic falsetto is the cherry atop her earthy, Scotch-Irish but-wouldn’t-be-out-of-place-in-Texas vocal quality; Lucinda Williams peering through [...]

An interview with Hiss Golden Messenger

Dylan said he’d know his song well before he’d start singing. Jai Little Diamond (one Mike Taylor) isn’t in a hurry to sing any half-learned tune. When his celebrated alt-country band, The Court and Spark, darkened several years ago Diamond and fellow Sparker, Scott Hirsch, wrote some tunes, gathered together a roadworthy band and played some dates as Hiss Golden Messenger. Fast forward to the summer of 2009; Diamond is resettled in rural North Carolina, Hirsch is in NYC and their first album, Country Hai East Cotton (reapandsow), is signed, sealed and delivered. Boasting a lineup of A-list sidemen -- [...]

By |November 2, 2009|Tags: |

A Decent Animal relocates from the South, plays du Nord tonight

What, you don’t dance at shows? Tut tut. Maybe you’ve never tasted the earthen hash they call TV Mike and the Scarecrows? With one foot in the same Bay Area bayou that the Fogerty boys once trod, and the other foot in, well, the same Bay Area bayou that birthed The Dead, these mostly-Hoosier transplants aren’t afraid to stir up a barn-burner regardless of what hipster might be in earshot. And speaking of transplants, headlining this night at Café du Nord (8pm, $10) are ex-South Carolinians A Decent Animal, whose own dark gumbo goes well with the likes of 16 [...]

By |July 29, 2009|Tags: |

SanFran MusicTech Summit Recap

Perhaps the only thing more astounding than the continued existence of the music biz, even as the twin fangs of file sharing and the Great Recession dig ever deeper, is that the biz is thriving. Sort of. Put another way, even against an ultra-bleak horizon, people have continued to write, record, produce, release, and, most of all, innovate. The sum of that creative and entrepreneurial activity amounts to arguably the most kinetic era that the sound recording has ever known. Enter the second annual SanFran MusicTech Summit held on May 18 at the Kabuki Hotel in Japantown (my thoughts from [...]

By |May 26, 2009|Tags: |

Q+A: The Parson Red Heads

You may have seen their name in the papers because, to paraphrase the brothers Wilson, they get around. In the last 12 months the Parson Red Heads have made the trek from LA to SF numerous times to headline gigs at the Hemlock, Amnesia, the Hotel Utah and Kimo's, not to mention their support gigs at the Independent touring with Earlimart and, most recently, Blitzen Trapper. I had a chance to speak to Evan Way, the lead singer and songwriter of the group, which also features his wife Brette on drums and his sister Erin on keyboards, before their gig [...]

By |December 10, 2008|Tags: |

Interview: Matt Bauer

It doesn't seem like it has been two years since Matt Bauer moved to New York. I don't mean that the two years seem like less, I mean it feels like Matt Bauer never really left San Francisco. In truth, the past never really leaves Matt Bauer—we're just lucky enough to have shared a collective history with him. Last week we chatted in anticipation of his Thursday night gig at the Swedish American Hall opening for Adam Stephens of Two Gallants. Matt Bauer - "As She Came Out of the Water" - from Hinah Session Bay Bridged: It’s [...]

By |September 24, 2008|Tags: , |

Interview: Goh Nakamura

Because we were so excited about Goh Nakamura's CD release show at Café du Nord last Wednesday we slacked-off a bit. We neglected our dishes and lost focus on our work. We also failed to notice the blue/green mold growing on the leftovers we microwaved for lunch. Consequently we spent Wednesday night shivering beneath a blanket, Rubbermaid "sick" bin close at hand. Indeed, food poisoning is probably the closest a living person can get to death, which, in most cases, would be preferred. Luckily we were able to pick Nakamura's brain via email the day before, the results of which [...]

By |August 25, 2008|

SF MusicTech Summit

When I started getting gigs, just north of ten years ago, I got them by mailing a cassette tape to someone. The intervening decade has seen technological invention and Cultural Revolution to the power of Gutenberg x John Glenn, giving rise to a teeming forest of creativity and problems. Making sense of the spread is a kind of heroic undertaking that only people crazy enough to be in music can attempt. Fortunately for these damned souls there are pow-wows like the San Francisco MusicTech Summit to help survey the forest floor. Organized by Brian Zisk, co-founder of the Future of [...]

By |May 14, 2008|Tags: |
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