Into The Pit: ION

When you reach the 13-minute mark in the Old Testament-long "Embers" by ION, a sense of dread and disorientation washes over you, like the moment a nightmare jolts you from eternity, sending you spiraling back to bleary-eyed consciousness where you're not exactly sure if those shadows crawling in the corner of your room are real or a sliver of leftover dreamscape. The guitar death wails and cavernous echoes make that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach grow until it pulls you so far down you can't even see the promised light at the end of the tunnel. Just [...]

Dancing In the Dark: Abbot Kinney delivers haunting pop on new EP “The Night”

Tell Jared Swanson that his brainchild Abbot Kinney sounds like Radiohead and he'll probably respond with an exasperated sigh. Every blogger and their mom (and their mom) has compared the project to the seminal '90s alt-rockers, which is a little misguided and, perhaps, a bit unfair as well. How would you like to be considered a shadow of one of the greatest bands in the history of rock and roll? Yes, Swanson's voice does contain an ominous edge reminiscent of Thom Yorke and, yeah, the songwriter thrives on pushing the limits of a pop song, turning radio-friendly melodies into something [...]

By |April 25, 2016|Tags: |

Annie Bacon plans new songs, launches Kickstarter campaign

Singer-songwriter Annie Bacon is planning to record two new songs alongside accompanying videos, songs full of the empathy and passion fans have come to associate with her music. The first, "What We Said," is about a woman who remains faithful to an unfaithful husband, with lyrics focused on enlightening understanding rather than placing blame. The other, "Nikki's Song" (working title), is an ode to musician Nicole McRory and the struggles she endured as a transgender person, struggles that tested but never overwhelmed her fierce spirit. Like much of her work, Bacon's new material seeks to build bridges of communication between [...]

By |April 20, 2016|Tags: |

Derek Ted to release new solo LP on Wednesday

Derek Ted, frontman for San Francisco-based folk-rock trio Owl Paws, concludes his new solo album with a track called "Poison Poetry." I can't think of a better way to describe the songwriter's music that so often falls somewhere between unendurable pain and heartbreaking beauty with the occasional ray of ephemeral hope thrown in there, a biting bittersweetness with an emphasis on the former rather than latter half of that term. So thanks, Derek, for making my job that much easier. Though obviously more mellow than his work in Owl Paws, the solo record, entitled "Wilted in Summer," hits just as [...]

By |April 19, 2016|Tags: |

A Response To A Response: A letter to the angry musicians of San Francisco

Hot Flash Heat Wave at Rickshaw Stop, January 31, 2016 This piece is a response to both Andrew Chaming's article for The Bold Italic entitled "Is San Francisco's Music Scene Dead?" and the wildly intense reaction it provoked from so many musicians, writers, promoters and fans actively involved in the scene. I was a bit disappointed that most critiques of the article fell somewhere between knee-jerk vulgarity and obnoxious sarcasm and wanted to explore why, exactly, it elicited such fury when everyone aware of the scene knows just how beautiful, diverse and alive it really is. The Bold [...]

By |April 18, 2016|

War Cloud releases new single “Vulture City”

Oakland's champions of old-school heavy metal War Cloud have a fittingly ferocious new single out. The title is cool enough: "Vulture City." Wait till you actually listen to it and behold the thundering triplets, the doom-tinged half-time verses, the Valhalla guitar heroics, the tasteful double-bass drum bursts. Akin to Thin Lizzy at their most supercharged, the track slays with vicious velocity and explosive riffs, a sonic fireball that'll burn through your headphones and possibly short-circuit whatever device you may be using to listen to it. Vulture City by War Cloud You can catch the band live in San Francisco at [...]

By |April 14, 2016|Tags: |

Into The Pit: Cyborg Octopus

Here’s the scene: I’m at Toot's Tavern, a very NorCal bar situated in sleepy little Crockett that's full of flannel and decapitated deer heads, a venue which serves as a haven for heavy metal heads in the far East Bay area. I only know prog-metal outfit Cyborg Octopus from a handful of stellar tracks I was blown away by on their Bandcamp page. I have no idea what to expect in terms of their live performance. Here’s what I didn’t expect: A lead singer clad in a ridiculous skin-tight scuba suit (at least, that's what I think it was), a [...]

Foxtails Brigade release new video for “No Fate”

The music of Foxtails Brigade feels like a fairy tale on the verge of becoming a nightmare: one dark turn, one misstep, and you've passed through the looking glass into a hell more horrible than pretty much any movie Tim Burton has made in the last ten years. "No Fate," from their upcoming self-titled LP, is one of the more straightforward tracks from the album. It charges ahead like nursery-rhyme punk rock, bursting at the seams with kinetic energy, its forward momentum threatening to demolish anything in its way. The accompanying video is likewise crackling with movement, from shaky shots [...]

Whiskerman releases single “Waking Up In Providence”

Oakland-based Whiskerman has a new single out from their upcoming album Champions scheduled to drop May 20th. Entitled "Waking Up In Providence," the track takes a decidedly edgier, angrier tone than any of the tunes featured on last year's full-length Nomad. While that LP tackled themes of impending disaster and mankind's self-destructive tendencies with gorgeous ballads and orchestral arrangements, the new single arrests your attention with a hard-driving drumbeat, swooning organs and a scorcher of a guitar solo that catches fire at the 2:45 minute mark. Check it out below. Champions by Whiskerman

By |March 29, 2016|Tags: |

FASIV releases new music video for “Everybody Knows”

FASIV has released the first music video in support of their new record Ride, a sprawling, double-album showcasing the group's expanding range of influences and forays into genre experimentation. The video itself is a bit stranger than you would initially expect from the straightforward rock vibe of the song. It's a psychedelic spaghetti-western pizza party, full of kaleidoscopic visual effects and disorienting cuts, a stoner haze hanging over the suggestive nature of the images. Not only is the band exploring new sonic territory, they seem to be intent on warping your vision too. If you haven't seen the former Strange [...]

By |March 24, 2016|Tags: |
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