Sharon Van Etten: powerful, charming, and funny at The Independent

Seeing an artist play the same venue three times over their career doesn't necessarily mean that they haven't grown a wider audience. Brooklyn singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten is too crowd engaged, too intimate of an artist to thrive in a larger venue like the Fillmore or the Fox. Van Etten's history at the Independent includes supporting Junip in 2010 and The War on Drugs in 2012, and now two sold out nights headlining for an adoring crowd in celebration of the fourth record she's put out, Are We There. Last night, Van Etten and her band started powerfully with the [...]

Owls return: win an LP and tickets to Sunday’s show

Brothers Tim and Mike Kinsella have made a habit out of revisiting their past projects. Their teenage band Cap'n Jazz did a string of shows in 2010, Mike's short-lived band American Football will see the stage again this year, and now they've taken it even further by reuniting the band Tim and Mike started in the early 2000s with Cap'n Jazz members Victor Villareal and Sam Zurick, Owls. Owls didn't just a announce a tour, they also recorded a follow-up to their cult-followed 2001 S/T album, naming it Two. It was released on Polyvinyl in March, and we're giving away a [...]

By |June 28, 2014|Tags: |

Interview: Hard Girls release LP on Asian Man Records this week

San Jose three-piece Hard Girls are breathing life into a genre that in my mind, is timeless. Their latest LP A Thousand Surfaces comes out tomorrow on Asian Man Records — it's a punk record injected with indie rock hooks and memorable lyrics. The album leader "Plan" was shared with the world this past spring, and it was featured on our punk, hardcore, and post-punk mixtape shortly after. In celebration of its release, we talked to singer/guitarist Mike Huguenor about the creation of A Thousand Surfaces, which was recorded by local punk/hardcore engineer Jack Shirley. Hard Girls will play at [...]

By |June 23, 2014|Tags: |

Giveaway: Jolie Holland returns to SF Wednesday!

Did you know that folk singer-songwriter Jolie Holland spent some time living in San Francisco? Well, Wednesday night she returns for a headlining show at The Independent, supported by Austin's rising Jess Williamson for a night of folk, blues, soul and mesmerizing voices. Jolie Holland's rough-around-the-edges, deep voice has long been a favorite of mine, and she just released a new record, Wine Dark Sea. To enter for a chance to win tickets to see Jolie Holland at The Independent, email with “Jolie Holland” in the subject line and your full name in the body of the email. A [...]

Damien Jurado’s acoustic set silences the sold-out Independent

This may be a bold statement to make, but I have long believed Damien Jurado to be one of the best living songwriters. Okay, you're probably asking yourself, "Who the fuck is Damien Jurado?" Or maybe you're thinking, "Oh, is he the freakishly tall guy that Moby made wear a white suit and sing in a falsetto on his recent single?" Of Pacific Northwest descent, Damien Jurado is well respected for his unrivaled talent, with strong recognition over the years from Seattleites Dave Bazan and Jeremy Enigk (who pointed Sub Pop in Jurado's direction), as well as the musician/producer Richard [...]

Premiere: Check out “Main Stacks” from Oakland art punks Never Young

Today, Oakland art punk band Never Young celebrate the release of their debut Master Copy, out on (pink) cassette via Father/Daughter Records. Featuring Never Young on last month's punk, hardcore and post-punk mixtape just wasn't enough, so we're pleased to offer a free and exclusive download of another album track, the dreamy departure, "Main Stacks." Never Young's next San Francisco show is a week from Wednesday at The Depot, and the lineup is all great and current Bay Area punk bands: Happy Diving, Void Boys and The Down House (more info).

New & Loud: Yearbooks revives screamo, plays Gilman Sunday

No one ever said that sad music had to be quiet, or that hardcore had to be tough and aggressive, and, actually, there's music that exists that challenges both assumptions: Oakland's Yearbooks. Screamo is more than a term ruined by prolonged misuse; it's a strain of post-hardcore known for being particularly melodic, yet chaotic and expressive. The sub-genre was realized in the early '90s, and was pretty much on its way out by the time I knew about it. Some would argue that the movement was heavily conceived here in the Bay Area by bands like Indian Summer, Funeral Diner, [...]

By |April 25, 2014|Tags: |

Mogwai at the Regency: a spectacular performance

Friday night marked the return of Mogwai to the Regency Ballroom, which was actually the venue I saw them in for the first time, on a tour with Fuck Buttons in 2008. I must admit that on Friday, I felt that virginal "stoned at a concert" feeling all over again; the entire room was a surreal cloudy haze, and the stage's blinding lights contributed to the experience. The Scottish post-rock band is touring on their eighth record,

By |April 21, 2014|Tags: |

La Dispute at Slim’s: heady post-hardcore for a devoted crowd

Saturday night at Slim's was an all-ages show: La Dispute, Pianos Become the Teeth and Mansions, the kind of show which for someone like me (I grew up in a suburb of San Francisco with very trusting parents) creates an all-too-familiar scenario. There's a distinct "brand" of show that exists in this type of environment; bands that insist on it, actually. There has been much exploration within the in-betweens of punk, hardcore and ambient rock since the early '90s, but the early 2000s saw a somewhat forgotten movement of bands emerge in these crossover (often dubbed "post-") genres, such as [...]

By |March 31, 2014|Tags: |

The Shape of Punk to Come: an interview with Perfect Pussy

The Syracuse, New York punk band Perfect Pussy came out with their debut LP, Say Yes to Love, only yesterday, but it feels like it has been out much longer than that. I only say that, because in the last week they have done so many interviews that it's hard to believe they're doing everything else they're doing. I spoke to guitarist Ray McAndrew over the phone as the band was traversing Southern California on the way to their next show; we commiserated over our SXSW experiences this year, and agreed on Tweens being a highlight from what we had [...]

By |March 19, 2014|Tags: |
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