Noise Pop: Rediscovering Dawes at The Fillmore

Dawes (photo: Brittany O'Brien) A ubiquitous facet of music radio is "live sessions" — those intimate mini-performances that artists do for stations that get uploaded straight to YouTube to add to the limitless mass of promo materials that is a band's online presence. When I was first becoming interested in band culture, those clips — think KEXP or BBC Live Lounge — were cherished because they provided another perspective in which to foster burgeoning obsessions after I had already exhausted all available studio albums, concert videos, and loosely scattered unreleased tracks. I saw them as brief windows into an artist's impression [...]

By |February 23, 2017|Tags: |

Review + Photos: Angel Olsen’s immaculate performance at The Fillmore

Angel Olsen (photo: Patric Carver) Like any contemporary magnum opus, Angel Olsen’s My Woman feels both inextricably defined by its immediate context and yet wholly timeless. The singer-songwriter’s third studio LP alludes to a number of bygone eras — most prominently that of 1960s country pop and the following decade's folk-rock giants such as Fleetwood Mac — yet still maintains a sonic architecture that is rooted in modern designs. And as all artists who have just released a magnum opus tend to do, she drew predominantly from the album for her set at The Fillmore this past Wednesday evening, one of [...]

By |February 20, 2017|Tags: |

Review + Photos: Tove Lo at The Fox Theater made me want to make bad decisions

Tove Lo (photo: Estefany Gonzalez) “Some people say I came out of nowhere,” Tove Nilsson sighed, taking a moment to pause before the onset of the second half of her performance at The Fox Theater this past Wednesday evening. “But there was a long time where the only one believing in me was me.” Of course, the Swedish pop-mogul now goes by the stage name Tove Lo since securing, over the previous few years, a notable career both as a songwriter in the hit-singles machine and as a bona-fide front-and-center star herself. Beyond the smash-hits she’s penned for the likes of [...]

By |February 13, 2017|Tags: |

A conflict guide For Noise Pop’s massive 2017 lineup

OK Noise Pop, we see you. The Bay Area’s premier indie music festival went off this year, their 25th Anniversary, releasing a seemingly endless number of lineup announcements, all packed to the brim with the most sparkling talents to release music in the last year, or that will this year. But despite continuing to expand their assortment, the organizers still have to fit all their offerings into an a certain number of days — which inevitably means conflicts, the bane of every festival-goer's existence. Because the quality is so uniformly high this year, this might be the single most gut-wrenching [...]

By |February 6, 2017|Tags: |

Out of mind and losing sight at Lydia Loveless

"Let's have a horrible fucking time tonight!" Lydia Loveless’ first words to the audience during her Saturday night show at The Independent captured well my feelings up to that moment, with the weight of both world and personal events hanging heavy over my perspective. As a way to greet her audience, the gesture nodded towards an awareness of the incoherent juxtaposition of attending a rock concert on a night when human rights were being set aflame. But the knowing intonation didn’t serve much as an answer to the questions that bogged me down all evening, most significantly why I was [...]

By |January 31, 2017|Tags: |

The captivating Lydia Loveless will play The Independent this month

My first introduction to Columbus, OH singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless was "Clumps," the hypnotic, unadorned penultimate track off Real, her most recent and finest studio album to date. Struck by the slight quiver in her soaring melancholy and the depth of lyrics like “All at once you say it was fun / But it must not be real because now you're done / And so what if that's all it was / Love turns into lust, and milk turns into clumps,” Loveless swiftly went from an unknown to an obsession. I distinctly remember watching for the first time the song’s black-and-white, [...]

By |January 18, 2017|Tags: |

Imerald Brown set to further Berkeley’s ascent as a hip-hop capital on new album

The East Bay has proven itself in recent years as the modern mecca of Bay Area hip-hop, stealing the crown from Vallejo through the come-ups of Kamaiyah, Rexx Life Raj, Caleborate, and Elujay (all of whom were inducted into our inaugural Rap Hall Of Fame last month). What is even more remarkable is just how unique each of those artists’ styles is, displaying the wide diversity of talent incubating in Oakland and Berkeley, further proof of which comes from the latter city’s latest rising star Imerald Brown. She’s come a long way as an MC since her early years spitting [...]

By |January 17, 2017|Tags: |

Best of 2016: Pranav Trewn’s Bay Area Rap Hall of Fame

You’ll probably hear that 2016 hip-hop belonged to Atlanta. This is the year the region’s most prominent ambassadors cemented their status as national icons. Young Thug released three increasingly excellent commercial mixtapes that culminated with his greatest work yet, this summer’s JEFFERY, which nabbed him a handful of radio staples with “Digits” and the Travis Scott-assisted “Pick Up The Phone” along the way. Meanwhile, Future became a verifiable festival-topper, Drake tour mate, and bona fide rock star, landing his very own Rolling Stone cover over the summer. 2016 also saw the breakthroughs of sure-to-be career artists in 21 Savage and [...]

Sorority Noise raised heavy hearts at Swedish American Hall

“Maybe I'm not the person that I never wanted to be,” Cameron Boucher affirms as the music quells momentarily beneath him, before roaring back scuzzy, peppy, and potent. The lyric is my personal selection for the emotional climax on Sorority Noise’s sophomore studio LP, Joy, Departed, but it’s only one of an abundance of choice quotables from the album that succinctly depict the perspective of those with a mental illness. Boucher himself struggles with bipolar disorder, and across the project’s 10 tracks he offers a detailed reflection of the emotional terrain of his psyche, both the pitfalls and the redemptions. [...]

Blink-182 close out Night 1 of Live 105’s Not So Silent Night

blink-182 (photo: SarahJayn Kemp) The Blink-182 Greatest Hits CD was the first album I ever purchased on my own. I downloaded the LP from the iTunes Store after my sister took me to their massive reunion tour in 2009. It was my first concert — a lengthy four-band amphitheater affair filled with soaring mall-pop harmonies and plenty of dick jokes — and in the days following I held onto the memory of it feverishly. I spent this time learning as much of Blink’s catalog on guitar as I could, and then later ripped my public library’s copies of the band’s most [...]

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