Review + Photos: M83 brew ‘Junk’ stew in Oakland

M83 (Photo: by Daniel Kielman) Following his breakthrough sixth album, 2011’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, which reached No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and briefly made him a household name, M83’s Anthony Gonzalez could have made the safe move and created a similarly epic-sounding synth and guitar dreamscape. Or, he could have reverted to his shoegazing past, which first brought him to the national consciousness with the previous album, 2008’s Saturdays = Youth. Instead, he made a wholly sideways move into campy early ‘80s bubblegum pop with this month’s release, Junk, which bears little resemblance with any of Gonzalez’s previous [...]

By |April 18, 2016|Tags: |

The Saint Johns and Aubrie Sellers bring twang to SF

Something new is happening in country music and its official home base in Nashville. While the glitz remains, and girls, guns, and broken hearts still take up much of the airwaves, a new type of musician is behind the wheel of the pickup truck. This newcomer welcomes more musical influences, writes darker and truer, and isn’t afraid to go it alone. Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton are the current torchbearers, but they’re far from the only ones who will be making waves nationwide. Sturgill Simpson has been earning rave reviews, while Margo Price became the first country artist to sign [...]

Review: Carrie Underwood bids farewell to Idol in Oakland

Carrie Underwood has outlived American Idol. While the television show has produced a handful of success stories, none tower higher than the Season 4 winner, who has sold 65 million records and has earned 13 country No. 1 hits. Idol bowed out for a final time last week, and Underwood spent a few seconds on Sunday evening at Oracle Arena — a Bay Area stopover on her current Storytellers tour — memorializing the vehicle that shined a light on her talent and hosted her one final time during the finale. “I was surprised how emotional I got,” she said. “I [...]

By |April 11, 2016|Tags: |

Outside Lands 2016: Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Lionel Richie to headline

Nine years after Radiohead became the first music act to play at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park after dark at the first Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, the celebrated English band will return for the festival's ninth annual go-around. Electronic rock band LCD Soundsystem will headline a second night, while R&B crooner Lionel Richie was named as a surprising third headliner of the festival, which is presented by Another Planet Entertainment, Superfly and Starr Hill. The 2016 bill includes Duran Duran, J. Cole, Lana Del Rey, Ryan Adams, Oakland songstress Kehlani, Grimes, Vince Staples, and and a even a special performance [...]

Chairlift approach the fire with ‘Moth’

Brooklyn synthpop-cum-R&B duo Chairlift are barreling full steam ahead, firing on all cylinders. In the last three years, Caroline Polachek (vocals, synths, drum machines, arrangements) and Patrick Wimberly (drums, bass, keyboard, guitar, backing vocals) have simultaneously collaborated with several other musicians — most notably Beyoncé — worked on a solo record and written and recorded their third album, Moth, released in January. Perhaps it’s no surprise Moth features a Greek-mythology-inspired running song. This week, Chairlift played three shows in three days at Austin’s South by Southwest music festival. Today is their travel and rest day, followed by three more shows [...]

By |March 18, 2016|Tags: |

Bruce Springsteen reflects on ‘The River’ in Oakland

Bruce Springsteen (photo: Jon Bauer) Bruce Springsteen’s 20-song opus The River means many things to people, but The Boss himself gave two explanations for the meaning of his fifth album — originally released in 1980 and revisited in-full on his current trek — during a stop at the sold-out Oracle Arena Sunday night. The first explanation, which he talked about prior to tearing into opening track “The Ties That Bind,” came from the perspective of a young Springsteen. He talked about how he wanted the record to be big, like his band’s live shows, and to be about many things: [...]

By |March 14, 2016|Tags: |

Stranded in the rain with Grace Mitchell

Grace Mitchell (photo: Robert Alleyne) It’s 6:30pm on Sunday and Grace Mitchell is, through no fault of her own, late to her soundcheck at The Independent. Mitchell is in town for a couple of days, opening for St. Lucia, and has agreed to give The Bay Bridged behind-the-scenes insight into her preparation process and to talk about her music. The previous evening, she ran through another abbreviated routine at The Fillmore (because headliner St. Lucia had gone longer than usual), and later posed for us in the legendary theater’s poster room. Tonight is off to a rough start: It’s pouring rain and her [...]

By |March 11, 2016|Tags: |

A conversation with St. Lucia’s Jean-Philip Grobler

Jean-Philip Grobler has been playing in rock bands since he was 10 years old, though that may not be clearly evident considering he's best known as the mastermind of Brooklyn-based breezy dance pop band St. Lucia. Prior to moving to New York for a jingle-writing job (after schooling in Liverpool), the South Africa native went through a stretch of listening to nothing but guitar bands like Interpol. If you find any videos of his previous project, Kites, the influence is obvious. "I hadn’t found my artistic voice yet and was really intimidated by these other artists that I loved," Grobler said. [...]

By |March 3, 2016|Tags: |

Noise Pop Q&A: Success buys pink suits, new bed for Joywave

There are four things fans of Joywave should know in order to understand the motivations of the Rochester, N.Y. indie rock quintet. First is that Rochester is the home base of Eastman Kodak Company, whose employees numbered many thousands and essentially ruled the city before the company suffered what singer Daniel Armbruster refers to as an “economic Chernobyl” in the early aughts, and the city floundered. The parents of all of the band’s members — including guitarist Joseph Morinelli, bassist Sean Donnelly, keyboardist Benjamin Bailey and drummer Paul Brenner — all worked for Kodak at one time and another, so [...]

By |February 25, 2016|Tags: , |

The Thermals reappear to face ‘the end’ on new album

photo by Jason Quigley For Hutch Harris, the frontman of longstanding Portland indie rock trio The Thermals, it happened a little over a year ago. Standing onstage, looking into the curious crowd, he got stage fright. Harris and his band, one of the longest-running acts since Portland experienced a resurgence in independent music and arts, had stood in front of numerous crowds without fear. But this time, he was on a stage alone, with no guitar in his hands and nothing but his good humor to lean on — literally. Harris was performing stand-up comedy for the first [...]

By |February 18, 2016|Tags: |
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