China set to release ‘And Then Nothing Happened’

China, who I can only assume is everyone's favorite Bay Area folk-rock band, is back with their vinyl debut on Royal Oakie Records, And Then Nothing Happened. Lead singer Michael James Tapscott sings sad songs with the best of 'em, and his talented bandmates, (who are all stellar musicians in their own right), always seem to find just the right harmony, rhythm, or whine from a pedal steel. Like previous China records, this album isn't background music for a lonely drive or something, it's a collection of songs suitable for staring at a wall, listening intently, and thinking long and [...]

By |February 15, 2019|Tags: |

Desiree Cannon releases ‘Beach Sleeper’

Oakland's Desiree Cannon has just released her debut LP Beach Sleeper on Long Road Society, a fairly new (and by early indications, wonderful) label, also based in Oakland. Mixing elements of country, folk, and love songs from the '60s, Cannon's wise-sounding alto shines on every song. Beach Sleeper was produced by Cannon and Nate Mahan of Shannon and the Clams, and recorded to 1/2" tape by Long Road Society's Kit Center in an old Oakland living room. The instrumentation walks a narrow line that conveys an intimate, bedroom recording feel while managing to sound quite professional. Give it a listen, [...]

By |October 17, 2018|Tags: |

Gilberto Rodriguez y Los Intocables released a soundtrack for the Mission

(photo: Fernando Rodriguez Photography) Gilberto Rodriguez y Los Intocables is a side project led by Almas Fronterizas vocalist Gilberto Rodriguez. When a few members of Almas couldn't make it to a recording session for the project, Rodriguez brought in a bunch of musicians from the Mission to record, and their creation feels like it was made for the San Francisco neighborhood. Sabor Maracuyá Desnuda is first and foremost defined by the pulsing rhythm at the heart of every track. Rodriguez sings plenty, but he also chants, shouts, and becomes as crucial to the rhythms as the percussion. Fittingly, the album [...]

Pat Thomas ain’t buyin’ it — tonight at Amnesia

Photo: Michael Bordelon San Francisco's Pat Thomas is best known around town for his work in Cool Ghouls, the joyful throwback rock and roll quartet who has been cranking out great albums for a few years now. Thomas already has a solo EP under his belt, and he recently announced his debut full-length, I Ain't Buyin' It, available for preorder via Empty Cellar. You can stream the debut track from the album, "The Money Guys," and despite the laid-back soul and jazz-influenced horns, you can tell Pat ain't cool with the way things are today. Give it a listen below [...]

By |September 7, 2018|Tags: |

Landline is today’s hottest long-distance collaboration

Landline, the duo of Oakland's Matt Ferrara (Toyota) and LA's Zoe Zag (Shirley Mistaken), just released their debut full length on Discontinuous Innovation. The two met in Chico in 2011, had a brief falling out, but reconnected in 2017 and started making an album over the internet, coordinated over late-night phone calls. Unlike more famous long-distance collaborations, this isn't some sort of sappy sentimental project; these songs evoke an air of a couple that kinds of hates each other but they know they've got too much chemistry to quit making music together. Landline's self-described genre of "New Wave Punk Rock" [...]

By |July 30, 2018|Tags: |

Tarnation’s ‘What Is and Was’ is a year old. Now’s a good time to listen.

All too often in this age of music journalism centering on the newest and hottest, gems sometimes slip through the cracks and unfortunately miss that magic window of coverage when it's "new." Paula Frazer and Tarnation's What is and Was turned a year old last month, and it's a gem I don't want to let slip through the cracks any longer. I'm not entirely sure why we missed it when it was "new," but luckily our coverage of Jacob Aranda's debut led me back to it. Throughout What Is and Was, Tarnation sets up a world where Paula Frazer's soaring [...]

Bill Baird releases ANOTHER album

Oakland's Bill Baird released Nightly Never Ending last week, and by my count, it's his SEVENTH album since 2016. Bill, quite simply, has an ear for mellow pop music, and Nightly Never Ending delivers all the sweet harmonies and melodies appropriate for activities such as laying in the grass or skipping. The album's available on vinyl via Super Deluxe and all the streaming places you could want. Listen below and check out his video for "Happiness is Forgetting" starring a PC from the '90s.

By |June 26, 2018|Tags: |

Hickey Fest is this weekend!

If you don't yet have weekend plans, I suggest you head north to Hickey Fest, one of the coolest little festivals around. Curated by former Oaklander Ash Reiter (Sugar Candy Mountain), it's jam-packed with Bay Area talent, including Bill Baird, Cool Ghouls, Curls, Meernaa, and TONS more. There's camping, swimming in the river, Showga, Mad Alchemy Light Show, and I'm sure a whole lot of fun. Despite being around for several years and having a loyal following, tickets are still a steal — less than $150 gets you three days of music and a campsite. If you still need convincing, [...]

By |June 12, 2018|

Cougar on a Meth Binge preps dreamy show

Oakland's Cougar on a Meth Binge has never sounded like their name might lead you to believe, and now they're hoping to lead you about as far from their name as possible. Tomorrow night, they'll be hosting "Dream Lovers: an immersive musical experience inspired by dreams" at the Savvy Rest mattress store in Berkeley. COAMB will be debuting material from their forthcoming EP The Dreamy Pea, which was arranged and recorded in the same store and incorporates cassette recordings from lead singer Lauren Alegre's dream diaries. For now, you can stream a couple tracks from the album below. [...]

Jacob Aranda releases ‘Great Highway,’ plays Lost Church tomorrow night

(photo: Collin McClain) Earlier this year, Jacob Aranda released his debut album Great Highway. Aranda, whom you may recognize from his guitar and pedal steel work in China and Paula Frazer and Tarnation, created a lovely album of folk songs centered around a tough period in his life. In 2015, Aranda was newly divorced, unemployed, and became homeless, sleeping on friends' couches and in his old truck. As if that wasn't enough, he was working on his truck when his legs were crushed in what he calls a "freak accident." At the time of his accident, Aranda and his band [...]

By |May 31, 2018|Tags: |
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