Review + Photos: Ride at the Regency Ballroom

Ride (photo: Patric Carver) Ride came back to San Francisco to play a packed show at the Regency Ballroom. Opening act Spirit of the Beehive had a bright and beautiful sound that, much like the film they're named for, contained some darker substance upon examination. All of their songs sounded pretty, but there was an overall feeling of longing ever-present in the hum-like vocals and straining guitars. They were a great warm-up act for the dream-pop rockers Ride. Ride has a lot of things going for them, but stamina is definitely what first comes to mind when I think of them. You don't [...]

By |October 17, 2019|Tags: |

Review + Photos: Bad Bad Hats bring bubblegum folk to The New Parish

Bad Bad Hats (photo: Patric Carver) “Hello, I usually do not speak until after the second song, so let’s pretend this did not happen.” That’s how lead vocalist and guitarist Kerry Alexander kicked off Bad Bad Hats’ set at The New Parish, pretty much locking in the awkward charm that knit together the evening.  Alexander’s needling guitar dances along, producing a kind of sweet, homespun version of shredding. If someone like J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. is slicing his audience in half with his guitar, Alexander is creating intricate paper dolls representing the togetherness of the crowd with hers. Her [...]

By |October 11, 2019|Tags: |

Review + Photos: Bitter Lake at Rickshaw Stop

Bitter Lake (photo: Terry Gatechair) I first saw Jason Myles on stage as part of the duo La Fin Absolute Du Monde, a heavy industrial unit that melted the faces of PRF barbecue attendees a few years back. Myles and former bandmate Cynthia Dawn destroyed the boundary that sits between noise and sound; La Fin was imposing, edge-pushing, and terribly exciting. They burned hot, so I wasn't exactly surprised when they went up in flames. I was, however, disappointed. Enter Myles' latest project Bitter Lake. Bitter takes off where La Fin left off, filling the space with jagged and well-placed noise. [...]

By |September 30, 2019|

Redd Kross and the Melvins at Cornerstone Brewing

The Melvins (photo: Karen Goldman) A few years ago, I came to really understand what living in the Bay Area was all about when I was invited to a group colonic. You didn't read that incorrectly. Group. Colonic. As tempting as it was, I declined the invitation. However, thanks to the solid sludge of The Melvins, I think I have some idea now what it is like to be part of a collective experience of mutual bowel purification. Every vibration came attached with a snarl, swimming through a sticky mess of low-end. Evoking the smart bass lines of bands like Big [...]

By |September 13, 2019|Tags: , |

Black Belt Eagle Scout brings her ghostly jangle to SF

Two years ago, Katherine Paul's debut album as Black Belt Eagle Scout, Mother of my Children, was released. Haunting and simple, the constructs of the songs were designed to cling to the mind. The word "catchy" is too cheap to attach to Paul's songcraft, but there's no doubting that her ghostly jangle worms its way into the internal background soundtrack of the listener long after the record has stopped. So, when I learned Paul was releasing another record so soon after Mother, I was had high hopes. I was not disappointed. At the Party with My Brown Friends is an [...]

Bloc Party go ‘Silent’ in SF this November

(photo: Estefany Gonzalez) Starting on September 16, Bloc Party has been playing a very limited tour of the US, playing their debut album Silent Alarm in its entirety. San Francisco the final of six lucky stops on this tour. Vocalist Kele Okereke and guitarist Russell Lissack are the only band members who were there for Silent Alarm's original release. They'll be joined by bassist Justin Harris and drummer Louise Bartle. It will be interesting to see how a Gordon-Moakes-less configuration handles Silent Alarm, as his bass and hypnotic synthesizers helped greatly contributed to the fever-dream pace for which the record [...]

By |September 6, 2019|Tags: |

Beehive swarm up + down the West Coast to SF, Oakland

Though the duo Beehive formed recently in early 2019, band members Jake Sprecher (formerly of Terry Malts) and bassist Bud Amenti (also of Shutups), having been playing Bay Area venues for years. Their new incarnation embodies the sound of an awkward date night at the Stork Club, and I mean that in the most complimentary way. Gritty but still full of hope and expectation, the seductive simplicity will have you hoping Beehive will ask you to come up for the proverbial nightcap up until the very end. The repetitive nature of the music is hypnotic. If meditation was more Marlboros and PBR [...]

By |September 4, 2019|Tags: |

Review + Photos: OMD at the Mountain Winery

OMD (photo: Patric Carver) "The moral of our set is don't be afraid of middle-aged men from Liverpool. We've come to kick your ass with synthesizers." That's how bassist and vocalist Andy McCluskey kicked off OMD's set at Mountain Winery last Monday, setting a pretty high expectation for themselves. They launched into one of the more powerful songs from their set, "Enola Gay." The manic energy of this song mixed with McCluskey's bewitching crooning makes for a mood-altering experience. Methamphetamine-like in its ability to make hearts race, "Enola" is one of my favorites, and they bore through the song with a relentless [...]

By |August 19, 2019|Tags: |

James and the Psychedelic Furs at Stern Grove

The Psychedelic Furs (photo: Patric Carver) How do you mend a broken heart? That question seemed to be on the minds of many of the at-capacity crowd that filled Stern Grove last weekend for the eighth concert the summer in the Stern Grove Festival concert series. As concert-goers settled into their picnic tables, beach towels, and blankets, sorrowful statements about the mass shootings this past weekend punctuated serene atmosphere. "Can you believe there was another one?" "It makes you kind of think twice before coming to something like this." Though the mostly Caucasian crowd did not share the demographics of [...]

Sleepbomb sountrack classic, sometimes campy films at the New Parkway

About a week ago, I was at the New Parkway to see a movie, and I noticed an unsettling hum coming from the other theater. Was that the tritone? The supposed 'Devil's Chord?' It very well may have been, because on the other side of that theater wall was Sleepbomb, preparing for a show. Sleepbomb has been together for nearly 15 years, but they took a hiatus in 2013. The band's early work was mostly improvisational, soundscape stuff in nature. However, they'd always liked to incorporate visuals into their work. After reforming, they decided to start composing scores for films, [...]

By |July 31, 2019|Tags: |
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