Noise Pop: Diet Cig at Brick + Mortar Music Hall

Diet Cig (photo: Bailey Greenwood) The words "infectious" and "bubbly" get thrown around a lot to describe musicians, particularly of the female variety. While at initial glance, these would seem praiseworthy phrases, they’re often coded expressions for vacuous or inane behaviors, and they’re usually deployed by grumpy music writers (often of the male variety) who are skeptical of anything they view as outwardly earnest or emotionally un-ironic. So, let me be very clear: you’d have to be one grumpy dude not to revel in the infectious, bubbly energy of Diet Cig singer/guitarist Alex Luciano. Luciano is a five-foot ball of [...]

By |February 25, 2017|Tags: |

Surfer Blood, playing first shows without Thomas Fekete, coming to The Chapel next week

Surfer Blood. Thomas Fekete at left. Obviously, Donald Trump’s horrifying ascendancy to the presidency will be the singular, terrifying takeaway for 2016, but the year will also be remembered for the sheer loss of artistic visionaries. David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen — the list of legendary musicians who passed away in 2016 is impossible to fathom. Each day brought a new bit of unwelcome news until the year mercifully came to a close. Yet, of all the deaths that from last year, none affected me in a more personal way than the passing of Thomas Fekete, the young guitarist for [...]

By |February 1, 2017|Tags: |

Radiohead announce two dates at The Greek Theater in April

By most objective measures, Radiohead is the biggest band in the world and has been for quite some time. In so many ways, that’s baffling. The band has essentially one song that gets regular play on the radio (“Creep,” which is a great track — it is — but completely unrepresentative of the group now), and for the past 15 years, Thom Yorke and company have almost wholly dedicated themselves to making tetchy, avant-garde tunes that challenge their listeners in a way that Red Hot Chili Peppers or Foo Fighters could never dream of. They’re an arena rock band with [...]

By |January 20, 2017|Tags: |

Hamilton Leithauser brings something old, something new to The Indy next week

(photo: Josh Goleman) Throughout his perennially-underrated musical career — first as the lead singer of The Recoys, then as the frontman for beloved indie rockers The Walkmen, and now as a solo artist — Hamilton Leithauser has imbued his songs with a bounty of colorful characters. There are misanthropic urbanites (“The Rat,” “We’ve Been Had”), rueful romanticists (“We Can’t Be Beat”), and bitter, disenchanted lovers (“In The New Year.”) Yet he’s never sung about someone as vivid and fully-formed as the titular character of “The Bride’s Dad,” one of the closing tracks on I Had a Dream That You Were [...]

By |January 13, 2017|Tags: |

Bill Callahan plots mini-tour through Northern California

Maybe it’s the oblique, esoteric nature of his lyrics, his endless references to the natural world, or his enduring commitment to sparse, lo-fi recording equipment, but there is definitely something about Bill Callahan that gives him a shamanistic aura. When the singer-songwriter performs — either under his own name, or his alter ego, Smog — his austere, blanketed ballads feel like some kind of mystical truth serum for the audience. He can transport you to a heavily-wooded forest, far from any sort of civilization, the minute he strums his guitar and bares his unhurried, tranquil voice. In short, he’s a peyote experience, [...]

By |January 12, 2017|Tags: |

Michael Ian Black and cohorts return to SF Sketchfest for another rendition of Stella

Michael Ian Black Every year, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and David Wain — the pioneering comics behind the sketch ensemble Stella — make a promise that they’ll prepare diligently for their annual performance at SF Sketchfest. Every year, those plans go to waste. “The truth is, we always say that we can’t just go up there and wing it, because that’s unprofessional,” said Black. “But then every year, we always just go out and wing it.” No one ever seems to protest the lack of planning for the Stella performances, and that’s because Black, Showalter, and Wain are masters [...]

By |January 5, 2017|Tags: , |

Unknown Mortal Orchestra playing two nights at The Independent, including NYE show

The first time I saw Unknown Mortal Orchestra was in 2011, when the New Zealand-via-Portland group opened up for (then) buzz-band Yuck at The Independent. As soon as UMO took the stage, the lights went completely dark — you could barely see in front of your face, let alone catch a glimpse of the performing act. It was a disconcerting experience — I kept bumping into people, and almost felt seasick at one point. (Funny aside — earlier this year, I interviewed Julien Ehrlich of Whitney, the former drummer for UMO. He told me that current bandmate Max Kakacek attended [...]

Best of 2016: Will Reisman’s favorite musical moments

Growing up in Maine, without any hip older brother to speak of, my exposure to cool music was about as limited as one could imagine. I listened to the radio while driving around with my friends, and as a result, I grew up paying fealty to the classic rock establishment of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and any other hoary old screamer or crooner who got air time on 101.7. It was only after I got to college and discovered the likes of Pavement, Joy Division, and Elliot Smith that I pushed back on the old establishment. Listening [...]

By |December 23, 2016|Tags: , |

Meatbodies Peforming at The Chapel on Tuesday

With skonky, psychedelic garage bands (Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees) fleeing San Francisco in droves (wipes tear from eye), this city should always welcome visiting bands like Meatbodies with open arms. Artistic compadres of Segall and Mikal Cronin (another dearly-departed San Franciscan), Meatbodies write fast, uncomplicated garage rock songs that feature plenty of vocal whelps, pulsating bass lines, and over-the-top cymbal crashes. In short, they kick ass. On Tuesday, they’ll set up shop at The Chapel for what will surely be a memorable gig. These guys are dynamite performers, adhering to the Segall-approved live formula of verse, chorus, MOTHERFUCKING [...]

By |December 16, 2016|Tags: |

Former local band, Low Red Land, reuniting for Treefort Music Festival

Earlier  this month, fans of San Francisco’s local music scene were treated to a surprising bit of welcome news: Low Red Land, a rock trio that made this city home for years, will be reuniting for a performance at the Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho. The group — which combined elements of aggressive hardcore, bucolic alt-country, dreamy shoegaze, and classic rock sounds to form a unique and disparate sonic template — had been dormant since playing a triumphant farewell show on July 4, 2011 at El Rio. Vocalist and guitarist Neil Thompson moved back to the East Coast, leaving [...]

By |December 15, 2016|Tags: |
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