The Besnard Lakes to bring plenty of atmosphere to Bottom of the Hill

(photo: Brendan George Ko) The Besnard Lakes have song titles like “Towers Sent Her to Sheets of Sound,” and unabashedly boast a theatrical, prog-rock sound, making them endearing throwbacks to last decade, when indie rock briefly ruled the roost. While the aesthetic that propelled bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Architecture in Helsinki into the national consciousness won’t be a part of the cultural zeitgeist anytime soon, that hasn’t stopped The Besnard Lakes from doing yeoman’s work and pursuing their singular creative vision. Their latest album, A Coliseum Complex Museum, has the Canadian band doing what they do [...]

By |November 30, 2016|Tags: |

Review + Photos: Sleigh Bells at Mezzanine

Sleigh Bells (photo: Ian Young) When Sleigh Bells announced that they were cancelling their Tuesday night show at The Independent due to singer Alexis Krauss’ ongoing bout with laryngitis, the news was a double disappointment. First, fans were deprived of seeing a hugely popular act in a small, cozy club, which is always a treat. And secondly, Krauss’ health problems meant that she wouldn’t be at full strength to belt out the tunes from Sleigh Bells’ latest album, Jessica Rabbit, a record that showcased the lead singer’s vocals acrobatics in a manner unheard of before from the group. In hindsight, the [...]

By |November 18, 2016|Tags: |

For the fourth time in 2016, Car Seat Headrest to play SF

(photo: Jon Ching) Will Toledo and his musical vehicle (pun unintended) Car Seat Headrest will play in the city for the fourth time (!) this year when they take the stage at Great American Music Hall on Monday night. Buoyed by the strong reaction to their fabulous 2016 release, Teens of Denial, Toledo and company have steadily gathered followers, allowing them move up in venue size from The Independent and the Rickshaw Stop to the airier confines of GAMH (he also made an appearance at the Treasure Island Music Festival). The budding fame of Car Seat Headrest is completely warranted, [...]

By |November 11, 2016|Tags: |

Japandroids announce worldwide tour, stop at The Fillmore in March

In 2012, Japandroids — an uproarious, life-affirming guitar rock duo out of Vancouver — released the best album of that year, Celebration Rock, an endearing ode to late nights, close friends, and an unwavering belief in embracing the beautiful present. After touring for two solid years behind that release, the band suddenly disappeared. Nothing was heard from guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse, and rumors abounded that the duo — who have famously expressed their struggles with songwriting — were content to fade into retirement, leaving their project behind on an relentlessly satisfying high point. During the band’s extended [...]

By |November 9, 2016|Tags: |

The Antlers’ Peter Silberman to play solo show at Swedish American Hall

Peter Silberman just has one of those voices. A distinct, harrowing falsetto that conjures both dark corners of the past and bright feelings for the future. He’ll leave you conflicted, torn and beat up, but he will not leave you unmoved. As the lead singer and creative force behind The Antlers, his three-piece band out of Brooklyn, Silberman penned some emotionally heart-wrenching stuff, most notably the group’s 2009 release, Hospice, a concept album about a young woman dealing with a terminal illness and the impact that sickness has on her care worker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7t2I7ljnzo The Antlers have been pretty quiet since [...]

Fresh off its fourth anniversary, the future is bright for The Chapel

Chapel manager Fred Barnes. About a month ago, former Pavement guitarist Spiral Stairs (nee’ Scott Kannberg) came out of semi-seclusion from his home in Mexico to play to two sold-out shows at The Chapel. Working closely with the Mission District venue, Kannberg assembled an all-star cast of his friends to play, and the gigs featured he and Stephen Malkmus (and lovable stoner drummer Gary Young) playing Pavement songs live together for the first time since 2010. Footage from those shows made their way to national music blogs like Pitchfork and Stereogum, and further cemented The Chapel’s reputation as a delightfully [...]

By |November 3, 2016|Tags: |

The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle to visit SF as part of book tour

The terms 'brainy,' 'erudite,' and 'literary' get thrown around a lot when it comes to describing cerebral songwriters, but The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle is truly in a league of his own — a nerd above all other rock nerds. When he’s not writing concept albums for The Mountain Goats about old-school wrestling icons or esoteric religious texts, Darnielle is a budding novelist. His debut book, Wolf in a White Van, was released in 2014 to commendable critical reviews, and next February he’s set to produce his second novel, Universal Harvester. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii6kJaGiRaI According to the synopsis on Amazon, the books [...]

By |October 26, 2016|Tags: |

Blitzen Trapper looking back on impressive catalog with show at The Independent

In 2008, Portland freak-folk group Blitzen Trapper released Furr, a pastiche of psych, Americana, roots, and lo-fi tunes that garnered the band widespread critical acclaim. The highlight of that album, released on venerable indie label Sub Pop, was the title track, the best song ever written about turning into a werewolf (don’t even think about arguing with me, Warren Zevon fans.) Furr proved to the high water mark for the group, as the succeeding years saw indie rock tastes pivot more toward pop and R&B-inflected sounds, leaving bands like Blitzen Trapper on the margins. The group’s last release for Sub [...]

By |October 24, 2016|Tags: |

LVL UP to bring love of lo-fi indie tunes to Bottom of the Hill

(photo: Shawn Brackbill) For a group that so reverently appropriates early-'90s indie rock classics, one would think that LVL UP's unusual band name would be rooted in a similarly deep appreciation for that era’s video games. Unfortunately for old-school Nintendo geeks, that’s not the case — the four-piece New York band say their moniker is not some sort of shout-out to Mario Brothers or Duck Hunt. “I’m sad to say, but our band name has no good back story,” said Mike Caridi, guitarist/vocalist for LVL UP and one of the band’s three primary songwriters. “In fact, I don’t think any [...]

By |October 14, 2016|Tags: |

Gregg Turkington alter ego Neil Hamburger plays The Independent on Sunday

Not every comedian can be Kevin Hart. While some comedians revel in the standard tropes of stand-up comedy (observational jokes, punchline deliveries, et cetera), others just can’t abide the by the restrictions of traditional humor. Gregg Turkington certainly falls in the latter category. His onstage alter ego, Neil Hamburger, is a greasy, washed-up lounge act with a horrible combover and a two-dollar tuxedo. When he’s not berating his audience members, he’s delivering groaners of one-liners that assault the sensibilities. And it’s all pretty fucking hilarious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdLPFY4pzyw&spfreload=5 Delighting in turning comedic cliches on their head, the Neil Hamburger character is an [...]

By |October 13, 2016|Tags: |
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