Outside Lands is back for 2021…but is it too early?

Outside Lands is back for 2021 but is it too early? Our writer Ashley Bulayo has some thoughts about this year's Outside Lands, the first major Bay Area fest to return after live music's COVID-induced freeze. It was the music announcement heard all around the Bay Area: Outside Lands is back for 2021. It's bringing all its glory back to Golden Gate Park during Halloween weekend (October 29 - 31, 2021). Hey Bay Area, let's chat. I, along with so many of you, miss concerts just as much as the next person. I lived and breathed live events. [...]

By |March 30, 2021|Tags: |

Fast Times! goes ahead online with Lalin, Healing Potpourri

Forgive us, but the last time we told you anything about Fast Times! was eight months ago. Since then, Andrew St. James and crew have been chugging along, simply transposing their concert series — which kicked off in late 2019 at the Chapel — online. And while we haven't had the time or staff to be able to highlight all of Fast Times!' excellent events recently, I thought I'd shout this one out because this lineup boasts a number of our faves: Sandy's, Healing Potpourri, Lalin, and of course Andrew St. James. This is their 2nd installment in a monthly [...]

Kayatta Patton drops new video with the “Sweetest of Ease”

Ever since she picked up a trumpet in third grade, North Bay rapper/producer/poet Kayatta has been making a name for herself as a soulful and engaging performer. Born in West Oakland, Kayatta Patton found inspiration in musicians like A Tribe Called Quest and Ms. Lauryn Hill, influences that resonate on her debut album Beautiful and Messy, which dropped over the summer of 2020. And while obviously there are social and political themes woven throughout Kayatta's verses, her newest video "Sweetest of Ease," filmed and directed by Anthony Jimenez, is an introspective look at her own personal journey. Check it out [...]

By |March 26, 2021|Tags: |

Playlist: Our lost year, captured.

(Rexx Life Raj photo: Salihah Saadiq) It's been a year and a week since the Bay Area collectively dimmed the lights on our venues — not that you needed a reminder. And while we'll all be glad to retire words like "pandemic," "unprecedented," and "quarantine" from our vernacular later this year, "defund," "Karen," and "climate change" are likely here to stay. In a lot of ways, the past year has felt like a slow-motion collision of disparate moments shoved unceremoniously into a time capsule for future generations to gawk at in horror and awe. Isolation, grief, survival, wildfires, and yes, [...]

Katie Knipp goes back to ‘The Well’

(photos: Phil Kampel) Words by Carolyn McCoy By now, most of us have a serious case of the Lockdown Blues. But there is hope! Almost like a homeopathic dose of the blues to cure the blues, Katie Knipp’s latest release, The Well, is just the antidote for the overall hell we are experiencing right now. Last year at this time, Knipp was climbing the Billboard Blues charts, in which she shared honored space with other masters like Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. She was also flying high on a nod from the Grammy Association by almost acquiring a nomination [...]

By |March 18, 2021|Tags: |

Nick Vicario of Public Eye drops solo LP

Man, there's something comforting about self-titled LP from San Francisco punk outfit, Smirk. The solo project of Public Eye guitarist Nick Vicario, which dropped last week via Feel It Records in the US and Drunken Sailor Records in the UK, occupies the warm fuzzy nexus between '70s glam and '80s punk. But even with the analog production pushed to the front, Smirk strikes a particular kind of anachronism that's difficult to pull off. Anyone can throw on some sunglasses and slur words like Iggy Pop, but you got to have those hooks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFp9U32iVT0   Maybe these songs sound like the [...]

By |March 14, 2021|Tags: |

Save the Arlene Francis Center with us.

Even if you're not from the North Bay, you've seen their name around here many times — the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa is a mainstay of Sonoma County's music community, and has been since the '90s. Like many, many, many other venues, the pandemic has hit them in the pocketbook pretty damn hard. So they're doing what we all do best right now: Hosting a livestream-slash-fundraiser. Actually, this one is pre-recorded -- but it's debuting online tonight. Catch sets from Slugger, Down Dirty Shake, and Heidi Benjamin, emceed by our own Derek Nielsen. How can you help? [...]

How the Bay Area can do better for Black musicians

Author Adam Hudson plays an open mic in Benicia. Words by Adam Hudson While the San Francisco Bay Area prides itself on liberal multiculturalism and progressive politics, racism and segregation in the region are more real than people like to admit. And you can see that even in the music community.    For seven years, I played in an all-nonwhite alternative rock band called Sunata; two of us were African-American (myself, the drummer, and the bassist) and one was Indo-Fijian (guitarist/vocalist). We stuck out in the Bay Area rock scene. Even though rock music originated in the Black community, rock music [...]

By |February 18, 2021|Tags: |

Ann James Jr releases new single, “The Rain”

On February 1, San Francisco's Ann James Jr released a lyrical new single, "The Rain." Urgent and raw in composition and instrumentation, the music grounds a lyrically charged and melancholic story shared by singer-songwriter Kevin Waylonis. In "The Rain" there are no gimmicks or affectations, just a poignant existential narrative accompanied by a charismatic vocal performance. https://open.spotify.com/track/7N0QeW21qZ1REozV6SPQHr With musical interludes serving almost as scene changes in a play, the music cools into a patient indie-pulse to feature breathtaking lines like "and times, you hardly look me in the eyes / that's alright / I'm afraid to know what you'd find [...]

By |February 16, 2021|

Elliott Ok’s first single “Snap! (The End)”

On February 5, Santa Cruz's Elliott Ok released his first single "Snap! (The End)." With an arresting vocal performance, catchy melodies, and lush production, this song's a compelling announcement of Elliot Ok's emergence as a singer-songwriter in the Bay Area Americana and indie music scene. "Snap! (The End)" certainly does not reflect the startling fact that this is his first recording — at least one shared with the public. It evinces a real sense of craft that would typically be found in a well-seasoned songwriter. Yet, having served as a multi-instrumentalist in many prominent Bay Area acts throughout the years, [...]

By |February 16, 2021|Tags: |
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