Coming to the Bay: The classic pop of TOPS

Chasing a “timeless” sound is a self-defeating pursuit. Emulating the styles that have always been relevant only dates you upon arrival; meanwhile seeking what is untethered to history risks turning novel to novelty. You can’t set out to write “timeless” songs, but many bands try — whether by removing all distinctive qualities to their music until an un-anchored shell remains, or by distilling every era into an undefined-mush to conjure up all decades of popular music at once. Given the fruitlessness of this endeavor, it is amazing that any bands succeed in writing something refreshingly authentic but evocatively universal; wholly [...]

By |November 3, 2015|Tags: |

Giveaway: Hundred Waters close out summer NightLife series

NightLife, the live music series that takes place every Thursday night at the California Academy of Sciences, is going out with a grand whisper this Thursday to conclude its summer season. Hundred Waters is a band nearly impossible to place within a genre (“electro”, “ambient”, “folk”, “post-rock”, and “dance” have all been used to describe them in various capacities), but they are grounded in songwriting that shines while never quite boiling past a beautiful simmer. Lead singer Nicole Miglis’ voice is both simultaneously warm and distant, an evocative combination that made the group’s latest release, 2014’s The Moon Rang Like [...]

By |October 13, 2015|Tags: , |

Pro Fans bring TOPS, Dinner, and Kid Trails to Brick & Mortar this month

  Formed from the wreckage of the Montreal synth pop group Silly Kissers, TOPS quickly made a name for themselves around the Canadian fringe pop scene. They attached their band to the same label, Arbutus, responsible for artists like Grimes, Braids, and Majical Cloudz (who coincidentally formed around the same time). The band, fronted by the self-admittedly shy Jane Penny, crafts tender tracks lifted by Penny's soft melody. It feels different from typical radio-bait, but that may be due to its reticent delivery: where pop music today embraces volume and brash statements, TOPS is more calculated—evidenced by their new 7", Change of Heart/Sleeptalker. Dinner, [...]

By |February 13, 2015|Tags: , , |

Live This Month: February 2015 — an audio guide to upcoming SF concerts Download: Live This Month: February 2015 (Podcast #356) In Live This Month, we sample some of the great local and out-of-town bands performing in the coming month in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two Gallants handily win the award for the hardest-working band in the Bay Area this month. With a new album, We Are Undone, garnering great reviews, the local duo kicks off a ton of touring in North America and Europe over the next four months with three nights of back-to-back local shows. Two Gallants aren't the only locals with a new record, though. This month's podcast [...]

Review & Photos: King Krule & TOPS @ The Independent, 12/17/13

King Krule (Photo: Gary Magill) This past June, when Mount Kimbie performed at The Independent, I'm pretty sure everyone was thinking the same thing I was: "How awesome would it be if King Krule came out to sing vocals on 'You Took Your Time'?" Well, that didn't happen, but the next best thing was for King Krule to come treat us with two back-to-back nights of his own material at the very same venue. Clearly I wasn't the only soul anticipating a local appearance from the elusive UK artist, as he sold out both of this week's shows [...]

By |December 18, 2013|Tags: , |

Mixtape: Fourteen Songs about Love for Valentine's Day (Podcast #300)

Mixtape: Fourteen Songs about Love for Valentine's Day (Podcast #300) In case you've managed to avoid this news until now, February 14th is Valentine's Day, the greeting card industry holiday that can compel even the least romantic to confront the topic of love. Over the past few years, plenty of our favorite indie rockers have explored the excitement and complications of love in terrific songs. Here, we've collected fourteen tracks about love's many facets, including the swooning romanticism of Real Estate, Cass McCombs, and Bare Wires. Affairs of the heart don't always end well, however, and the mix also offers [...]

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