San Francisco

Q&A: Vela Eyes on passing out in the studio, taping merch to the car hood, and becoming 'a real band'

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Vela Eyes is a relatively new indie-pop act right out of San Francisco that combines a huge, spaciously synthesized sound with the personality and camaraderie one can only find in decades-old friends. It’s a perfect fusion of the rawness of punk influences with the technical proficiency and sampling-song mapping of a DJ set.

The group has been playing packed shows throughout the Bay since its inception mere months ago, most recently an album release party for its first EP, The Pleasure Sunrise, last week at the Elbo Room. Get to know Vela Eyes before the band's next local gig (you’ve got ‘till July 26): Read more »

John Dwyer's Thee Fuzz Warr Overload pedal

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You can file this under: sure, why not? Spirited Thee Oh Sees frontperson John Dwyer has “inspired” a new custom pedal for Death By Audio, called Thee Fuzz Warr Overload.

The pedal is limited to 500, and so says Death by Audio, once they’re gone, they’re gone. The Brooklyn-based effects pedal company also put out a signature Ty Segall pedal (Sunshine Reverb) which sold out in a day. Read more »

Behind the scenes with Magic Fight and the Music Video Race

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All photos by Chris Stevens

By now you’ve read all about the second annual Music Video Race. No? Well get on that. And then check out these additional photos, all shot on location at the SUB-Mission space by Chris Stevens. Read more »

Before Outside Lands: death and train-tripping with Wavves

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As we collectively await Outside Lands 2013 (August 9-11, Golden Gate Park) and attempt to enjoy summer -- the sun’s actually here, in the city! -- I decided to get productive. This year’s lineup for the festival is again a juxtaposition of big names like Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Vampire Weekend and kick-ass local artists like the Easy Leaves and Midi Matilda. Oh yeah, and there are, of course, tons more acts in between, which you can check out here.

Wanting to check in on bands during the pre-festival festivities, I’m kicking off this series with a quick and dirty email interview with San Diego-based garage rock group, Wavves. Given the indie band's track record with journalists, it seems I was pretty lucky to have received a reply. Frontperson Nathan Williams talks practical jokes and dying while bassist Stephen Pope recounts a horrific mushrooms experience (never trip on a train) and explains why he doesn't mess with people. Read more »

Parents just don't understand in new Warm Soda video

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See video

Jeanie loves pop music, and she just wants to dance with her friends. Her angry parents and religious figures just don't understand. Watch Jeanie rebel in the suburbs in the new music video from former Bay Guardian "On the Rise" group, Warm Soda: "Jeanie Loves Pop," filmed by sometimes-Guardian photographer, Chris Stevens.  Read more »

Heads Up: 8 must-see concerts this week

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When does cute become cloying? Because this newly viral video of a baby playing along to the Beatles with his dad is seriously tickling me pink -- it's pretty damn adorable -- but after watching it a dozen or so times, it’s left me longing for something noisy and gross, just to wash off the darlingness of it all.

And the best shows this week are something of demonstrative polar opposites as well. There’s sugary Australian pop act Lenka, and fellow Aussie post-punks Total Control, then global dream popsters Trails and Ways, and metal battlecruiser Slough Feg, Americana punks Parquet Courts, and the Sunset Island fest, known as the "electronic music picnic." They are all in the mix.

Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end: Read more »

Live Shots: Chvrches at Mezzanine

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The night started with shrieks. Well, back up. It actually started sedate. Opener Still Corners had cancelled at the last minute, due to visa issues*,” so we knew it would be a bit of a wait before headliner Chvrches came to the stage at Mezzanine. In the meantime, we stood around commenting how nice it was that there was no one under 21.

The show had originally been scheduled at the Rickshaw Stop, but when it sold out quickly, it was moved to Mezzanine, and anyone under drinking age was issued a refund. This meant there wasn’t the early crush of teenagers permanently camped out at the front of the stage.** I know, I know, it’s not nice to gloat over someone else’s exclusion. Maybe I forget about being that age and not understanding how I wouldn’t get to see my newest musical obsession live, just because the venue was 21+. I remember now, though, because twenty minutes before start time the other side of the spectrum arrived: the banshees.*** Read more »

Treasure Island 2013 lineup is out! Animal Collective, James Blake, Little Dragon, Tricky, Cayucas, and...

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Hey look, it’s Animal Collective! Oh, and James Blake, Little Dragon, Tricky, Cayucas, Phantogram, Beck, and Deep Siver Diver, along with locals Antwon and Giraffage. Treasure Island 2013 (Oct. 19-20) is shaping up to be a pretty great festival season closer, heavy on the electronic.

Tickets are on sale this Fri/31 at 10am. Treasure Island Festival lays it all out here:

General admission tickets: Read more »

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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Bjork is coming! She’ll bring Biophilia’s ambitiously in-the-round and touch screen app-filled show to Richmond, Calif. this week. Plus, the educational component of that tour will make its way to the Exploratorium via a handful of science and sound experiments.

The sparkly avant-pop star is the major music news this week in the Bay, however there also is the annual (and reliably well-curated) SF Popfest, plus a bunch of other shows you should be checking out as well, like Japanese doom masters Boris, Swedish indie popsters the Shout Out Louds, the gritty B-side soul goodness of the Detroit Cobras, and local rock'n'roller Mikal Cronin -- high on the release of a celebrated new solo album, MCII. Read more »

Yo La Tengo plays the hits at the Fillmore, covers Black Flag

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The last time I saw Yo La Tengo, on its fabulously gimmicky Spinning Wheel tour, the trio delivered an abrasive, garage-y opening set under an alter-ego, Dump, and closed with a Jackson Browne cover. This past Friday, the band took the Fillmore stage with a loose, meditative acoustic set, before eventually closing with an incendiary rendition of a Black Flag song. There's no predicting the content, or structure of a Yo La Tengo show; yet, no matter how vigorously it flips from one genre to the next, it sounds unmistakably like Yo La Tengo.

From its yearly run of Hanukkah shows, to its infamously vast archive of cover songs, the Hoboken, NJ trio of Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew has cultivated a rich mythology over nearly three decades as a band. It’s also maintained remarkable consistency and prolificacy within its recorded material, which, like Stereolab, has caused many a fan to take its casual greatness for granted. Alternating between insistently bouncy pop songs, blissfully droned-out jams, and cozy ballads to wear your autumn sweater by, Yo La Tengo has assembled a wildly eclectic back-catalogue that continues to pleasantly surprise, and occasionally confound live audiences. Read more »