To call Kacey Johansing's music “orchestral pop“ snubs the jazz, the old rock ‘n’ roll, the folk, and the little hints of R&B that took up residence in these songs. It's piano and string heavy, with listless, meandering melodies, and (once in a while) Fleet Foxian harmonies. Her languid, grenadine voice has a way of conjuring strolls on rain-drenched lanes lit by too few street lamps, and hazy evenings in Blue Velvet nightclubs.
You can download a cut or two for free on Johansing’s SoundCloud, and look forward to listening to the whole shebang on February 26, 2013.
After a month long national tour, The New Trust returns to San Francisco for a special set alongside Child Bite, Hard Girls & Starskate.
With a stop in Chicago just last week to record their forthcoming LP "Keep Dreaming" with the legendary Steve Albini, The New Trust will be showcasing a set with plenty of new tracks and old favorites. A logical progression from the dark tones of the band's latest official release, this new material is poised to deliver the angular guitar, intricate drumming and abrasive bass that's become a trademark foundation to Staples' eerie-sweet vocals.
When Big Tree got around to recording Little EP,they didn’t each condemn themselves to anechoic solitary confinement; instead, they took a more organic approach and recorded all three songs together in one hyper-productive, ten-hour session onto a reel of 2” tape. Onto the result, they added three more songs, recorded live at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop.
The result is a warm, ecstatic album, human to its very core. Infused with relentlessly singable mantras, raw and emotive vocals, and soul-bolstering instrumentals, the albumis a barefoot walk on warm soil where so many others are trips to IKEA.If there is one argument against the over-tinkered immaculacy that pervades so much pop music, Little EP is it.
Okay, okay, so it was a little premature to assume former Girls frontman Christopher Owens had given up the musical ghost in favor of the runway, and we’re relieved to say the least.
Turns out, Owens is preparing to debut his first solo album Lysandre in January 2013. The album documents Owens’ first tour, where he falls in love with Lysandre, a girl working at a music festival. A concept album in its truest sense, Lysandre is exclusively in the key of A, contains diagetic sound effects, and tells its story chronologically. Owens shares his feelings about his endeavor:
I feel like this is the most focused effort I’ve ever made musically; telling a story from one song to the next in order of occurrence, making the album almost like one long song. A little bit like a musical. I’m very proud of it and happy it worked so well. I’m pleased to be able to share it with the world; its story, its music, its universal and classic themes. It’s a coming of age story, a road trip story, a love story. It’s a moment in time that has been captured and brought to life through art. For you, for me, for us. For what it’s worth.
Read more about the album and listen to the first two tracks in The FADER.
Jesse Cafiero's SF-based solo project Split Screens is set to release a self-titled EP on December 4th. Its sumptuous introductory track “Born” is available for download now.
The song is as much a tapestry as it is a composition, woven from delicate swaths of sound and tape delay through a warp of droning bass, acoustic guitar, and percussion. Quivering organ, sweeping lap steel, shimmering vibraphone, fluttering mellotron, and washy vocal harmonies coalesce and diverge and then melt away like memories of your childhood.
Having misspelled their name in the 'Artist of the Month' poll, I have failed to give Oakland’s Saything (no space) the introduction they deserve.
Revel in their cohesive—but never monotonous or monochromatic—full-length album Momentary Ens. It’s prog rock with a banjo. Sounds kind of hipster-brand ironic now that I write it out, but it really adds a functional layer of brightness and percussion that would leave a void if it were missing.
Beyond Saything’s instrumental proficiency and Isaac Brockian vocals, these guys know how to compose interesting music. Pitch bends abound and do something marvelous to the musical space in “See You Tomorrow” and “Burning Off the Morning Fog”; Phrygian color lends a darker quality to “Listen All Day”; there are some mathy meters in select songs for those who get bored with multiples of two and three; and there’s a huge allusion to Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle somewhere if you're willing to look.
The band recently recorded a new album with Steve Albini, which is tentatively scheduled to come out this springtime. If you're more of a here and now person, Saything is playing Stork Club in Oakland with Buzzmutt, Field Trips, and The Fighting Weight on November 10 for $5.
Oakland Dream Popsters Trails and Ways recently released a new single "Border Crosser" to head off their upcoming full-length album Trilingual. "Nobody should be criminalized for crossing borders for the sake of those they love," states the band who is giving away the single in hope that listeners will support the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Give it a listen, download for free, and check out their cause here.
Don’t try to pin down Owl Paws’ sound. Please. You’re going to waste all thirty minutes of Carry On, their great new EP, playing the Manticore game (okay, let’s see, it’s got the harmonies of fleet foxes, the descending harmonic line of Radiohead, the vocal timbre of the Decemberists...). When the album's through, you’ll pat yourself on the back for the sheer magnitude of good bands you know, and then decide Owl Paws really mostly sounds a lot like Owl Paws. That’s a really good thing.
They’re the winners of our ‘Artist of the Month’ poll, they’re about to go on tour for their new EP, and, well… I’ll just let you read the Q and A. Read More...
San Francisco's Shannon Harney is the stuff of girl crushes (I can only speculate about boy crushes). Let’s just review this interview by Twenty Two: she runs an adult day-care, likes bourbon, chess, taco trucks, and long bike rides.
She also happens to have one of those blow-you-away, velvet-soft voices to deliver her musical poetry. Think Regina Spektor vocal cadences, heavily-dampered piano, and lyrics that could only come from an introspective 20-something more interested in watching seasons change than her bank statement.
Catch Shannon Harney at Oakland venue Disco Volante on Sunday, October 28. You can find tickets here.