Music

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 »

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 »

Bands on the run

20 Bay Area musical acts + 20 local filmmaking teams = 48 hours of fun, sweat, and music video magic

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Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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Dear 2 Chainz: we’d like to formally apologize on behalf of our city, if you were indeed robbed at gunpoint (details are a bit murky at this point). Terrible things happen in every city, and San Francisco is no exception. But we must trundle forward, as a city of sonic fiends who love this place called home, always exploding with new bands, and welcoming traveling acts from around the world.

This week, we celebrate a particularly beloved member of own pack: Sonny and the Sunsets has a new record, and it’s a leap in yet another direction for the singer-songwriter and his crew. There’s also a Date Palms album release, a visit from New Zealand rockers the Bats (locals the Mantles open), the return of Cold Cave, some existential slop-punk from the Trashies, and a tribute to “rock‘n’roll specialist” Buddy Holly. Music lives on, despite despair.

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

Drama queens (and kings), start your engines: SF Opera's summer season is here

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The annual SF Opera summer season is always a treat -- the programmers get a little wild, and the risks, like last year's extraordinary Nixon in China, always pay off in adventurous spirit. (Ticket prices, starting at $22, aren't bad, either).

Honestly, I have no idea how they manage to squeeze all the creativity of three whole productions onstage in the space of one month, but that's opera for you. Kinda magic, kinda crazy, all pretty fascinating.

Oh, and music. Incredible music.

Read more »

Ohmigod, fine, we're that gay: Here's the Tonys great opening number

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See video

I was actually upset that Bette Midler did not get nominated. What is happening to me? Call out the jazz-hands police, I'm dancing along with Neil Patrick Harris tonight. PS: Mike Tyson. 

New NIN sounds like old NIN, and it's coming to Outside Lands

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Admit it, there was a time when a Nine Inch Nails album was the hardest music in your CD collection. You slipped your Downward Spiral disc in to drown out -- or perhaps embolden -- the bitter angst seething within. That was likely in the 1990s and you got way more hardcore following elementary school. 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 »

Philip Glass at 75: an intoxicating series, live scores to 'La Belle et la Bête' and more

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Last June, legendary composer Philip Glass treated our fair city to a one-off collaborative performance with indie-folk visionary Joanna Newsom. Just two months ago, he made a joint appearance with Beach Boys collaborator and eccentric songsmith Van Dyke Parks, in NYC. Last weekend, Glass paid SF another visit with a career retrospective festival, featuring live productions of two original, highly influential film scores. Glass is no ordinary composer, and even at the age of 75, his prolificacy and flair for innovation challenge that of any working musician. 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 »