San Francisco

Jamaican Queens on major influences, ‘Wormfood,’ and Detroit

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The Detroit-based trio, Jamaican Queens, makes instantly catchy, hip-hop-influenced, electronic-soaked pop gems and performs them in a dance-inducing glam pop fashion. Although Ryan Spencer, Adam Pressley, and Ryan Clancy have been laying down beats together for less than a year, they have already released a full-length album – Wormfood – hit their hundredth show, and written album number two (which they’ll record once they’ve concluded their lengthy West Coast and summer tours). Read more »

Live Shots: Marina and the Diamonds at the Warfield

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I like a little grit. Usually I feel that a great show combines unpredictability, recklessness, and some raw, unpolished vulnerability. That’s what makes live music exciting and dynamic. If we wanted flawless vocals and sonically airbrushed instrumentals, we’d just stay at home and listen to the music on iTunes. So I’m trying to figure out why Marina and the Diamonds’ shiny, choreographed, factory-sealed set at the Warfield Sunday night felt so right. Read more »

TNGHT whips the Mezzanine's 420 crowd into a frenzy

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Like a microcosm of our ever-morphing music culture, electronic duo TNGHT stands squarely between the traditions of EDM and hip-hop, reaping the benefits of both musical forms, and generating something new in the process. Comprised of Lunice (from Montreal), and Hudson Mohawke (from Glasgow), the pair stopped by the Mezzanine this past Saturday after a two-weekend Coachella run, bringing their shiny, brassy, bass-loaded grooves to a sold-out crowd of ecstatic 420ers. Read more »

Catching up with Young Prisms: new video, new process, and those pesky Cure comparisons

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At their show at Elbo Room on Friday, Young Prisms are going to play new material that they’ve never performed in front of an audience.

“It should be interesting,” bassist and singer Gio Betteo told me last week at Mission Pie. Read more »

Jessie Ware eats pizza at Little Star, connects with her fans at the Independent

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Last Thursday, when the lights came up on the stage at the Independent, they revealed a woman who was relishing the reverential shouts of the sold-out crowd. With a dramatic bun on top of her head, large hoop earrings, and tall heels, Jessie Ware appeared to embody the fully realized pop star that the world is starting to recognize in her.

Throughout the night, though, it became clear that what makes Ware so compelling isn’t the idolizing distance of pop-stardom, but its opposite. Between each song, she charmed the audience with candid and often self-deprecating banter. To a loud response of cheers and clapping, she spoke of her boyfriend who had joined her on tour and enjoyed planting himself in the audience to gauge its mood. “If someone comes up to you being a bit pervy, it’s just ‘cause he’s really proud of me,” she said, then laughed along with the crowd. Read more »

British singer Jessie Ware on summer plans, being herself on stage, and flowers in SF

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I first heard Jessie Ware’s “If You’re Never Gonna Move” on the road from the East Coast. After that, the song averaged about five plays per state. Ware’s understated and soulful dance pop has the rare ability to adapt to any situation. It eases the tension in a car full of two people with almost irreconcilable taste in music; it works equally well as the soundtrack to a lazy afternoon, and a night out. And it feels good.

The formula, which has earned her recognition in her native UK, is gaining a following in the US. Though the breakthrough album Devotion won’t be released stateside until April 16, many of her concerts, including Thursday’s at the Independent, have sold out to audiences that sing along with every word. (Not to worry, she also has an in-store at Amoeba that day.) Read more »

Heads Up: 8 must-see concerts this week

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Sorry, readers. Modest Mouse at the Fox Theater and Foals and Alt-J at the Fillmore are all sold out shows, plus Lou Reed canceled his Warfield appearance (it was supposed to take place Sunday).

But there are plenty of other shows you should be checking out this week including Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester at the SFJazz Center, long-running legends like Sparks (squee!) and the Skatalites, club-ready 2 Chainz and Ewan Pearson, along with (separate) album release parties for TOKiMONSTA and Burnt Ones. Read more »

Live at the Rrazz is closing for good

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Sadly, another music institution in the city is shuttering. Live at the Rrazz (otherwise known as the Rrazz Room), which went through a series of difficulties and legal issues this past year, including an ill-fated venue change, has announced it will be closing for good.

In an email to its patrons last week (including the Bay Area Reporter's BARtab, which tipped us off) and now on the front page of its website, Rrazz said, “As many of you know. the last several months have been monumentally challenging for us. It seems like all the forces in the universe have been working against us.” Read more »

Rhye keeps it smooth, sexy at Bimbo's

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With the audience seated at tables under warm lighting, the mood was set at Bimbo’s on Wednesday night for a very intimate evening with the mysterious Rhye. Canadian producer-vocalist Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal (of Danish duo Quadron) have turned heads in the indie world with their soulful, jazzy collaboration, and March 2013 album, Woman, mostly inspired by Milosh’s intense connection with his wife. At Rhye's live show, that passionate love felt universal – and palpable – between the audience and the band. Read more »

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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Is everyone else emotionally and physically exhausted from the Easter/Passover-torrential hailing downpour-April Fool's Day (who can you trust on the Internet?) mess of the last few days? I certainly am, and I only participated in a few of those spiritual debacles.

No mind, I'm ready to strap on my wellies and/or sunglasses and embark on a week of Esben and the Witch, Mac DeMarco, Babysitter, Glam.I.Rock, Portland Cello Project, Future Twin, and Polkacide with Fuxedos.

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