Song Premiere: “Fireflies” by The Minnesota Child (Playing Thurs. 2/1 at GAMH)


The Minnesota Child is the moniker of Oakland, California-based, multi-faceted musician Ethan Buckner. His songs channel classic songwriters like Paul Simon and Justin Vernon, while not giving into overt nostalgia. Instead, The Minnesota Child transforms indie folk into something new, something larger and more immersive for their listeners. The production on “Fireflies” is lush, adding a sweet, delicate feel to their thoughtful instrumentation. The Minnesota Child is just getting started with “Fireflies” and it will be exciting to see what’s next for the inspired folk mastermind.

““Fireflies” is a call to remember that we all have the strength to get through whatever life in these crazy times throws at us. It is so common to feel broken, isolated, and alone, despite living in a time when we supposedly are more connected than ever. “Fireflies” is a reminder that we are actually not alone, that many have dealt with similar challenges before us, and that we can find our way in the darkness”, states Buckner.

The Minnesota Child will be releasing a new EP, titled Fireflies, on February 1st. - The Big Takeover

 

New Year’s Eve plans? Here are 14 awesome options in the Bay Area (don’t miss Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven at GAMH on 12/30 & NYE!)


Get ready for a double dose of David Lowery, as the accomplished singer-songwriter-guitarist leads both of his best-known bands — Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven — into the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco for a two-night stand, Dec. 30-31.

It will be good to hear Camper Van motor through such indie gems as “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon” and, of course, “Take The Skinheads Bowling.”

But it should be even better to catch Cracker crank up “Low,” “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” and other rockers. We just can’t get enough of Johnny Hickman’s lead guitar work. - San Jose Mercury News

Songs of Praise and Generosity from a Beloved Bay Area Institution (Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Ensemble Performs Christmas Eve at Slim’s – 2 shows!)


The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir’s December concerts are a Bay Area holiday tradition with a lot to say about why we love it here. The choir welcomes people of all faiths, colors and gender to sing the gospel of praise and generosity. The choir just got back from a tour of the South where they joined the San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus for concerts raising money and awareness for LGBTQ equal rights — so these holiday shows should feel like a triumphant homecoming. LeVar Burton, former host of the PBS series Reading Rainbow, emcees the concert Dec. 2 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. They’re also doing two shows with the San Francisco Symphony, one with the Oakland Symphony, another show at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, and capping it off with a Christmas Eve show at Slim’s. - KQED The Do List

The Barr Brothers Are the Pride of Providence (Playing Wed. 12/13 at GAMH)


The Barr Brothers are originally from my hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, which has not been a hotbed for music other than the Talking Heads. So I have to thank Brad and Andrew Barr for writing an album of indie songs about their misspent youth in Little Rhody. They probably had more fun than I did, but we both left (with the Barr Brothers living in Canada). Their new album, with indispensable harpist Sarah Page, is a model of lo-fi indie folk-rock, folk-blues, and other hyphenates, sounding a bit, as my co-host Jeffrey Edalatpour notes, like Lord Huron or Sun Kil Moon. Good company. - Cy Musiker / KQED's The Do List

Watch I’m With Her Perform “See You Around” (Playing Tues. 4/3 at GAMH)


I’m With Her’s debut album See You Around is easily one of 2018’s most anticipated releases. The project of Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, and Sara Watkins, I’m With Her combines the myriad talents of three of roots music’s most beloved musicians to a result far greater than the sum of its already impressive parts.

Ahead of the album’s February 16 release, the trio has shared a handful of new tunes, including the arresting title track. In many ways, “See You Around” condenses all that’s great about the trio — intricate vocal harmonies, delicately crafted acoustic arrangements, thoughtful lyricism — into just under four minutes, serving as an intriguing teaser for the rest of the album’s forthcoming tracks.

“‘See You Around’ was one of the first songs we wrote together in Los Angeles in July 2015,” Watkins says. “It encapsulates a lot of what this band is about: moving through the world with a certain boldness and looking forward to the future.”

Watch a clip of I’m With Her performing “See You Around” live on the recent American Acoustic Tour. - American Songwriter

Ismay Announces ‘Songs From A River’ EP and Premieres the Track “River Of Light” (Playing Sun. 12/17 at Slim’s)


Coming from the coastal hills of Northern California, Ismay is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter drawing inspiration from the natural landscape of the American West. With an ear for an old-time aesthetic and artistry of indie folk, Ismay blends inventive songwriting, ethereal vocals, and dynamic fingerpicking on her new EP, Songs From A River.

The creation of her debut EP began with a river. After dropping out of college, Ismay (Avery Hellman) wandered from California to New Mexico and up through the Pacific Northwest. During this time, she sought out a place of natural significance through which to explore her passion for the arts and the environment. Eventually, she found herself on the banks of the Klamath River in far Northern California. It was in this country that Ismay became entranced by the intricate cultural landscape of the Klamath. In the following two years, she embarked on a horseback trip to document the river through film, photography and audio recordings. In addition, she wrote and recorded five original songs, both along the Klamath with an old cassette tape machine and in a studio above the Pacific Ocean.

Working with producer Tim Bluhm (Sarah Lee Guthrie, Johnny Irion) and engineer Robert Cheek (Band of Horses, Chelsea Wolfe) at Panoramic Studios, the field recordings were produced by Eric Drew Feldman (PJ Harvey), and string arrangements in Nashville with Brad Jones at Alex the Great Recording (Justin Townes Earle, Nancy Griffith, Yo La Tengo).

Weaving natural symbolism into this coming-of-age story, Ismay’s EP, Songs from a River, explores the way in which a connection to place shapes and parallels songwriting and recording. Today, Ismay shares one of the tracks from the EP, “River of Light,” a delicate string-fueled ballad highlighted by Ismay's serene vocals. - No Depression

Listen to the track HERE.

Dirtybird’s Justin Jay Is Back, This Time With A Band (Fri. 11/24 at GAMH)


Dirtybird’s Justin Jay has predominantly been a solo DJ. From what started around as a group of friends jamming out, his band has morphed into a full-time musical endeavor. He spoke to SF Weekly about his newfound love of choir and opera, the Tame Impala reference on the cover art for his new album, Home, and the differences between touring as a DJ and as a member of a band.

Click HERE for the SF Weekly's interview!

Fu Manchu at Slim’s Proves the Action is Still Go! (11/7 at Slim’s)


The only thing that would have made the recent Fu Manchu show at Slim’s more of a spectacle would be if a half pipe were to have popped up out of the middle of the floor. The veteran Orange County band of stoner/skater/surf punks rolled a nearly two-hour set of hard driving rock designed to be blared from the car stereos of muscle cars and surf vans.

Click HERE for the rest of SF Sonic's review!

Interview With Swingin’ Utters Guitarist Darius Koski – New Solo Album (Playing Sat. 11/25 at Slim’s)


Darius Koski is best known as the guitarist and songwriter of the legendary punk band Swingin’ Utters. He is also a solo musician and has released a new album titled “What Was Once Is By And Gone” on Fat Wreck Chords.

The new record features an eclectic mix of songs including the albums’s eighth track “Soap Opera”.

“Soap Opera is basically a song meant for some melodrama playing in my head. It’s one of my attempts at movie score type or writing. I’m just glad I pulled it off, and it pretty much came out the way I’d envisioned it, so just that little success makes it my favorite – for today at least,” Darius Koski stated.

Growing up, Darius Koski played the violin since the age of 5, and he got his first guitar when he was 15.

“I’d played violin since I was 5, and finally wanted to learn guitar, since I listened to just about everything but the classical music I was playing for my whole life up to that point. My dad bought me a guitar from a downtown Santa Cruz shop when I was 15 or so. It was a pretty awful, black Yamaha strat style guitar. I still have it,” Darius Koski reminisced.

During the Swingin’ Utters tour Darius Koski will be doing double shifts opening for his own band.

Click HERE for the rest of the Cornwall Seeker interview!

Kishi Bashi On Turning Pain Into Art And His Secret Love For Smooth Jazz (Playing Sun. 11/19 at GAMH – SOLD OUT!)


Kishi Bashi doesn’t go into things lightly. On his latest album, “Sonderlust,” the classically trained violinist and Berklee College of Music alum combines his love of jazz, funk, electronic pop and psychedelic rock, coming up with a complex meditation on a particularly difficult period of his life. Having toured with left-field acts like Regina Spektor and Of Montreal, the 42-year-old musician (born Kaoru Ishibashi) is used to working on the fringes, and in the five years since going solo with 2012’s “151a” he has built up his own cult following. He spoke to us during rehearsals at his home in Athens, Ga.

Click HERE for his interview with the SF Chronicle!

Q&A: Patterson Hood On Drive-By Truckers’ Angry Political Anthem “The Perilous Night” (Playing GAMH on Wed. 2/7 & Thurs. 2/8)


Like many of us, Patterson Hood is mad as hell and has been for a while now. The Drive-By Truckers co-frontman has spent the past year-plus watching the rise of Donald Trump and all its attendant consequences with horror and frustration. Yet even coming off an album as overtly political as 2016’s American Band, for months he struggled to put his feelings into words. And then white supremacists marched through Charlottesville and murdered a counter-protester, and the president had the gall to say there were some “very fine people” among their ranks. Very quickly after that it all came pouring out.

The resulting song is called “The Perilous Night.” It’s a raucous barroom rocker with pessimistic lyrics expressing the frustration many of us have felt while watching so many Americans — including people we love — bend over backwards to justify the unjustifiable. The Truckers started performing it on tour immediately. Now, on the first Election Day since last year’s debacle, they’re releasing a studio version as a reminder to get out and vote.

Click HERE for the rest of the Stereogum article!

Track Premiere: Cannibal Corpse, “Red Before Black” (Playing Tues. 11/14 & Wed. 11/15 at Slim’s)


We haven’t had a chance to dive into the lyrics of the title track from Cannibal Corpse’s new album Red Before Black yet, but we would like to imagine that Corpsegrinder and crew are suggesting that red, and not black, is the most brutal color of all. Cannibal Corpse know a thing or two about being brutal — this is the band that popularized death metal and once named an album Kill (all other bands should just stop trying; that is THE definitive death metal album title, QED) — so perhaps we should listen to them and just start wearing all red all the time instead of black. Black is so boring anyway!

MetalSucks is pleased to premiere “Red Before Black” to the world today.

Take a listen HERE!

Lebanese Icon Yasmine Hamdan Comes to Great American This Weekend (Sun. 11/12)


Yasmine Hamdan — appearing at the Great American Music Hall on November 12 — is a Lebanese icon. Known internationally for her enchanting, emotionally and politically-charged pop music, Hamdan blends her Arabic roots with her former musical life as half of the indie electro-pop duo Soap Kills. Rising out of the rubble of a nation ravaged by civil war, Soap Kills was one of the first bands of its kind in the Middle East.

Hamdan continues innovating. Between performing her song “Hal” in Jim Jarmusch’s gorgeous Only Lovers Left Alive, collaborating with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, and writing an original soundtrack for Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous’s play Rituel pour une métamorphose, Hamdan is consistently creating new sounds with a piercing lyrical poetry, all while singing in Arabic and not conforming to the global music standard of English.

One has to wonder: At what point will we start calling Hamdan simply an icon?

Click HERE for her interview with The Bay Bridged!

Phoebe Bridgers On World Cafe (Opening for Noah Gundersen at GAMH on Thurs. 11/9)


Phoebe Bridgers has one of those voices that can make a rowdy arena crowd go silent and then leap to its feet. I saw it happen when she joined Conor Oberst on stage this past summer at the WXPN XPoNential Music Festival. I can't imagine many people in the crowd knew who she was before they heard Conor invite her on stage for a duet. By the time she was done — standing ovation.

No surprise that when Ryan Adams heard Phoebe sing, he invited her to come to his studio the very next day and ended up producing her debut EP Killer, which came out in 2015. Apparently, that involved being showered with a lot of snacks from 7-Eleven, and being gifted a guitar that Phoebe still uses — in fact, it's the one she's using for our session to play songs from her debut full-length album Stranger In The Alps. She starts us off with a live performance of "Motion Sickness."

Click HERE for her NPR performance!