Alexis Taylor: A Block off the Old Chip (Playing GAMH on Sat. 6/9 with Annie Hart)


The history of Fleetwood Mac is such a maelstrom of addiction, bankruptcies, and bitter lovers’ spats that it’s hard to pin down exactly what led to their early-1980s hiatus and subsequent limbo. But it’s safe to say that after Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and Stevie Nicks released solo albums in 1981, the overall band had an increasingly challenging time holding things together.

Although Hot Chip’s precision beats sound rather different from Fleetwood Mac’s brand of dad-rock, the acts share one trait in common. They’re multipolar projects whose respective members have embarked on solo careers only to return to the mothership, and for Hot Chip co-frontman Alexis Taylor, a piano-centric independent career is now four albums strong. While Beautiful Thing, released in April, is certainly not a Hot Chip record — based on its dramatis personae alone — it bends back toward the source. Taylor’s unmistakable, affect-less voice can give listeners the false impression that he’s an art-school scenester having a laugh, but Beautiful Thing is set up as a vehicle for his unabashed love of pop schmaltz. It’s very circa-1980 Paul McCartney, with the synths that open “Oh Baby” sounding like the ex-Beatle’s “Temporary Secretary” before diving right into Wings territory.

Click HERE for the SF Weekly's interview!

Alice Glass now solo, seeing herself and music more clearly (Sat. 4/28 at Slim’s with Zola Jesus + Pictureplane)


Near the end of a 20-minute phone call from Los Angeles, Alice Glass, the former frontwoman of the electroclash band Crystal Castles, goes quiet. She says she has been feeling “a little bit frazzled” throughout the interview.

(That’s only been occasionally apparent with a few hesitant pauses and asides like “Does that make sense?” or “No, wait …” or “I’m just trying to put into words ...”)

“I really didn’t do a lot of interviews before,” Glass says. “It’s just something I really want to do more of because I remember reading different music magazines and things when I was a kid, and it made me really interested to learn about new music.”

Given the circumstances under which she left Crystal Castles, that sentiment has a deeper significance: Alice Glass has found her voice, and she’s ready to use it.

Click HERE for the rest of SFGate's interview!

Q&A: Gene Evaro Jr. (Playing Slim’s on 4/13 with Handmade Moments & Brett Hunter)


Groove Soul artist Gene Evaro Jr.’s signature brand of folk electro-funk is making its way to Slim’s in a few days. The show is just days after the release of his third LP Like it’s 1965, which sees him blending Paul Simon folk songs with some deep funk from bands like Sly & The Family Stone. We wanted to learn more about this hot artist, so we reached out to him to talk about how he describes his music, what his main influences are and whether living in the desert has an impact on his music.

Click HERE for Music in SF's interview!

The Rise of Soul Ska: Celebrating the Release of “Propaganda” at GAMH on Fri. 3/23


The hottest band in Marin right now?

That just may be Soul Ska, a nine-piece, multi-racial musical collective launched in 2014 by keyboard player Jonathan Korty, one of the erstwhile teenage musicians who formed the popular instrumental funk band Vinyl in Mill Valley in the 1980s.

Soul Ska headlines the Great American Musical Hall on Friday night, celebrating the release of “Propaganda,” a debut album with seven original songs recorded at Allegiant Studios in San Anselmo and produced by David Simon Baker, who has also worked with ALO, Jackie Greene and Mother Hips.

The last time Soul Ska played the Great American they opened for the English Beat, one of the British bands that sparked the ska revival in the 1980s and ’90s. Since then, Korty says, “We sold out every show we did, including Sweetwater, a Rancho Nicasio barbecue and a bunch of festivals, including the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. It’s been a great three years. For a band coming out of Marin, we’re one of the few that can headline the Great American right now. We’re definitely on the rise.”

Read the rest of the Marin IJ's article HERE.

Q&A: Greyboy Allstars (Playing Thurs. 3/15 & Fri. 3/16 at GAMH with The Mike Dillon Band)


Initially formed as the backup band for DJ Greyboy, The Greyboy Allstars are comprised of some of the most talented players on the scene today. After recording the groundbreaking 1994 album Freestylin for the famed DJ, saxophonist Karl Denson, guitarist Elgin Park, keyboardist Robert Walter, bassist Chris Stillwell and drummer Aaron Redfield didn’t want the project to end, so decided to turn it into something long term. Well, that was almost 25 years ago and the band is still playing and going stronger than ever.

In fact, they have a new studio album in the works and a handful of high profile tour dates including a two-night stint at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco next week on Thursday, March 15 and Friday, March 16. We reached out to Robert Walter to find out what it’s like to be in a band for 25 years, how they manage to balance all of their busy schedules, and what the craziest thing is that’s happened to them at a show.

Click HERE for Music in SF's interview!

Albert Hammond Jr. Goes In Utero (Playing Tues. 3/6 with The Paranoyds at GAMH)


It’s quite possible that Albert Hammond Jr. holds the distinction of being the first musician ever to be inspired by a fingernail.

In November 1979, his mother was rushed to the hospital, suffering a miscarriage. While that baby, Francis, was born too premature to live, Albert arrived five months later. The one-time Strokes guitarist and solo artist had always known this part of the story, but it was only last year that his aunt informed him that when he was born, so was a fingernail — the one piece of his twin to greet the world alongside him.

Francis Trouble, Hammond’s fourth solo record, is due out on March 9 from Red Bull Records. It is named in honor of the twin he never knew, and reflects his reaction to receiving a truly surreal revelation.

Click HERE for the rest of SF Weekly's preview!

CBS SF Talks To Earthless Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell (Playing Thurs. 3/1 at GAMH)


One of the most celebrated modern psychedelic rock bands, hard-rock power trio Earthless has been expanding minds and dropping jaws with their intense live shows ever since first coming together in San Diego in 2001. Formed by celebrated drummer Mario Rubalcaba (veteran of such bands as Hot Snakes, Rocket from the Crypt, Black Heart Procession and Off!), former Electric Nazarene bassist Mike Eginton and gifted guitarist Isaiah Mitchell (Nebula, Howlin’ Rain, Golden Void), the group got its start with an improvisational approach to heavy instrumental psychedelia that nodded to the jam-oriented grooves of Cream, Jimi Hendrix and live Led Zeppelin as well as the explorations of modern Japanese psych purveyors like Acid Mothers Temple and more obscure ’70s riff alchemists like Dust and the Groundhogs.

Click HERE for the interview!

Teenaged Grace VanderWaal sings beyond her years (playing Tues. 2/20 at Slim’s – SOLD OUT!)


Suffern, New York singer-songwriter Grace VanderWaal has never had a past-life regression — in fact, she’s not even sure what one is. But chances are, this prescient, ukulele-strumming 14-year-old — who started writing songs at age three, won season 11 of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” at 12 and composed or co-wrote every song on her soulful 2017 debut, “Just the Beginning” — has been through the world before. Her raspy, seasoned style on intricate tracks like “Moonlight” and the anti-authoritarian “Sick of Being Told” has the self-assurance of some vintage vaudevillian vet. “I’ve never had a regression, but I can truthfully say that I don’t bond very well with other 14 year olds,” she says.

Click HERE for the SF Examiner interview!

Drive-By Truckers Refuse to Peddle Dixieland Mythology (Playing Wed. 2/7 & Thurs. 2/8 with Lilly Hiatt at GAMH)


At last year’s Country Music Awards — an event long famous for gaudy outfits, oversized cowboy hats, and ever-escalating displays of mindless patriotism — Sturgill Simpson made news for busking outside the Nashville gathering and telling anyone who would listen that “Donald Trump is a fascist fucking pig.”

That Simpson was able to perform that act without being physically accosted — a low bar, undeniably — is a testament to how outsider voices are increasingly more tolerated in the insular and conservative world of country music. Acts such as Simpson, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Miranda Lambert have been loath to regurgitate the company line preached by the genre’s standard-bearers.

While country music has always had its brand of anti-establishment figures (a legacy that includes Townes Van Zandt, Merle Haggard, and the genre’s pioneer, Hank Williams) this latest cadre of interlopers seem to trace their lineage to one group in particular — Drive-By Truckers.

Click HERE for the SF Weekly's interview!

Alan Doyle going strong post-Great Big Sea (Playing Fri. 1/19 at GAMH with Donovan Woods)


For longtime fans of Newfoundland combo Great Big Sea, frontman Alan Doyle has some good news and some bad news. On the upside, he has a rollicking new solo effort out, his third — the Bob Rock-produced “A Week at the Warehouse” — which captures Great Big Sea’s kinetic Celt-rocking spirit. On the downside, when the band’s original member Sean McCann left in 2013 after two decades, he and co-founder Bob Hallett discussed amicable ways to continue without him. “We couldn’t come to an agreement so there was nothing left to do but move on,” says Doyle. “So it’s all good, everybody seems to be quite happy doing what they’re doing, and the door is still wide open.”

Click HERE for his interview with the SF Examiner!

Breakout band Wallows kicks off headlining tour in SF (Playing Wed. 1/24 at GAMH with Hazel English – Goldenvoice Presents)


There’s an ease that comes across when you talk with Wallows, the Los Angeles alt-rock trio fronted by “13 Reasons Why” star Dylan Minnette. As befits friendships that have lasted since school days, there are inside references and attempts to crack each other up. If there are nerves about the band’s launching its first nationwide tour — as the headliner, no less — they’re nowhere to be seen.

“It’ll be the first time we’ll be playing a show knowing that tomorrow we’re going to have to drive 10 hours to another city,” says Cole Preston, the band’s drummer. “But I think all of us, more than nervous, are really excited. We’ve all been friends since we were pre-pubescent booger weirdos, so it’s about time we all pile into a van.”
Click HERE for the SF Chronicle interview with the band!

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!

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!

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