A new member, a fantastically received debut album, and a successful recent tour have made this year an important one for Oakland band RAYS, who bridge an artsy folk-psychedelia vibe with proto-punk and garage. After their Midwestern trip to play Cropped Out, the low-key festival for weirdos that's been happening in Louisville, KY since 2010, the group is recharged and ready to craft a new record. The experience was inspiring, according to drummer Alexa Pantalone, especially sharing a bill with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, David Nance Band, the Cowboys and more.
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For Los Angeles new wavy indie rock band Bad Suns, the difference between a debut album and a sophomore LP comes down having the tenacity to learn from your experiences and make the appropriate tweaks.
“Having the first go-around certainly helps a lot,” frontman Christo Bowman said. “Putting out the first record [and] touring it was all such a whirlwind, and we were kind of just taking it as it came to us each day. We were really figuring it out. It seems obvious, but with the second record it was very helpful [to] take all that we had learned … for a smoother ride; embellishing what we could do and taking things to the next level. As opposed to ‘How do we barely scrape by?’ the goal now is, ‘How do we put on a great show every night?’”
Bad Suns, who headline the Great American Music Hall on Oct. 11, came together in 2012 and made a splash with their 2014 debut, Language & Perspective.
Moses Sumney’s voice is a high, luscious falsetto, and his songs are slow, thoughtful and sexy, making you want to lean in to listen closer. He considers himself a slow starter, and hid his songs away for years. But more recently, Sumney’s played with Beck, Solange and Local Natives, and he’s got a new album, Aromanticism, coming out in September. Catch him at the intimate Great American Music Hall on Sept. 26 before he graduates to bigger venues. Details here. - KQED Arts
There's only one thing that's remained a constant source of inspiration for her whole career for Jane Penny – her own band, TOPS. She writes for us about why. - The Line of Best Fit
When Line of Best Fit approached me to write about what inspires me I thought about it for a long time, and struggled to land on a definitive topic. There are so many artists that I am inspired by, and I'll often spend evenings watching all the interviews, live performances and music videos of the 'greats'. There are always a few songs I can't stop listening to.
If there’s any indication that portents of the death of print are and have always been misguided, it could be easily seen in the history of places like San Francisco’s Green Apple Books. And if there’s any indication that bookstores nevertheless continue teetering at the edge of survival — well, look again at Green Apple.
Loco Tranquilo is a San Francisco band based in the heart of the Mission district. Over the past two years, they’ve been gaining momentum within the Bay Area music scene, playing multiple shows each month and earning a devoted and diverse following along the way. Fusing hypnotic and colorful melodies with funky grooves and jazzy, primordial rhythms, the band is known for moving people on the dance floor while also tapping into the inner workings of the human experience. Their distinctive style of music is made to create unity through universal feelings. During each show, they strive to create dream-like atmosphere, ushering listener on a musical journey and provoking inward sensitive exploration and communal celebration.
San Cisco may be a west coast band, with a name that could pass for a tourist’s abbreviation for San Francisco and an upbeat Californian pop sound, but the quartet actually calls the west coast of Australia home.
The quartet will be touring its new album, The Water, up and down the U.S. west coast later this month and RIFF chatted by email with guitarist Josh Biondillo about the similarities, his band, and the new album.
Pardoner can't stop saving us from 'blah' punk. That's what Uncontrollable Salvation means, right? Or maybe Pardoner's some kind of Judge Dredd, a combination of judge, jury and savior whenever a perp is making lame punk crossed with '90s alt-rock.
In any case, the San Francisco band's debut album is a muscle spasm of Polvo's weirdo heft and Dinosaur Jr.'s slacker fuzz, set to a disaffected punk squall. It's a blessing that bludgeons, much like this title track that simultaneously squeals with nasty delight and catchy corkscrew hooks. Uncontrollable Salvation comes out Sept. 8 via Father/Daughter Records. - NPR
I’m super excited to bring you this giveaway because I love me some Shabazz Palaces. So, please don’t enter this giveaway if you intend on flaking. I will be sad.
Shabazz Palaces is an American hip hop duo from Seattle composed of Ishmael Butler a.k.a. Palaceer Lazaro (formerly Butterfly of jazz rap group Digable Planets) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire, son of mbira master Dumisani Maraire. The pair anonymously self-released two EPs, Eagles Soar, Oil Flows and The Seven New (referred to as Shabazz Palaces and Of Light, respectively) in 2009 before becoming the first hip-hop act to be signed to the Sub Pop label and releasing their debut full-length album, Black Up to wide critical acclaim in 2011.
Butler notes that the work of Shabazz Palaces differs from his previous work stylistically. He cites his primary influences as “abstract,” pulling from podcasts and mixtapes. Butler attributes the use of African percussion and jazz overtones to his family’s musical preferences.
This Saturday, Hot Lunch headlines it’s biggest Bay Area show yet with this concert at Slim’s in San Francisco. The quartet will be joined by local destructo psych-punks CCR Headcleaner — who have established a solid reputation with their feral live shows — and Frisco, a new group featuring singer Bob McDonald and bassist/guitarist Andy Oglesby of sadly defunct punk vets Hank IV with ex-Acid King/Altamont drummer Joey Osbourne and onetime Lost Goat guitarist Eric Peterson that hints at the noisy ’90s chaos of the Jesus Lizard and Unsane.
Every month, Ned Buskirk gathers 50 people together in a cavernous room to talk about the one thing no one seems to want to talk about: death.
These open mikes, aptly called “You’re Going to Die: Poetry, Prose, and Everything Goes,” started seven years ago in Buskirk’s Duboce Park living room. Now, they exist as one of the only places San Franciscans can cry comfortably in a room full of strangers.
On Friday, Aug 11, at 8 p.m., the YG2D collective stages its biggest event to date: a blowout show at the Great American Music Hall. Unlike its regular open mikes, this show will be curated with performers tuned toward the beauties and sorrows of mortality.
Australia’s Make Them Suffer refuse to stagnate. With their astoundingly great third record, Worlds Apart, the band have cemented their ability to continually reinvent themselves successfully. In fact, despite leaving the blackened deathcore style of their beloved debut, Neverbloom, almost entirely behind, Make Them Suffer’s latest features some of the group’s most complex and heavy material yet. By leaning hard into their gothic and space rock influences (and fully utilizing new keyboardist/backing vocalist Booka Nile), Worlds Apart is a real winner, with two hallmarks of the band’s shape-shifting career on full display: impressive storytelling and a haunting ambiance. By now, it’s clear that Make Them Suffer are one of the most adventurous modern metalcore bands around.
Naturally, Worlds Apart has an ethereal, other-worldly sound, but it’s the group’s understanding of balance that makes this such a special record. New keyboardist Booka Nile’s brooding vocals are all over the record, yet they are never overused, and the standard, cookie-cutter clean choruses are mostly eschewed. Also, while Nile’s keyboard work is impressive, it’s used sparingly, more an accent than a feature; that’s a wise choice. Likewise, Worlds Apart is decidedly a heavy and technical record, with choppy, mosh-ready sections all over; however, breakdowns and knuckle-dragging moments are rare. Instead, the heavy aspects are a colorful texture in creating the atmosphere of a mosh pit at the International Space Station. Sean Harmanis’ emotional and honest lyrics give an added weight to the proceedings, not that World Apart needs more weight.
Ultimately, Make Them Suffer’s third record may go down as the best metalcore record of 2017. The band have proven, no matter what their chosen style, they are equally powerful and effective in crafting weighty heavy tunes that stay with the listener. It’s all topped off by the most compelling song in the band’s catalog – “Save Yourself” – an uplifting, powerful ode to pushing through with the things that fulfill you. With Worlds Apart, Make Them Suffer are clearly on another level.
About midway through Grieves’ woozy “Gutz,” you find yourself falling into sync with the track. There’s some weird alchemy, like maybe Grieves has found the mid-point between The Weeknd, Bryson Tiller and acid jazz, that happens and you’re suddenly muttering “fuck you” along with the song’s hook.
The song, off Running Wild, the Seattle-based rapper’s fifth proper full length, sees Grieves hit on something like the zeitgeist. Naturally, there’s plenty of broken glass, a young woman in lingerie, some knifeplay and even a surprise murder. Never say that your friends at Playboy bring you boring music videos.
Grieves tells us that the song is about never being able to get enough of another person.
“When it comes down to the matters of the heart, people can be just as addicting as any drug,” he says. “We tell ourselves ‘never again’, then we wake up in the same bed we promised we’d never return to. It’s complicated and intoxicating. That’s why this video complements this song so well.”
Listen to the song below.
Running Wild will be out August 25th via Rhymesayers Entertainment. - Playboy