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
Grand Rapids indie-folk artist Eric Pollard, known by his stage name Actual Wolf, has shared a new video for his tune “Baby Please,” a hazy, soulful rocker off his recently released album Faded Days.
Directed by fellow Minnesota native Erik Nelson, the “Baby Please” visual follows a contemporary Bonnie-and-Clyde couple on the road as they revel in the exhilaration of robbing banks, shooting guns, and eluding the police.
In considering Pollard’s recent brush with the law and fairly itinerant lifestyle—travelling between Duluth, MN, Brooklyn, Nashville, and Oakland over the years—it is not difficult to interpret the video’s subtext as containing some personal resonance.
“It is important to relax, view the work, take in its finer points, and draw your conclusions as to its motives/themes,” says Pollard. “Thank you and enjoy. Stay wavy.”
Faded Days features collaborations with Al Church, Jeremy Hanson, Jake Hanson, Steve Garrington, and Ditch Kurtz, and is out now on cassette and digital platforms. The album is slated for a vinyl release September 15 via Red House Records. - American Songwriter
Written all over his album reviews, Wikipedia page, and his own website biography, the word “troubadour” is used to characterize folk musician John Craigie. The frequent use of this description is understandable. “Troubadour” aptly emphasizes the vivid storytelling that appears in Craigie’s music, though it evokes a rather antiquated image of a wandering poet that fails to capture the lively nature of Craigie’s performances. In his most recent album, No Rain, No Rose, Craigie alternates between stripped-down acoustic guitar and a full instrumental band to supplement his lyrics, whose topics reveal Craigie’s perspective on everything from past lovers to more abstract concepts, like what it means to find home.
Craigie has released eight albums — including two cover records —and has toured all over the country, but this summer marks the first time he is performing with fellow acoustic artist and friend Jack Johnson. Before his show at the Greek Theatre this week, SF Weekly spoke with Craigie about his transition from teaching math to pursuing music, living and working with his folk singer friends in Portland, and trying to write songs that are neither painstakingly forced nor lazy.
Click HERE for the SF Weekly's interview, and pick up your tickets for Sat. 11/11 soon!
Former Woods bassist Kevin Morby has in recent years enjoyed widespread praise for his flourishing, prolific solo career. He’d previously played in the Babieswith Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls. The duo put out a couple of excellent albums before the project was declared inactive.
Since the end of the Babies and his departure from Woods, Morby has kept busy. 2013’s Harlem River marked the start of a slew of releases: four albums in five years, all of which display nuanced songcraft and a rambling folk imagination. But it was last year’s Singing Saw that won him significant acclaim, helped along by favorable coverage from the influential blog Aquarium Drunkard.
Morby’s songs have always tended towards the mournful. Singing Saw is an album of the wilderness: ballads for the somber forests, mystical desert wanderings, folksy hymns of the mountains, and of lost souls. His latest, City Music (out on Dead Oceans) embraces new geographies while allowing Morby’s Kansas roots shine through. City Music plays like an elegy for LA, as the singer-songwriter is wooed by its charms without losing his outsider’s eye for its uglier facets. On album opener “Come To Me Now,” Morby sings “I can’t wait for the sun to go down / Tired of squintin’ at this godawful town.” Over the course of the album, he collages together religious atonement, rock and roll love stories, and the seediness of the forbidding, alienating metropolis. It’s a juxtaposition that crops up often in film, literature, and music alike — a gothic rendering of LA’s sun-baked sprawl.
The narration that opens the title track’s music video intones: “Each night, each bar had a band playing music. And the music was electric. Different than the music back home. As this wasn’t music from the country—but from the city.” Arguably Morby's best work yet, the slow and wistful City Music is a lovely and lovelorn take on the classic trope of country-boy-in-the-big-city. Pick up a copy and bask in some of its melancholy beauty. - The Bay Bridged
Wallows are Cole Preston, Braeden Lemasters, and Dylan Minnette. The LA-based band recently released their debut single “Pleaser” which quickly amassed over 2 million streams on Spotify and hit #2 on the Global Viral Top 50. (“…an upbeat, lo-fi indie rock anthem that will have your head-banging into the weekend. The song radiates some major summertime vibes, and we can practically feel the sun beaming down on us as they shout in the chorus.”- NYLON)
Their first show in San Francisco here at Slim's comes on the heels of sold out shows at The Troubadour, The Roxy and Constellation Room.
Tickets for Sat. 7/15 are going fast - get 'em while you can!