Lauren Ruth Ward: “‘Love is not loving’ mama, that’s what Bowie said… Think I’m aggressive? I’m just obsessive. Maybe I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” – Live at The Chapel in SF (May 25, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

If you haven’t yet seen the volatile, voracious VOCAL VIXEN that is Lauren Ruth Ward​, you best MAKE IT HAPPEN. Many of my favorite LA bands had described her as “truly something else” and a “MUST SEE,” and only NOW (after seeing her last night for the first time at The Chapel​) do I understand why she deserves to be up on that pedestal. With the (1) bluesy rasp and feverish headbanging of Janis Joplin, (2) sultry, seductive sounds of Sia, (3) heavy howls and fairy-like movement of Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine), and (4) lyrical cadence of Courtney Barnett, Lauren is the EPITOME of a TRUE ENTERTAINER. Her killer combination of good looks, memorizing vocals, and “come-hither” demeanor will stop you DEAD IN YOUR TRACKS, and you’ll find yourself swooning more than once throughout the set. She uses her impressive vocal control to deliver salacious, racy lines in songs like ‘Make Love to Myself‘ and ‘Blue Collar Sex Kitten‘ with crackling/panting/heaving undertones (as if on the brink of climax) and a gritty vibrato that provokes the sexual appetite in us all, especially the cougars who shouted out to Lauren with pride: “Mom’s are out TONIGHT!” I’m so glad this provocative powerhouse decided to crawl onto the speaker RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and allow to to capture some bewitching footage (def not camera shy) of her holding us under her spell. She even offered to shake my hand (along with others in the front row) which I found really endearing, and waved attentively at everyone in the crowd who was starring up at her in awe.

One of my favorite moments was when Lauren kicked off ‘Blue Collar Sex Kitten‘ howling “Thought you found Jesus in me while I lied there Fa-Fa-Fa-FAKING” and then later shouts (while looking in the direction of the drummer) “You should let me cut your hair to make you look a little BETTER!” (which is very fitting considering that she is a professional hair stylist). She also opens up about her sexuality: “I’m a dyke, dated guys, ain’t a crime, won’t apologize for my tribe.” Another favorite moment was her delivery of these two lines in ‘Well, Hell,’ the title track of her debut album: “Love is not loving” mama, that’s what Bowie said” and “Think I’m aggressive? I’m just obsessive. Maybe I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” LOVE LOVE LOVE. Her lyric cadence in this one reminds me of Courtney Barnett, which is ALWAYS A GOOD THING. ‘Staff Only,’ ‘Sheet Stains,’ and ‘Sideways‘ are my other favorites, along her her BRAND NEW siiiiiiiick song, ‘Valhalla‘ that has a super catchy chorus and a killer ending: “How did she do it, how did she do it, how did she do it? They all will ASK.” Yaaas. Can’t wait for this bad boy to be released! She also sang a song called ‘Scorpio Season‘ (not on her EP) which made me grin ear-to-ear as I thought to myself “OF  Of COURSE Lauren is a SCORPIO… The most passionate and sexual of all the signs.” I can definitely can SPOT MY OWN. 😛

A true knack for audience allure, Lauren Ruth Ward is building an intense fan base with her 60’s Rock n’ Role revival and this attention is only going to spread like wildfire over the next year. She makes it known in her title track (‘Well, Hell‘) that she is grateful for being heard (“I didn’t mean to make your head spin, I have a lot to say. I have a lot to say. I have a lot to say. Thank you for listening to what we have to say“), but WE are grateful for her voice, and her message. She is a MUST SEE, and I urge you to see her whenever she comes through your town. Just look for the gorgeous “Flower Child” in rainbow vintage pants and a rad, rainbow fringe.  ❤

Not only was I stoked to have met Lauren after the show (pic above) and to have learned that she was also a fellow East Coaster who moved out here about 3 years ago, but I was EVEN MORE STOKED to later learn that Lauren’s sister (Sarah) went to University of Maryland with my good friend Tony Awojoodu and is married to one of his close friends, Sasha. CRAZY SMALL WORLD!

Videos from the show:

“You’ve got a sign on your heart that says “Staff Only”. A Band-Aid life, you’re just staying high and lonely. Go on and treat me bad. Go on and treat yourself bad.” HELL YAAAAAAS. Such a fucking siiiick track. I love when she laugh “HA HA HA!” right after belting “The devil on your shoulders got a chip on his shoulder – ain’t that funny?”

“Got me a job and planned real good. But all the planning didn’t go as it should. I was distracted by the people walking faster than me. I’m going sideways. I’m going sideways.”

“Buddy, I don’t need you I can make love to myself. If you think I’m lonesome then you’re lying to yourself… I am not your honey. I don’t need nobody for nothing. I’ve got myself for loving. I’ve got myself for loving. I am not your honey and I don’t need nobody for nothing, no. I’ve got myself for loving and I don’t need nobody.”

Lauren’s siiiiiiiiick new song, ‘Valhalla.’ I love the enigmatic ending: “How did she do it, how did she do it, how did she do it? They all will ASK.” Yaaas. Can’t wait for this bad boy to be released!

“You were appointed the master of control. It won’t give you self control, you’re only getting older.”

“Thought you found Jesus in me while I lied there faking… Contemplation, admiration, salivation, masturbation : four – step Friday night. I’m a dyke, dated guys, ain’t a crime, won’t apologize for my tribe.” WOW.

Of COURSE Lauren is a SCORPIO! The most passionate and sexual of all the signs… Glad to also be one. xx

“Love is not loving” mama, that’s what Bowie said… Think I’m aggressive? I’m just obsessive. Maybe I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” OMG I LOVE THIS. Her lyric cadence in this one reminds me of Courtney Barnett, which is ALWAYS A GOOD THING.

 

 

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The Oh Hellos: “Nothing lasts forever, Some things aren’t meant to be, But you’ll never find the answer, Until you set your old heart free” – The Fillmore in SF (March 29, 2018)

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

The Oh Hello’s surely HAD US AT HELLO last night at their headline show in San Francisco back in March. This high-octane, Texas-bred folk-rock octet delivered an explosive, high-energy performance that SHOOK The Fillmore like a level five earthquake. Their energy was BEYOND INFECTIOUS, and watching ALL 8 members go APE SHIT on their instruments just had you instantly flailing your arms and stomping your feet to join the madness. I remember from first seeing The Oh Hellos back in 2015 at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and being BLOWN AWAY by extra-expressive fiddle, banjo, and bass players who were jumping around stage like pogo sticks while still managing to shred their strings in mid-air. This band first stole my heart back in 2010 when I came across ‘Hello My Old Heart,’ a song that would pretty much revived my pulse an had me staying calm during very, VERY trying times: “Nothing lasts forever Some things aren’t meant to be But you’ll never find the answer Until you set your old heart free.” Other songs like The Truth is a Cave, Eat You Alive, I Was Wrong, I Have Made Mistakes, Trees, Constellations, Grow, and On the Mountain Tall, Eurus, and Hieroglyphs, have also hammered on my heartstrings and instilled timeless messages that I continue to revisit (especially this one): “The sun, it does not cause us, The sun, it does not cause us to grow… It is the rain that will strengthen, The rain that will strengthen your soul. It will make you whole.” I was so happy they played this song (‘I Have Made Mistakes’) last night, cause Tyler and Maggie Heaths’ brother-sister harmonies absolutely SLAY, and you will be lathered in chills by the end. I would have LOVED if they played ‘Hello My Old Heart,’ but their set was chock full of string-saturated songs (YES) from their new EP, Eurus (a nice EP follow up to ‘Notos‘ released just last year), and this band would not have had time unless they played for 3 hours straight (an actually request by someone in the audience to which Tyler facetiously said would “lead to their demise”). Playing for 3 hours at their pace and their intensity would definitely require serious endurance, but I have no doubt they will get there someday. Even the bango player/percussionist had enough energy at the end to leap onto a high-rise speaker and bang on his drum from 6 feet in the air. EPIC ENCORE. You had me at hello, and you had me at goodbye. COME BACK SOON!  ❤

Climbing Trees‘ is one of my FAVORITES from this incredible folk rock ensemble. Coincidentally enough, yesterday (the first time I saw this song played live) was the birthday of my good friend Hillary who ALSO loves this song and loved CLIMBING TREES and other things (mountain, walls, etc.) Wish she could have been here with me!

LOVE THIS ONE. This timeless track (‘I Have Made Mistakes‘) will forever hammer on my heartstrings with lyrics that bring light even in the darkest of times.
“I have made mistakes, I continue to make them. The promises I’ve made, I continue to break them. And all the doubts I’ve faced, I continue to face them. But nothing is a waste if you learn from it… And the sun, it does not cause us to grow It is the rain that will strengthen your soul (OMG YAAAS)… And it will make you whole.” TRUTH BE TOLD.

I love the honestly and life wake-up-call element to this one. SO FREAKING GOOD:
“I’ve seen the true face of the things you call life
The voice of the siren that holds your desires
But death, she is cunning, and clever as hell
And she’ll eat you alive

Oh, she’ll EAT YOU ALIVE.”    YAAAAAAS>

The lyrics to this ‘This Will End’ just absolutely SLAY. Wow. So heart-wrenchingly beautiful:

“Heartache, I’ve heard, is part of life   ❤
And I have broken more and more

But I can hope how this will end
With every line a comedy
That we could learn to love without demand   (if only it were so easy)
But unreserved honesty

***

Previous videos from their 2015 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass performance:

Magic Bronson- “Say something, say it real quick, I’ll throw it at the wall and see if it sticks… I’m erratic, I need a fix, I’m brushing off the dirt of my fresh white kicks” – Empire Control Room at SXSW (March 16, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABSOLUTELY ECSTATIC to CATCH THE MAGIC once again after catching it last year at SXSW (see review here). Magic Bronson was my FAVORITE NEW DISCOVERY OF SXSW 2017 and were the only band (aside from Caught a Ghost) that I saw twice. The magic behind Magic Bronson lies in their ability to unleash the rebellious, primal, theatrical beast that lives inside us all. It only takes a few minutes of watching Michael Nicastro beat his chest, smack his face, stomp the stage, and pierce his lungs (roaring with chest out, arms up), for you join in this disturbed, erratic behavior and feed your inner beast. I’ve been to THOUSANDS of shows, and Mike still remains to be one of the most ENTERTAINING FRONT MEN I’ve ever seen. Again and again he delivers a performance comparable to Heather Leger as the Joker in Dark Night, and is even known to BREAK A FEW STAGES with his mighty “I am Mountain,” aggressive stomping.  I don’t think many bands can say they’ve buckled the first stage they set foot (Maggie Mae’s) on as part of their SXSW showcase. HAHA. When Magic Bronson makes an appearance, they LEAVE A MARK. The combination of Mike’s joker performance and captivating vocal delivery and Matt Lieberman‘s killer bass translates into an infectious dance experience of pop, rock, hip-hop, and electronic that I find difficult to compare to any other band (and I’ve seen thousands). I cannot WAIT until the next SXSW to see them again, and I hope they will spread their magic up the west coast very soon! After all, LA is not too far from SF. No excuses! 😛
(see below for full videos of the entire set)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Owl‘ is one of my Magic Bronson FAVORITES and I’m waiting with baited breath for them to finally release it. I love the intro line (“Say something, say it real quick, I’ll throw it at the wall and see if it sticks… I’m erratic, I need a fix, I’m brushing off the dirt of my fresh white kicks”), and I can’t help laugh/shout (simultaneously) when Mike puts his hands over his head and widens his eyes (impersonating an owl) as he devilishly shouts, “I can’t take MY EYES off of you… I’m just trying to to GET A RISE out of you.” Oh YES. A RISE has certainly been had. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I can feel your energy, running your your hands, makes the hair on the back of my neck just stand.. oh yeah, i Like to act tough, when I’m in your arms it’ll always be enough… ELECTRIFY!!” Yaaaaaaaas. I was highly entertained by the stomping around and shaking out of the hand for ‘Electrify.’ I also was dying at the part when Mike said “It was making me feel… LIKE A MAN” (dramatic impersonation). So much primal male emotion in this one.

 

 

 

 

 

“Good enough just doesn’t make it, kid you gotta take it into your own hands, OH MY GOD, it’s making sense, with all this time we’re sitting on the fences.” YAAAAAAAS. Freaking STALK THIS ONE: ‘Fences.’ I absolutely love roaring along to the chorus (not giving a shit about how loud I am) and joining in the rebellious rally of doing what you want and OWNING IT. I also love when Mike shouts “We finally made it” and follows with a villainous “HA HA” laugh like he Joker. Right after this song, Mike says, “so that one’s about you guys being so nice to each other all this time. We really appreciate that. We fucking LOVE that,” and then asked us all to hug the person next to us. We fucking love YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

“These are the days We get stuck in our ways Solving mysteries.. And these are the nights That we stay inside Making history (history, yeah, yeah)… Yea, what about that All the things that make you nervous Crooked cops and guilty verdicts Fires, floods, parking permits!” YAAAAAS! Another super catchy track (‘Nervous‘) that makes you want to go APE SHIT and scream at the top of your lungs. Makes me NERVOUS for the other people around met. SO FREAKING GOOD.

 

 

 

 

I like to think of this one (‘Knock it Off‘) as the anthem for rebels: “Go up to the bar and make some small talk, raise our glasses up high until we can’t walk, best friends fist fighting in the parking lot, cowboys dressed as cops telling us to ‘Knock it Off'” after which Mike and Matt point fingers at each other (mimicking cops) and then unexpectedly belt out “BUT WE WOOOOOON’T.” Yaaaaas. Raging like a rebel has never been so fun.

 

 

Parking tickets in SF are more than 65 bucks! Try 76…. I’m pretty sure we can all relate to driving chaos in LA, and I’m pretty sure we’ve all responded in the same way: “What the FUUUUUUUCK.” ‘Drive‘ is the newest addition to their set.

 

If this song (‘Wake Up‘) doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know WHAT will. There’s a reason they save this one for the anchor, cause it’s definitely going to anchor you as a Magic Bronson fan for life. The buildup and impeccable timing of Mike’s explosive “WAKE UP” outburst are definitely going to have your carotids bulging from you neck (at least I know mine were).

“I am a man
I am a mountain
I’ve lost track
But hey who’s counting?

Hey Scott Fitz Gerald
You got nothing on me
And hey Bob Dylan
I’ll give you something to read     (siiiiiick line)

So we sit around
Playing truth or dare
And for once the truth is all I want to hear
You’ll dig through my records
It’s all I really want
And when you do I know you’ll pick my favorite song… and it goes..”  (CHEEKY!)

Meeting the 6'6"  "Mountain" that is Michael Nicastro! One of the most entertaining front men to watch.

Meeting the 6’6″ “Mountain” that is Michael Nicastro! One of the most entertaining front men to watch!

 

 

Langhorne Slim: “Now tell me where do the good ones go, when they’re gone.” – Swedish American Hall (February 20, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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That time you meet one of the most talented folk/Americana artists out there (Langhorne Slim) after his show at the Swedish American Hall (as part of NoisePop festival) and nerd out with him about (1) effects of music on the brain (why music holds such strong memory), (2) playing music to old people (he loved playing to his Grandpa Sid and I encouraged him to play at nursing homes), (3) our perception of time (why time seems longer when we are in unfamiliar environments like when we are kids and everything is new), and (4) Langhorne (the town where he grew up but the one that I always remember my soccer team never being able to beat!). Never did I think I would have such a heart-to-heart with someone whose music had my heart when I first I heard it. Langhorne Slim is a true wordsmith whose way with words makes you feel so warm and welcome in his company, as if he was a long-lost friend that you have known for years. I couldn’t stop smiling when he was spouting off his deluge of stories (he’s certainly got plenty!) and providing context for how his various songs came to be (some in a dream). Aside from being one of the kindest, funniest, most humble human beings I know, he is one of the most AUTHENTIC, and you will never doubt that every word, whisper, belt, chuckle, howl coming out of his mouth is HIS OWN. He is not like the rest — just like Kurt Cobain (“I’m not like them / But I can pretend”) whose birthday he honored on Monday — but he does not pretend. You can certainly count on Slim NOT being slim with his self, his FULL SELF. ❤

Some of my favorite songs that he played tonight: Changes (“I’m going through changes, rattlin’ cages, I’m going through changes now”), Song For Sid (“Tell me where do all the good ones go, when they’re gone”), Back to the Wild, Coffee Cup, Again tonight and Be Set Free. It was also awesome to hear him cover Leonard Cohen‘s Tonight Will Be Fine” and Jackie DeShannon’s What the World Needs Now. Just also wish he played The Way We Move!

 

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Mani Orrason: “But freedom haunts me like it should haunt no one… And when I run through the trees I will run for everyone” – Iceland Airwaves (Nov 3, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Meet Mani Orrason, a young Icelandic multi-instrumentalist whose first ever single, ‘Fed My Days‘ (see video below) made it to #1 on the Icelandic charts when he was only 16 years old. Following up on that success, Mani soon released a debut EP, Wake Me Up, whose title track is super catchy and will certainly wake you/me up.  Since then, Mani has released a full album (Repeating Patterns, 2015) of folk/pop songs and plans to release another in 2017.  He must of fallen in love with his Spain (or someone from there, haha) during his all years of touring Europe, because now this Icelandic expat lives in Alicante.  Maybe this second album will have even more spice. Maybe it will feed all of our days, AND all of our nights… 😉

 

GDJYB: “Tick tick tock tock the minute goes, the history flows, nothing’s gonna change the lies u told, the scam we know” – Iceland Airwaves (Nov 3, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GDJYB (Gai Dan Jane Yuk Bang) were one of the top new discoveries for me at Iceland Airwaves this year. Calling themselves a “Math-folk girl band from Hong Kong and plays song in Honglish,” this badass quintet (Soni Cheng – guitarist, Heihei Ng – Drummer, Soft Liu – Vocalist, Wing Chan – Bassist).  My eyes were bugging out the entire set and bugged out EVEN MORE when I learned that they will be playing at San Francisco’s Noise Pop festival at the end of February! Can’t wait to see them again! Be sure to check out GDJYB’s debut EP (what I bought right after the set) and their first full album (11 songs) ‘23:59 Before Tomorrow,’ released in early 2017 in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. I true treat! 🙂

“If there’s a band capable of striking a successful balance between tranquility and tumult, calm and tension, it’s GDJYB, Hong Kong’s best-kept secret. Featured on the art-pop quartet’s debut album, 23:59 Before Tomorrow, the intriguingly titled “That Day I Went to His Funeral” presents a clean, smooth, and resolutely warm façade, one capable of disarming the most hardened set of ears. Beneath its alluring surface, however, the band can be heard churning out energetically swirling tangles of guitar, bass, drums, and even multi-part harmonies that in their delicate complexity fall somewhere between the Marine Girls’ jazzy post-punk and Warpaint’s dreamy tribal pop.”KEXP

Some of my favorite tracks can be found on my recent playlist: Make It Out Alive

Broken Social Scene: “I get world sick every time I take a stand… Well, I get world sick, my love is for my man” – Fox Theater in Oakland (Oct 26, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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Broken Social Scene at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco (Oct 2, 2011)

 

It had been a solid six years since I last saw Broken Social Scene at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco back in Oct 2011 (pictured above), and I could not have been more ecstatic to see them at the Fox Theater in honor of their recent album, ‘Hug of Thunder’ (released on July 7, 2017). ‘Hug of Thunder‘ is certainly one to HUG LIKE HELL, for it happens to be Broken Social Scene’s newest album since ‘Forgiveness Rock Record‘ (released in May 2010), and represents their revival from a 7 year hiatus. And man.. WHAT A REVIVAL is has BEEN. This 12-piece Canadian indie rock played a stellar 2-hour performance spanning their entire collection (set-list above), including a large number of songs from the new album: Halfway Home, Protest Song (personal favorite), Stay Happy, and Skyline. I nearly lost it when they played ‘World Sick,’ one of my absolute FAVORITE TRACKS (love the intro guitar ditty!): “I get world sick every time I take a stand… Well, I get world sick, my love is for my man.” I feel this song is especially relevant to the political turmoil in the Unites States and all of the unfortunate tragedies happening in the world today, and it as no surprise that Brendan Canning (guitar, vocals) also vocalized this relevance. It kind of reminds me of despair that is eminent in their new track, ‘Mouth Guards Of The Apocalypse‘: “I don’t wanna be scared, Or addicted to the dream… This fight is a ghost, Whose suicide was unseen.” Just got the chills.
After treating us to a special rendition of ‘Anthem for a Seventeen-year Old Girl‘ (video below) with the lovely ladies of Belle Game (their opener), Broken Social Scene played BOTH ‘Cause = Time‘ AND ‘Lover’s Spit.’ After polling the audience and seeing a unanimous request for both, Brendan made sure no one would be let down. He then got CARRIED AWAY (literally) after climbing into the crowd for ‘Lover Spit‘ and sing most of the song while surfing in a sea of fans.
AND, as if the music wasn’t cathartic enough, Brendan later initiated a group therapy session with the following request:

“You gotta take everything you got hear tonight. You gotta take all of the anxiety, all of the depression, all of the regret, all of the expectations that didn’t happen. You gotta take all of the people who aren’t here, all the people you wish were here, you gotta take all the joy, all the love, everything that you feel, and we’re gonna scream, and we’re gonna let it all go together. We’re gonna do some therapy – we’re gonna do it, together. We’re gonna let it out, and even if it’s just this moment and the momentary junkie society that we live in. This moment can be ours, and no one can take this away from us.”  LOVE THIS

He then asked us to “Take this night and put it in your back pocket for (days that don’t work for you)” right before TAKING US HOME with the EPIC ENCORE of ‘It’s All Gonna Break.’ Such an INCREDIBLE NIGHT OF MUSIC. I sure hope we don’t need to wait another 7 years for Broken Social Scene to come back ONTO THE SCENE.  😛  ❤

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Oct 2, 2011):