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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Love Somebody (Playlist: March 13, 2018)

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

FRESH NEW PLAYLIST (Spotify link and track listing below) inspired by recent shows in January and February (many of of which were part of SF’s NoisePop Festival) –  Josh Jacobson, Typhoon, Mimicking Birds, Emily Afton, Future Feats, Wild Child, Andrew St. James, Wildling, Crooked Colours, Dagmar, Ha Ha Tonka, Belle Game, Geographer, DonCat, Langhorne Slim, The Album Leaf, Vakoum, Field Medic, Waxahatchee, White Knuckles, Banzai Cliff, King Krule, Derek Ted (of Owl Paws), Lucy Rose, Charlie Cunningham, tUnE-yArDs, X-Ambassadors, Tall Heights, Black Pistol Fire, Billy Rafoul, ZZ Ward, The Wedding Presentand new releases from Frenship, Chvrches (including a track featuring Matt Berninger of The National), Jose Gonzalez, and Tallest Man in Earth (along with new tour dates!)

I chose Frenship’s ‘Love Somebody’ as the title track because, despite the song being so damn catchy (I couldn’t listen just once), I really liked the overarching message: “Get out and LOVE SOMEBODY, and GET LOST on the way.” You never know what hard times someone may be going through or how much they could use a simple smile or “Hello” from a stranger. Get out of your own head and look up at the beauty in your surroundings, savor all the amazing people around you and the lil’ miracles that might sweep you off your feet. I’ve recently encounter many young lives being snatched up way too early (including the super-talented, massively-loved LA-music photographer, Emery Becker who met last year at SXSW), and it absolutely crushes me. No matter what your circumstances and what miserable mood you may be in, strive to be kind. Remember that everyone’s days are numbered and that only WE have the power to make sure those numbers count – every hour, every min, ever second. The fleetingness of life will always remain one of our greatest mysteries, and we should never take anything for granted. Hug harder, smile wider, lend more hands. You never know what impact the tiniest act of kindness may have, or whose lives they may be saving. I hope this playlist will encourage you to open your heart to “love somebody” and to “make tiny changes to earth” (now quoting Frightened Rabbit). And as my friend Paige Parsons (met seeing The Twilight Sad (Official)) says so beautifully, music is the best medium to do so because “music cuts through out cynicism and breaks down the barriers that we erect between ourselves and the rest of the world.” Check out her talk on this:

Help me amplify this message by sharing my playlist with friends and posting about it on social media. AND, if you are an artist featured on this playlist, reposting this playlist will increase the odds of Google not filtering this out on the web and improving your visibility (from what I’ve been told by SEO experts), so please care to share! 😀

(In order to access the playlist, you have to press the 3 vertical dots in the upper right hand corner and select download. You can then cancel the download immediately and still have access to the playlist. If you are still having uses, let me know and I can send you a link to download the tracks!

  1. Wake-  Typhoon
  2. Same Mistakes- FUTURE FEATS
  3. LOVE Somebody-  Frenship
  4. Get Out-  CHVRCHES
  5. Hummingbird- Wildling
  6. Rorschach- Typhoon
  7. Plymouth- Crooked Colours
  8. In the Morning!- Andrew St James
  9. I Want Nothing- The Belle Game
  10. Try to Be Someone-  DonCat
  11. Conversation- Owl Paws
  12. Lost- Emily Afton
  13. Suck-  The Wedding Present
  14. Gorgeous- X Ambassadors
  15. Home- White Knuckles
  16. Sparks Fly- Waxahatchee
  17. Don’t Ask Why- Black Pistol Fire
  18. Minimum- Charlie Cunningham
  19. Laura- Andrew St James
  20. Flow-  Crooked Colours
  21. backyard sorrow- derek ted
  22. Biscuit Town- King Krule
  23. Remember- Typhoon
  24. Little Lies-  Wildling
  25. Tumbleweed- Dagmar
  26. Expectations- Wild Child
  27. What Do You Want-  Dagmar
  28. Sorry Bout Tomorrow!- Andrew St James
  29. Foolish- Geographer
  30. Millennial Malaise-  Andrew St James
  31. Severing the Knot- Emily Afton
  32. Come Back To You- Crooked Colours
  33. The Way We Move
  34. Bloodlines-  Mimicking Birds
  35. Anyone Can Make A Mistake-  The Wedding Present
  36. Too Young To Die- Banzai Cliff
  37. Silver- Waxahatchee
  38. Bully- Black Pistol Fire
  39. poison poetry- derek ted
  40. Silver Screen- DonCat
  41. Foolish- Geographer
  42. Bully- Black Pistol Fire
  43. Koyo- Josh Jacobson
  44. Coast to Coast- tUnE-yArDs
  45. Changes- Langhorne Slim
  46. My Enemy (feat. Matt Berninger)-  CHVRCHES
  47. Think it Over- Wild Child
  48. An Opening- Charlie Cunningham
  49. Hipster Shakes- Black Pistol Fire
  50. Tethered- Josh Jacobson
  51. I Love to Dance- Langhorn Slim
  52. Danielle-  Banzai Cliff
  53. I Hope You Get It- Crooked Colours
  54. An Ocean- The Tallest Man on Earth
  55. Back & Forth- Wild Child
  56. Better Off- White Knuckles
  57. What Did Your Last Servant Die Of-  The Wedding Present
  58. Spirit Cold- Tall Heights
  59. Never Been Wrong-  Waxahatchee
  60. Poison Poetry- Derek Ted
  61. Let Me Go Alone- White Knuckles
  62. All With You- Ha Ha Tonka
  63. Owl Hoots- Mimicking Birds
  64. POWERFUL LOVE- Field Medic
  65. Ahead Of Myself-  X Ambassadors
  66. Be Set Free- Langhorn Slim
  67. Race To The Bottom- Ha Ha Tonka
  68. Still In Love- Thirdstory
  69. all i have- derek ted
  70. Driver- Billy Raffoul
  71. Sunlight Daze- Mimicking Birds
  72. Fade- Josh Jacobson
  73. uuu-  Field Medic
  74. With the Ink of a Ghost-  José González
  75. Twenty Two Fourteen- The Album Leaf
  76. Second Chance-  Lucy Rose
  77. ICE- Vákoum
  78. Movie Screen- Dagmar
  79. Blank Pages- The Album Leaf
  80. Ghost- ZZ Ward

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Charlie Cunningham: “What you got to live for, Now you got the whole of the world at your feet, And how much more can you pass yourself round?… Go, take a load off, Letting your wings unfold, And keeping everything down to a minimum” – The Swedish American Hall (March 7, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Lucy Rose jokingly said, “never bring an opener on tour who is better than you.” She was of course referring to Charlie Cunningham, the super-talented British singer/songwriter who was definitely more of a “show stopper” than “show starter” and who had you stopped in your tracks with HIS stunning tracks. Apart from his exquisite guitar work and super-soothing vocals, his incredibly pensive, poetic, introspective lyrics will seep into your soul and etch some long-lasting “Lines” (coincidentally the title of his debut album). His music reminds me a bit of Nick Mulvey and Jose Gonzalez, which is funny cause apparently Jose Gonzalez is one of the main musicians that Charlie’s record label curator (Magus) works with. Keen hunch! I l also hear a bit of Spanish guitar influence, which makes sense considering that Charlie traveled to Spain to create the music he wanted to play, free from the prerequisite of “having to read music” first. Charlie also learned to play piano before he learned guitar (at age 14), and I hope he brings both with him on his next US tour… which BETTER BE a HEADLINE one. His 45 min opening set at Swedish American Hall was way too short for satiation, and there was a unanimous request from the entire audience for him to keep playing after his last song, ‘Minimum‘ (video below), my FAVORITE (aside from ‘An Opening‘) and one that really hits home:

“How do I walk this earth?
So much work at first, it goes
How should I walk this earth?
So much worse the further, the further you go
Go, take off a load
Letting your wings unfold
And keeping everything down to a minimum
Everything a bit though
Tell’em what you know but all that you know, though
The truth be told you need it more than you thought
But you’re managing, that’s how you evened out, out
Keep on walking that line, the fine line
Between a wrong and a right
You get yours, I’m gonna get mine
Is that what you signed for?
They’re feeding you lines
To keep you on their side
It works every time
What you got to live for
Now you got the whole of the world at your feet
And how much more can you pass yourself round?
What you got to live for now
You got the whole of the world at your feet
But you’re still shaking?
You need to make up some ground
Go, take off a load
Letting your wings unfold
And keeping everything down to a minimum
Everything a bit though
Tell’em what you know but all that you know, though
The truth be told you need it more than you thought
But you’re managing, that’s how you evened out, out”  ❤

 

Mad props to Lucy for bringing him on tour with her! It was also nice that she invited him up on stage to help sing a few of her songs. I was so bummed when I missed seeing him open for Low Roar at The Chapel last year cause of being away for a work trip. This was certainly a super sweet an unexpected treat!<3 🙂

 

 

 

Black Pistol Fire: “Now you pick apart my love, When a push comes to shove, Say you had about enough, But you still call my bluff” – Ace of Spades in Sacramento (March 6, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

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Meeting Kevin McKeown, the WILD FRONTMAN of Black Pistol Fire!

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“Why settle for a spark when you can have the whole damn fire”… BLACK PISTOL FIRE. Ain’t that the truth! There is no reason set settle for a mediocre “rock band” band you can have the HIGH-OCTANE rock duo that I like to call a “younger version of The Black Keys but with more energy, power, and FIRE.” Both Kevin McKeown (Guitar, vocals) and Eric Owen (Drums) are SERIOUS SPITFIRES that will have your ENTIRE BODY AFLAME within seconds of them hitting the stage. I nearly spontaneously combusted when getting to see him perform ‘Speak of the Devil‘ (my favorite track which I got a full video of) from the photo pit and watching him SHRED GUITAR so hard you thought he might puncture skin. Eric (shirtless, hands wrapped), was equally as intense, pounding on his drums as if he is beating away demons. My heart was racing the entire set, especially when Kevin started karate-kicking his legs up in the air and jumping off anything that didn’t move (although I’m sure that is subject to change). He would also stomp in place mid-shred as if marking his territory like in flamenco, with his feet moving so fast you can hardly catch them!. Kevin also blazed a trail through the crowd as he dove face first to crowd surf while STILL SHREDDING guitar. I’m not sure why the name of their album (released May 2016) is ‘Don’t Wake The Riot,’ cause they certainly wake every riot that I have in me, especially with songs like ‘Bully’ (“I like it when you play too rough…”) and I cannot WAIT to see FEEL THIS FIRE again, hopefully next week at SXSW while sporting my badass Black Pistol Fire t-shirt (pic above). 🙂 WARING: You better see them before they blow up and only play huge venues. They have already been clocking it at #1 on the Canada Rock Billboard Chart for the past week!

Typhoon: “But if there’s nothing, then what’s that song that keeps hounding me? .. this is not your loss, this is your offering” – The Independent (Feb 13, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Having waited over SEVEN YEARS to see Typhoon live, this night at The Independent seemed all a bit surreal. What pacified me in the interim was catching the mindblowingly-talented mult-instrumentalist and visionary behind this 9-person indie/folk rock, Kyle Morton, live in concert at The Swedish American Hall back in Jan 2016. Although this was only second night on tour in support of first solo album, ‘What Will Destroy You,’ Kyle received a standing ovation from his SF crowd. New tracks like ‘Sickness Until Death,’ ‘Water Torture,’ and ‘Survivalist Fantasy,’ found new homes in our hearts, despite old gems like ‘Claws, Part II,’ ‘Common Sentiments,’ ‘Honest Truth,’ and ‘Morton’s Folk,’ having been rooted there for years. (see below for videos) It was Kyle’s emotional rendition of ‘My Little Darling Knows My Nature‘ that hammered on my heart-strings the most, especially after raising his hand to show his wedding ring, saying he “did all right” (for his little darling is now his wife): 

“Now my little darlin I’ll sing you a love song
One you can hang your hat on every night
I will be your witness if you be mine
I will be your witness if you be mine
I will be your witness if you be my wife.”

The allure of Typhoon lies in their pensive, visual narratives and its capricious, temperamental nature (just as the tropical storm would suggest). The songs that truly TAKE US BY STORM (Artificial Light, Young Fathers, CRP/ Claws Part 2, The Lake, Summer House, Hunger and Thirst, Common Sentiments) are those that sweep us off our feet with ease and move us on a suspense-ridden journey laced with sharp twists and turns. In fact, I thought ‘CRP/ Claws Part 2‘ was 2 songs when I first heard it, for there was a distinct, abrupt change in the rhythm and instrumental arrangement halfway through. The same goes for ‘Common sentiments.’ I adore the juxtaposition of Kyle’s harder guitar and deeper voice with Shannon’s softer strings (violin) and higher-pitched vocals.

We all had been waiting nearly 5 years for Typhoon to return with a new album, for their last one (‘White Lighter‘) was released back in 2013. This newest album, ‘Offerings‘ (the fourth in their collection) stood out to me as the most ominous and most mysterious, for many of the lyrics (and associated voice recordings) have you furrowing your eyebrow (especially mine!) and questioning the intent. ‘Offerings‘ opens with a thought-provoking prologue (“Listen — of all the things that you are about to lose, this will be the most painful“) before launching into a song (‘Wake‘) about about a man “preoccupied with memory, losing memory, and trying to recapture memory.” Kyle mentioned wanting to explore “the dual theme of (1) what it means to be a person stripped of all memory and (2) what happens to a world that loses all sense of history (read: modern America).” YAAAAS. ‘Wake‘ was certainly the perfect wake-up call for the album, and the startling, unexpected uproar of violins and guitar shredding together (2:30 min) immediately following this plea was absolutely PERFECT: “But if there’s nothing, if there’s nothing Then what’s that song that keeps hounding me? …. this is not your loss, this is your offering”. I love how it’s then followed by Kyle shouting “Asa nisi masa” as if an SOS cry for help.

Wake‘, ‘Rorchscah‘ and ‘Empiracist,’ are my three favorite songs on the album, and just happen to be back-to-back. Other favorites include ‘Remembering‘ and ‘Unusual‘.

Rorchscah‘ highlights Kyle’s concern of people losing all sense of history, describing the navigation of our world solely via tv, computers, and Iphones (“Eyes on the screen, We have all the information now, but what does it mean?”), which, despite “all our (technological) progress,” leaves us wondering “what happened to the life we lost, that got lost in the living?” (I love the call-and-response between Kyle and Shannon’s vocals). “All this fiction make me nervous,” Kyle mutters, as if to call out those who have so easily forgotten our history, the “sacrificial violence” (bloodshed, bombs), and who “edit” the “film in their brain.” TRUTH BE TOLD.

Empiricist‘ also has some intriguing lyrics, my favorite being “But you can’t help wonder, who is this person you celebrate?… It’s still your birthday, so blow out your past lives like they’re candles on the cake.” Wow. That certainly stings. Kyle dishes out even more cynicism in ‘Unusual:’  “This brave new world— It’s gonna take some getting used to… Yeah, it’s cruel and unusual, Can’t tell the punishment apart from the crime.” Nevertheless, my favorite lyrics from this album are in the song, ‘Remember,’ for it emphasizes urgency (“Just make your move before you have no move to make”) and constant curiosity (“How long can it take?”)  HECK YES.

I think it’s safe to say that these TyphoonOfferings‘ (in the form of their fourth album), offered more reflection, self introspection, and confusion than any before, all in all reminding me of a quote from Salvador Dali (who I thank my fellow music buddy Alex for mentioning): “What is important is to spread confusion, not to eliminate it.” AMEN. Can’t WAIT to see Typhoon again at Sasquatch Music festival at the end of May. 🙂

 

Kyle Morton (solo tour) at Swedish American Hall

 

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Capsized (Playlist: Sept 24, 2017)

Capsized

CREATED BY ERICA ANDREOZZI

FRESH NEW PLAYLIST (56 songs) inspired by recent shows/sets (Sylvan Esso, Flock of Dimes, Wild Cub, Future Feats, Maggie Rogers, Plini, Haim, Milky Chance, Manchester Orchestra, Tigers Jaw, Foxing, Henry Jamison, Gracie and Rachel, The Decemberists, Asgeir, Public Service Broadcasting). There was additional influence from recent track/album releases by The National and War on Drugs (Both are SO FREAKING GOOD), as well as Trevor Hall, Frightened Rabbit, The Head and the Heart, Fatherson, LCD Soundsystem, Good Old War, and my friend Alexa-J! I also included tracks by new discoveries: Future Feats (opened for Wild Cub), Sinkane, Vista Kicks (opened for Milky Chance), Foxing (opened for Manchester Orchestra), Tusks (opened for Asgeir), and Frenship (whose CAPSIZED TRACK I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF and who I can’t wait to see next month in SF).

Check out my fb music page (https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/) and YouTube page (http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz) for pics/videos from these shows.

Previous Playlists: Creature Comfort, I Know You Know, Feeling Electric, Wake Up, Oceans Away, and more…

(In order to access the playlist, you have to press the 3 vertical dots in the upper right hand corner and select download. You can then cancel the download immediately and still have access to the playlist. If you are still having uses, let me know and I can send you a link to download the tracks!)

***

  1. Up All Night- The War On Drugs
  2. Alaska-  Maggie Rogers
  3. Just Past The Point Of Breaking- Fatherson
  4. Capsize- Frenship
  5. The Fruitful Darkness- Trevor Hall
  6. Somewhere- Wild Cub
  7. Birthplace- Flock Of Dimes
  8. Cities in Wonder- Future Feats
  9. Real Peach- Henry Jamison
  10. Right Now- Haim
  11. Day I Die- The National
  12. 1000 Nights- Frenship
  13. Always- Fatherson
  14. Semaphore – Flock Of Dimes
  15. Holding On- The War On Drugs
  16. Firebird- Milky Chance
  17. Gotta Get Away- Vista Kicks
  18. Don’t Dream It’s Over- The Head and the Heart
  19. Speak- Wild Cub
  20. Pain- The War On Drugs
  21. Nights like tonight- Future Feats
  22. Everything Is Happening Today- Flock Of Dimes
  23. Forest- Fatherson
  24. Through a Glass- Henry Jamison
  25. Fire- Wild Cub
  26. The Pit- Public Service Broadcasting
  27. What I Know- Trevor Hall
  28. Follows- Tigers Jaw
  29. Roadless- Frightened Rabbit
  30. The Joke- Flock Of Dimes
  31. The Moth- Manchester Orchestra
  32. Fires- Future Feats
  33. Oh Baby- LCD Soundsystem
  34. Cold Blue Rain- Milky Chance
  35. Sons & Daughters- The Decemberists
  36. Dog Years- Maggie Rogers
  37. June- Tigers Jaw
  38. The Medic- Foxing
  39. Turtleneck-  The National
  40. Knives- Matoma & Frenship
  41. The River- Good Old War
  42. Sleeping Over- Fatherson
  43. (Un)comfortable- Gracie and Rachel
  44. Walking Away- Haim
  45. Favorite Song- Sinkane
  46. My Heart, Your Heart- Trevor Hall
  47. Nobody Else Will Be There- The National
  48. The Grocery- Manchester Orchestra
  49. Toronto- Tusks
  50. Every Piece Matters-  Plini
  51. Down By The Water- The Decemberists
  52. All Out- Public Service Broadcasting
  53. Rewind-  Sylvan Esso
  54. Part of Me- Good Old War
  55. Electricity (feat. Alexa J)- Muzikm4n
  56. Dreaming- Asgeir

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Asgeir: “Oh, how I long for light.. A light that won’t leave me.. Never to go away”: The Fillmore in SF (Sept 1, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

It had been 3 years since I last saw Asgeir, the incredibly talented artist who was my initial hook into the Icelandic music scene. Amped by the recent release of Asgeir’s beautiful album (‘Afterglow’) and his slay-worthy covers of Adele, Abba, Nirvana, The National, and others as part of his unique #asgeirstraigttovinyl project (taking requests from all over the world and recording them straight to vinyl for 24 hr straight), I could hardly contain myself for their show at The Fillmore last night. They delivered a flawless performance from start to finish (75 min) without any interruption, making it easier for the crowd to be whisked away to another world (including the security guard who told me his mind wandered to a far away place). I think we all sported an Asgeir “afterglow” after hearing ‘I Know You Know’ (“Oh, how I long for light.. A light that won’t leave me… Never to go away”) and ‘Torrent’ (my favorites across both albums) come alive right in front of our eyes. Torrent was the first song in Asgeir‘s collection that had me hooked, and the fact that he saved it for the encore was super special. The drums and keys in that one are so freaking awesome! I am so happy that they came to San Francisco to serenade us with their “stardust,” and I look forward to more of it at Iceland Airwaves Music festival in November! Check out my previous review of Asgeir from 2014 and my recent playlist inspired my his track ‘I Know You Know.” 😀

 

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Sylvan Esso: “I was Gonna Die Young, But now I Gotta Wait for You”: Fox Theater in Oakland (Aug 23, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

The amazing Sylvan Esso making sure that we PLAY IT RIGHT before leaving the Fox Theater – Oakland after their stacked set, including hits from their new album, ‘What Now‘: Die Young, Radio, Glow, Kick Jump Twist, Just Dancing, and Signal. Their epic encore triggered a massive dance party after the closing of the show. First time I’ve ever witnessed such a phenomenon at that venue (and I go there ALOT). Amelia and her fluid, infectious moves had us all wishing we could “just dance,” for not many people can GLIDE ON STAGE the way that she does (not even close!). It was cool to also meet two videographers beforehand that were filming footage for a Sylvan Esso documentary. What an awesome idea! It was also cool to learn that Amelia’s family was originally from the SF Bay Area. Towards the end of the set, she mentioned that the Fox Theater was “her grandfather’s favorite,” and that many of her cousins (he had 11 grandchildren!) were in the audience that night. The unique lighting design on stage (<< >>) is tattoo that Amelia, Nick, and Jen (of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak) all have. Speaking of Jen, it was such a treat to have her on tour with them. In fact, I first discovered Sylvan Esso when they opened her her as Wye Oak in March 2014 at the Lexington (tiny venue!) in London. I guess things really do come full circle!

More pics and videos here: https://m.facebook.com/beatsthatsetmypulse

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Vancouver Sleep Clinic – “All of the sinners, all of the saints, All of the beauty, all of the pain, In the loss, in the gain, I’m not afraid”: Bottom of the Hill in SF (April 17, 2017

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Vancouver Sleep Clinic‘s first show in SF at the Rickshaw Stop back in December had us begging for their return, especially with the release of their highly anticipated debut album, ‘Revival.’ A revival is surely what they spurred on last night at Bottom of the Hill. I could not help but watch everyone on the audience be lifted up by Tim’s angelic vocals and haunting howls as they stared up at him with eager eyes. Star struck by his fine, fierce falsetto, there was a sense of disbelief shared by the entire room. It’s hard to believe that he wrote his first song (‘Vapour‘) when he was only 17 yrs old, a song about realizing how short life is and how “you must find light and joy in the situations we’re put in.” Well we certainly find light and joy in the musical medicine he revives us with, one “rebirth” at a time. Tracks that had every hair raised on my body were Flaws, Lung, Living Water, Killing me to love you, and Someone to Stay, which was written about homelessness and homesickness when temporarily living in LA:

“You were alone, left out in the cold
Clinging to the ruin of your broken home
Too lost and hurting to carry your load
We all need someone to hold”   (SLAYED).

 Arguably my favorite Vancouver Sleep Clinic track released this year.

By the time the epic encore of Empire came around, I was completely lathered in chills. Empire stood alone with definitive power and command, keeping us on our toes as the capricious crescendos amplified our attention and wet our appetites. I’m already hungry for more and can’t wait until they return for summer festivals (best way to avoid winter in OZ!) All I know is that Vancouver Sleep Clinic won’t be frequenting small stages much longer. Recently on tour with the delightful Daughter, they are making a global footprint and hailing new fans far and wide. In fact, the kid standing next to me had flown all of the way from Phoenix just for the show! It won’t be long before this Aussie quintet will be headlining the legendary Fillmore. SF wants you back!

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So happy to have met Tim Bettinson of Vancouver Sleep Clinic this week at the Rickshaw Stop. After wrapping up tour with Daughter the night before in Vancouver (yes, he says it’s everything he’s dreamed it to be), these Aussies (Brisbane) decided to sneak a two extra shows in SF and LA before heading out (and boy are we thankful for!). I remember first seeing Vancouver Sleep Clinic at Green Man music festival (Wales, UK) in 2014 and being completely taken back by their beauty and talent. For those lovers of Bon Iver, Volcano Choir, James Vincent McMorrow (who he’s a I’ve fan of and whom he saw for the first time in LA 3 years ago), RYX, Matt Corby, Sohn, Youth Lagoon, Alex Vargas, and Jack Garratt, Tim is your man!

 

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Geographer – “You’ve been staring at the ocean, Like it’s a language you could learn”: The Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz (April 16, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Nothing better to lift dem spirits than rocking out to your favorite SF band (Geographer) on a random Tuesday night (especially after a long, long day). Glad to have shared this experience with other diehards (new friend named Janette) who also knew the words to every song and had no shame shouting them out loud with you. Turns out we were both at the same Geographer show back in Jan too! What a treat it was for Mike to be extra active on our side of the stage (e.g sticking his guitar out in front of our face!) and even letting Janette push the button on his synthesizer to start ‘Original Sin‘! I also really enjoyed Mike and Duncan’s dueling guitar action at the end of ‘I’m ready’ (I’m ready for a replay!) The woodblocks in ‘Verona‘ and saxophone in ‘Walk on the Moon‘ are always consistent crowd-pleasers, and in case the crowd wasn’t pleased enough, Mike jumped right into his sea of fans to show them his love up close and personal.  Getting to hear their 2 new, unreleased tracks (‘Read My Mind‘ and ‘Something’s Missing‘) def has us anxiously awaiting the new album (scheduled to be out in the Fall). CAN’T WAIT! 🤗 I’m also stoked to check out Duncan’s other band (DONCAT) this Saturday (5/20) at Amnesia in SF. Thank gosh for musical medicine!<3<

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Previous reviews of Geographer at the Rickshaw Stop in Jan 2017 and way back in the day at the Independent in March 2012. This is my 9th time seeing them!

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When Things Fall Apart (Playlist: July 5, 2016)

When Things Fall Apart

Compiled Jul 5, 2016

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SUPER STOKED to SHARE this BEAST OF A PLAYLIST (80 songs, 5 1/2 hrs, >35 artists) that I’ve been distilling for over 2 months now.

It features bands I’ve recently seen in SF/Bay Area — Frightened Rabbit, Idlewild, Day Wave, Harriet, Beat Connection, Radical Face, Ben Abraham, Damien Jurado, Zach Winters, Holly Arrowsmith, Givers, The Temper Trap, Explosions in the Sky, Matt Corby, Mac Demarco, Andrew Bird, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Covet, Little Tybee — as well as at BottleRock NapaCold War Kids, San Fermin, WATERS, The Joy Formidable, Robert DeLong, Misterwives, Ivan & Alyosha, Machineheart, Walk the Moon, Nothing But Thieves, Kaleo, Panic is Perfect.

It also features AWESOME NEW DISCOVERIES that I haven’t yet seen in the flesh (Fuente and Waterstrider), as well as NEW RELEASE from some of my FAVORITE BANDS: Highasakite, Max Frost, Ben Sollee, Mumford & Sons, DOPE LEMON (Angus Stone‘s new side project), I am Machi, Holy Fuck, and MOST OF ALL… Augustines!   😀
(It was almost two years ago that I poured my heart and soul into a blog post about this band and how their music changed my life: https://beatsthatsetmypulse.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/augustines-to-rise-up-from-some-dirty-ashes/)

I could have chosen MANY songs to be the TITLE TRACK of this playlist, but I chose Augustine‘s ‘When Things Fall Apart (off their new album, This is Your Life) because of the hopeful message (“We go someplace, to get a new start, you gotta move on when things fall apart”) it radiates to those wandering  WANDERLUSTS this summer who are in search of a new inspiration and new sun in these summertime skies. It also –along with Mumford & Son‘s new album (Johannesburg) and new song, ‘There Will Be Time,’  — featured strong influences of African music, SETTING ME UP for my BIG TRIP TO AFRICA (Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa) this month!

Hopefully this new playlist will keep everyone FIRED UP from those 4th of July fireworks last night. Cheers to the SOUNDS OF SUMMER!

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When Things Fall Apart- Augustines
My Name Is Liar- Highasakite
First- Cold War Kids     
Woke up Hurting- Frightened Rabbit 
American English- Idlewild
Jackrabbit- San Fermin   
Got to My Head- WATERS
The Water- Fuente
May You Keep Well (feat. Pape & Cheikh)- Augustines
Someone Who’ll Get It- Highasakite
Midnight Moon- Waterstrider
The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade- The Joy Formidable   
Death Dream- Frightened Rabbit   
Ceremony- Day Wave   
Never Going Back – Caveman
Mine Is Yours- Cold War Kids   
Running in Place (feat. Pape & Cheikh)- Augustines
El Capitan – Idlewild
Long Way Down- Robert DeLong    
Constellation- Waterstrider
Keep That Letter Safe- Highasakite
Mystery- Fuente
Life Or Just Living- Caveman
Forgotten- Ben Sollee   
Hold Me Loneliness- Augustines
Bring Me When You Go- Harriet
Emily- San Fermin   
Let Them Stare- Waterstrider
Human- Caveman
It’s All Just Pretend- Ivan & Alyosha   
Mexico- Fuente
Pretend- Ben Sollee   
Get Out- Frightened Rabbit   
In The City- Caveman
The Mute- Radical Face   
Shut Up and Dance- Walk The Moon  
Speak- Ben Abraham   
Ad Space- Beat Connection   
These Are the Days- Zach Winters   
Sure Thang- Givers
Diamonds- Holly Arrowsmith   
The Road To Nowhere- Radical Face   
Fall Together- The Temper Trap   
Break- Frightened Rabbit  
Disintegration Anxiety- Explosions In The Sky   
Come Home Now- Day Wave   
Summer Skeletons-  Radical Face   
Vagabond- Misterwives
Monday- Matt Corby   
Salad Days- Mac DeMarco   
Wolves and Moons- Holly Arrowsmith   
You Are Who You Are- Day Wave  
Alive- The Temper Trap   
Pulaski – Andrew Bird   
President- Max Frost   
Cholla- The Joy Formidable   
Itch- Nothing But Thieves   
Reflections- Misterwives
There Will Be Time (With Baaba Maal)-  Mumford & Sons  
Logic Of A Dream- Explosions In The Sky   
Capsized- Andrew Bird       
Maw Maw Song- The Joy Formidable  
Why Dream- Matt Corby    
More Like Jason- Little Tybee  
Wona (With Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg)- Mumford & Sons   
Exit 353 – Damien Jurado   
Circles- Machineheart (& Vanic)
I’m Not Fooling Anyone (Bonus Track)- Ivan & Alyosha   
Sea Dragon- Covet  
I Can’t Go On Without You- Kaleo
Echo- Panic Is Perfect 
Shakedown Street – Unknown Mortal Orchestra   
Uptown Folks –  DOPE LEMON   (Angus Stone‘s new side project)
Are You Serious- Andrew Bird   
Hydra- Covet
Go Go Go- Panic Is Perfect     
Lon Bella- Damien Jurado   
Don’t Quit Your Day Job- Little Tybee   
Xed Eyes- Holy Fuck   
Jawbreaker- I Am Machi      

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Lyrics on Lockdown:

“We go someplace, to get a new start, you gotta move on when things fall apart.”  -When Things Fall Apart

“You were looking at pictures in the distance
Hoping to see, the future in your pictures
Of the distance, hoping to see
The future looking at pictures in the distance.” -El Capitan

“You’ll find what you find, 
When you find there’s nothing.” -American English

“All we ever need is energy…We brighten up…we raise a cup…we wash the wounds that leave us numb.” -Constellationn

“It doesn’t make all cloudy days worthwhile
It doesn’t make much sense to walk that extra mile
To assign you properties that are not real.”  -Keep That Letter Safe

“At least half of what I’ve done
Maybe more of who I am
Will be forgotten
Won’t be remembered
Like all the stories never told
The digital lives scattered in code
All of the footsteps that will never be traced
The forgotten ways of an ancient race.” -Forgotten

“And if you find yourself somewhere between dark and belief

Remember, remember to think on your knees…
Never trust that man who’s been smiling on his life
His fears will catch up in the end.”  -It’s All Just Pretend
“Some people say money, and others say plans
but I’m hungry for freedom that never changes hand.” -These Are the Days
“No man can know the length of his days…
Not here by chance but purposefully made
Don’t you know that our debt has already been paid
…we don’t have to be slaves to a world that promises much.” -Diamonds

“Raise your voice cause it’s now or never… And if we have to fall then we’ll fall together.” -Fall Together

“People always say, “Get out of your head
You’ve been there too long
Pretty soon, you’ll be dead”
Then I thought, oh, I’ve been thinking too hard
I should come down now to get out of my head.” -Come Home Now

“Vagabond is you,
Ran the mile no shoes
If the sun goes down too soon
Embrace the starry-eyed moon

Vagabond is you,
Swam the sea at the darkest blue
You made it, made it through.” -Vagabond

“So open up my eyes to a new light
I wandered ’round your darkened land all night
But I lift up my eyes to a new high
And indeed there will be time.” -There Will Be Time

“If you’re looking for a diamond
You gotta sift through the gold
If you’re searching for a way out
you gotta take the new road
If you don’t keep the motion moving
it can all feel the same
In the heart of the city
where the streets are the veins.” -Circle

 

Ben Abraham – “You’re hiding like a memory… Calling to the weakness in my soul”: The Independent (May 19, 2016)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I am very surprised that I never stumbled upon Ben Abraham when I was living in Melbourne last year (Jan – May), as I would have surely stopped in my tracks if I heard ‘Speak‘ as I passed by the usual buskers on Melbourne’s famous Bourke Street (wonder if he ever busked there). Speak is surely one of the standout tracks (in my opinion) on his debut album, Sirens (Secret Canadian).

A son of two Indonesian rockstars (both parents in a successful 70’s pop group called Pahama), Ben had music in his blood, and his relentless urge to “SPEAK” would eventually manifest into a musical masterpiece that would speak to more than Melbourne. “I never wanted to be a musician… I always wanted to be a filmmaker, and although I never quite made it down that path, that desire I had to tell stories still came with me,” Ben said to the crowd that night at The Independent as the opening act for the fantastic Damien Jurado (see review here). Ben’s desire to tell stories soon became a regular routine at his day job entertaining children in hospitals in Melbourne; Eight years later, he honed this craft into the beautiful album (Sirens) that has been sending SIRENS across international boundaries (esp. the UK, US and Canada). This album was recorded with a rotating cast of friends and collaborators including Gotye and Tim Shiel, as well as longtime friend Sara Bareilles (‘This is on Me‘).

Previously having played at Holwer in Melbourne (where I last saw Harrison Storm and Daniel Champagne) and the Servants Jazz Quarters in London (where I last saw Samantha Crain, Ben was eager to announce that tonight was his “first time in San Fran, and actually the first ever tour in the states.” Sporting a right red Hawaiian shirt and big grin, Ben (who usually is “not a fan of doing covers”), was all amped up and feeling “beachy enough” to cover what he thinks is “one of the greatest songs ever written,”Hyper Ballad‘ by Bjork. (He should definitely apply to play Iceland Airwaves… it was one of my favorite festivals of all time!)

 

As if that didn’t raise enough hairs on our arms, he followed with a gorgeous track called  ‘Home‘, and then with the epic encore of ‘Speak.’ Speak is a gorgeous song that just builds and builds with awesome anticipation, and by the end you might find yourself wiping tears off your face. The honest, timid lyrics about ‘wanting to communicate with others but somehow being pushed away’ is definitely a shared struggle most of us face, especially with the recent explosion of social media, and I hope we can all take Ben’s song as a call to humanity for deeper human connection. If the emotive, echoing effects of his vocals in the mic towards the end don’t “SPEAK” to you, then I’m not sure what will. Be sure to grab a copy of the album!

Damien Jurado – “My name is Damien Jurado, not Damien “Jutebox”: The Independent in SF (May 19, 2016)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

A former pre-school teacher in the days before his budding music career, Damien Jurado (Secretly Canadian record label) was well equipped to handle the crazy “kids” (all grown adults that were probably “secretly Canadian”) that were shouting out requests for their favorite songs. “My name is Damien ‘Jurado’… not Damien ‘Jutebox’…I’ll play what I want to play at my show” (see video footage below) he says in response with a snarky smile and perfect wit. He followed that up with an antidote about how he just “doesn’t do covers,” and how he was asked both in Germany and in the UK (by a respectable musician name Benn Watt, nonetheless) to play some cover songs while on tour. He said that the only cover songs he probably would know are punk-rock songs from bands like Minor Threat that he listened to WAY BACK in the day. When the the crowd cheered in agreement, he laughs and says, “How do you go from listening to Minor Threat to ME?…haha…Maybe you drank more?..” He follows this by saying that he actually has influences from all “over the map” that he hopes to “funnel into one thing” and that he “doesn’t want to be put in a box” or be known for “just one genre.” He mentions that while he “used to the solo thing,” he enjoys evolving musically, aka …“My albums keep getting weirder and weirder.” Personally, I hear similarities to Mark Kozelek, Kurt Vile, and Jose Gonzalez, but was later told by Damien that he respects those artists but actually doesn’t draw from them musically. He mentioned someone obscure (a foreign name that I can’t recall), and I only smiled imaging how big this world is and how many incredibly diverse music style there are out there. 🙂

“You like to talk, don’t you? I feel like I’m having a conversation but I don’t know who with and where you are,” Damien belts out after the chatty crowd continues to shout comments his way. There was one fan in particular, “Mohammad from Egypt,” that Damien actually paused his song for because of Mohammad’s LOUD SIGH that indicated a potential “heart attack.” Damien was baffled by this fan’s adoration (waving his arms up in the air all goofy like a star-struck teenager), and implied being a bit overwhelmed with Mohammad yelling out that he would be “seeing him again in Minnesota” and “CAN’T WAIT.”

Although Damien seemed to be surprised by all of the attention, he surely showed his appreciation. He mentioned being super excited for the San Francisco show, recalling the exact moment (en route on a train from Barcelona to Amsterdam) when he has this very thought (“I love playing SF”). He said that he also loves playing Spain and Greece, possibly because the people there are very expressive, a stark contrast from the “Seattle-ites” that sport stolid facial expressions and movements even when the are excited (we all really enjoyed his demonstration of this on stage!). Haha.

He also joked that if anyone wanted to get married that evening, his bassist could marry them, as he just got done marrying a couple in the back.

 

If anything, I think we were all married to the fact that Damien is a  awesome, admirable musician who one should only be so lucky enough enough to have an intimate “show and tell” with, especially tracks performed from the ace new album, Visions of Us on Land. We look forward to your return, but we expect as least ONE COVER! 😛
(I tease, I tease…)  ❤

(see below for videos from the show)

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Owl Paws: “I know there’s a reason wild and true…why I had to hurt you” – Bottom of the Hill (March 25, 2016)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I first discovered Owls Paws when they opened for Samantha Crain at Amnesia back in January, and then of course made sure to SEE THEM AGAIN when they headlined Bottom of the Hill a few months later. The are SO GOOD. This talented folk trio has been playing together for nearly 5 years — not long after Derek Schultz (guitar/vocals) decided to extend his solo project to include fellow San Francisco State school buddies Timothy Vickers (upright bass) and Lucas Siobal (drums/percussion), and later Wayne Mills (guitar). Their haunting harmonies, alluring acoustics, and restless rhythms truly epitomize the appeal of the beautiful city in which we reside! Just like San Francisco, their sound is distinctive and captivating, and they draw influences from a variety of elements (including some of my favorite indie/folk bands like Local Natives and the Head and the Heart.

Owl Paws released their first full-length album, Reservoir, last summer, and it’s DEFINITELY worth checking out. In fact, you are bound to be keep checking out that bad boy over and OVER. You can even download it here FOR FREE! (although donations are suggested and well deserved): https://owlpaws.bandcamp.com

Standout tracks for me are: Bring Me Back (my FAVORITE), Coils of Spring, Eyes of the Prey, The Things I Forgot, The Fields, and Jagged Grin.

Having gone on several small West Coast tours an SXSW last year, and I really think THIS SUMMER is their TIME TO SHINE. Don’t miss their UPCOMING SHOW at Brick and Mortar tomorrow night. You’ll thank me later!

(see below for videos from their previous SF shows)

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Radical Face: “So, collect your scars and wear ’em well, Your blood’s a good an ink as any” – The Chapel (May 12, 2016)

The Chapel, San Francisco
Written by Erica Andreozzi

I first saw Radical Face back in Nov 2014 at Iceland Airwaves music festival, thanks to a girl standing next to me up front who said I MUST stay for his set (and boy was I glad I did). Not having known anything about him, I was quickly taken back by the clever tales that he strung into dark (yet witty) songs — tales backed by sweeping strings (my favorite, the cello!) and piercing percussion. I later learned that Radical Face – the moniker of multifaceted musician Ben Cooper — has “always wanted to write a book,” and so it makes sense that his songs are literally book chapters COME TO LIFE. At the early age of 19, Ben wrote two books that tragically were lost in a hard drive crash; but instead of giving up, he turned to music. “I thought: why not do them as records? There could be a set of people, and we follow their bloodlines,” he says, “and instead of passing down genetic traits, we could pass down melodic patterns that mutate with each generation.”

Taking flight with this idea, Ben began working on a series of records (recorded in the tool-shed behind my family’s house nonetheless) collectively called ‘The Family Tree.’ He explains the 8-year journey here: “It all began from a desire to write my own family saga, only in music form instead of a novel. So I started a series of albums that were all interconnected, beginning with The Roots, onto The Branches and finally The Leaves which I just released. Along the way, there were enough songs that didn’t fit within the length of each album, which I collected into a series called The Bastards. All of the songs are related to the others in some way or another, and this website was designed as a guide to help you discover all the different connections… A great place to start is ‘Family Portrait‘ which is the beginning of the Family Tree, all songs and stories stem from this one.”

This TREE-O of records (Bear Machine Records, Nettwerk Music Group) collectively garnered a strong fan base for Ben both in Europe (especially) and the States, and Ben was able to secure two nights back-to-back at the Chapel, the first of which was SOLD OUT. A down-to-earth Jacksonville native, Ben was shocked to see that all these people came to see him play some “sad bastard music” on a weeknight, and warned them of going “down the bummed rabbit hole.” Although some of his songs are indeed “dark” — ‘Ghost Town‘ (about a guy that ends up on the road cause he murders alot), ‘Black Eyes‘ (about domestic abuse), ‘The Mute‘ (about a kid who can’t hear) — he adds lots of levity in between with his dry humor and hilarious commentary. Standouts for me were Black Eyes, We’re on our way (with some intense hand-clapping that Ben joked was really a way to torture his band mates), Welcome Home (awesome “anthem-ic” sing-a-long by the crowd), and OF COURSE Always Gold (where Ben teased his drummer Nick about messing up the keyboard intro, haha). The encore of The Mute and Wrapped in Piano Strings (an oldie but goodie) were awesome as well, and we all perked up with a smile when Ben muttered “Don’t tempt me” in response to a fan requesting that he “Take his shirt off.” The only thing I left bummed about was not hearing ‘The Crooked Kind,’ as this is my absolute FAVORITE Radical Face song, and I was hoping to sing-a-long to the verse that still slays me every time: “So, collect your scars and wear ’em well, Your blood’s a good an ink as any.” For those of you on the East Coast, you can catch him next in Philly, NYC, and the Newport Folk Fest. A radical Radical Face that you definitely don’t want to miss!

(see below for videos and more detail from the show)

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Milo Greene- “Even if your heart stops, I’ll be there to hold you up”-Brick & Mortar (Feb 17, 2016)

Brick & Mortar, San Francisco
Written by Erica Andreozzi

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Glad to have caught Milo Greene this month after finding out last minute about them doing a show at Brick & Mortar as part of a Jukely event.  The last time I saw them was at a Culture Collide festival back in October for a stripped back acoustic set at The Swedish Music Hall. Looking back, each show was super special and unique in its own way. I always find it very impressive when bands can perform both acoustic and electric versions of their albums with flawless execution. Milo Greene does this extremely well, and their harmonies never fail to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

I was excited when they kicked off their set early with Lie to Me, for it’s my favorite from their most recent album, Control (Atlantic Records). Robbie shed his guitar for this one to lead on vocals, and his call-and-response harmonies with Marlena are nothing short of perfect: “And you want what I’ll never be…Can’t you just lie to me?.. Lie to me.” I also really enjoyed the catchy guitar arrangements led by Graham and Charlie (Andrew’s new temporary replacement).

Next, Curtis’ passionate percussion were a perfect compliment to Marlena’s provocative lyrics in White Lies (another top track from the recent album): “And it’s not right, to keep on leading me on…From now on I won’t try, I’ll just be your white lie.”

Then came Heartless, another song from the new album that started with everyone huddled around Curtis (“The Tron”) and with Robbie joining him for some DOUBLE DRUMMING action. The anticipation was pretty SIIIIICK.

Graham’s vocals took center stage soon after with Cutty Love, and I remember first being caught off WAY OFF GUARD when I felt the power behind those pipes. He definitely covers the deep end in the group, rounding out Robbie’s tenor and Marlena’s alto/soprano with his mighty bass: “Even if your heart stops,I’ll be there to hold you up…Even as the world turns, I’ll be there to watch the fire burn…Burn us both alive.” HOT DAMN.

Just before introducing a new song that they have not yet released, Marlena confesses that she “always gets nervous when they play in San Francisco because it’s the place where it all began for them- it’s like coming around full circle.” You would never know that they were any anxious nerves behind that cool-as-a-cucumber exterior, for Marlena always owns the stage and makes you wish you were that badass chick up with there amongst 4 dudes. Nevertheless, that nervous confession quickly prompted a some males in the front row to serve her up a few tequila shots, and she took both of them back LIKE A CHAMP.

The timing of this liquid courage was pretty clutch, adding even more zest to the tasty teaser of what’s to come in their next album- a new song called Dozen Times that I could definitely hear again A DOZEN TIMES.

Up after that was an old dreamy gem, Perfectly Aligned, and I really enjoy the “Oooo-oo-ooooo Ooo-ooo-ooo” vocal harmonies perfectly aligning with Curtis’ DRUM-SET DESTRUCTION. Soooooo freaking good.

All warmed up now by the tequila, Marlena delivered a red-hot, racy rendition of Lonely Eyes, and her dancing on stage must have lit some people’s fire. Curtis’ drum were also pretty fiery in this one, and he didn’t even have any tequila!

Saving one of their major radio hits for last, Milo Greene unites the audience in a final sing-a-long to 1957, with everyone in the room shouting: “I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go I… I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go I… Takes me away, takes me away, takes me away.” This show surely TAKES ME AWAY to a proper place of musical escape.  ❤

(see below for videos and more detail from the show)

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Tow’rs- “Just Because We’re Breathing Doesn’t Mean We’re Alive”: Neck of the Woods (Feb 12, 2016)

Neck of the Woods, San Francisco
Written by Erica Andreozzi

Ever since I first stumbled upon Tow’rs from a promotional sampler on Noisetrade, I DROPPED MY JAWS in disbelief. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BAND? Where are they hiding?! Well, turns out they are hiding in Flagstaff, a small town in Arizona that I (oddly enough) know quite well after spending a summer there in 2007 (internship with W.L. Gore & Associates). I felt an instant connection with them, and was incredulous over the fact that they came from a place I was so deeply fond of.  I soon learned that the band was born out of husband and wife duo, Kyle and Gretta Miller, who had been playing music with their best friends — Emma Crislip, Kyle Keller, Kory Miller — for many years (six to be exact) before finally realizing that they needed to bring this music beyond their local Church scene and into the general public. Just like that, the foundation of Tow’rs was laid down- a foundation of folk roots, soothing strings, and happy harmonies that would build one of the BEST BREAKOUT indie/folk bands of 2015 (in my opinion). I guess it’s true when they say that BEST FRIENDS truly make the BEST MUSIC, and I was happy to find “a place at their table” last Saturday night. 🙂

“Through our music, we explore the questions that haunt us, the pain that marks us, and the hope that redefines everything for us.  We invite you into the conversation, build with us, find your place at the table.” -Tow’rs

HUGE THANKS to Tow’rs for coming out west to captivate us with their live set, slaying us with songs like The Kitchen and Circles, both from their newest (and my most favorite) album, The Great Minimum. I really enjoyed meeting the beautiful people behind this beautiful music, and hope that they leave a bit of their heart in San Francisco and come back soon. When they do, I seriously hope they tour with one of my other new favorite folk artists, Zach Winters (who I think would be perfect compliment). For those fans of The Head and the Heart, Horse Feathers, Of Monsters and Men, Blind Pilot, The Oh Hellos, and Typhoon, you HAVE GOT to check them out.

Fresh off their win (‘Emerging Artist’) from the 2015 Viola Awards, Tow’rs released a new album (The Great Minimum) in June 2015. It follows up their well-received debut self-titled album from 2014.

 (see below for videos and more detail from the show)

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Tow’rs had me FREAKING OUT when they kicked off their set with my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE, The Kitchen. The captivating cello intro hooks you HARD and soon has you swaying with every stoke of the bow. Once it does, you can’t help but fall into a reverie imagining how this next verse would play out:

“You made me dance in the kitchen with you
If I was the night then you were the moon
Expectation is the currency of fools   (LOVE)
I spent it on you, I spent it on you.”

This one is another favorite from their collection, and I especially enjoy the plead of electric guitar that perfectly compliments the “pleeeeeease come home” plead throughout.

The beginning of this next one initially reminded me of an old Bombay Bicycle Club song (acoustic) but then came into its own when the perky percussion picked up the pace at the first chorus (“It’s not black or white but in between”).

This next one was major crowd-pleaser and obvious favorite from their debut album

Loved the staggering call-and-response vocals from husband and wife, Kyle and Gretta.

This next one is a definite favorite from their recent album, and I can’t help but belt out the chorus of “Just because we’re breathing doesn’t mean we are alive.” TRUTH BE TOLD. Turns out that Helm is also a favorite of Kyle and Gretta, for it was inspired by the birth of their first son (now almost 1 year old) and about the nervous anticipation that often accompanies such big life changes.

Was really impressed to learn the this one was written by the cellist, Emma, who I was lucky enough to flag down after the show. Cello players hold a very special place in my heart, for cello had come to be my favorite string instrument. I can’t quite pin down what about this instrument makes me melt, but it DOES. Props to Emma for hammering on my heartstrings all night. Also mad props to Kyle for alternating between electric guitar, harmonica, and trumpet throughout the set- a modest multi-instrumentalist who was as pleasant to chat with as he was to watch!

Loved this STUNNING version of Circles as their encore. This here is perfect proof that BEST FRIENDS really do make the BEST MUSIC. I was grinning EAR-TO-EAR as I watched them exchange smiles and laughs while they serenaded the crowd with their dreamy harmonies and soul-stroking lyrics: “Circles are the perfect shape…to describe the hearts of man.” Hands down my favorite part of the night. ❤

 

Show Me the Way (Playlist: Feb 16, 2016)

Show Me the Way

Compiled Feb 16, 2016

New playlist inspired by past shows (City & Colour, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats, Samantha Crain, Max Frost, Penguin Prison, Tow’rs) as well as new discoveries (Owl Paws, Meet Me in Orbit) from awesome opening performances. I especially tip my hat to Owl Paws (reminds me of Local Natives a bit), Meet me in Orbit (reminds me of Geographer and Radio Dept. a bit), and Midi Matilda, three local bands that are really making names for themselves in the SF/Oakland music scene.

Max Frost, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats, Penguin Prison, and Tow’rs were definite STANDOUTS for me overall, and you can read more about them in my blog reviews (Tow’rs review coming soon!). Knowing that I loved Max Frost, one of my expert music buddies recommended I check out Caught a Ghost, a LA-based artist that surely DID peak my interest (hints of Max Frost and Prefuse 73) and who I hope makes his way up to NorCal for a tour. Other new discoveries were King Charles (a London-based artist affiliated with Mumford & Sons), The Royal Concept, Elle King, and Hurricane Dean. I thank my sister for introducing me to Elle King, and I’m stoked to see Elle at the Fox Theater in Oakland at the end of this month. Hurricane Dean was a lucky find through two German dudes that I met at the Penguin Prison show in SF. The guitar riff in their song, Flat Random Noise, reminds me of Foals (specifically the song, Balloons) and the vocals remind me of Vampire Weekend – two bands that I LOVE!

I’m not surprised that I met peeps with good music taste at Penguin Prison, for that show was a BLAST and had me dancing in a state of ecstasy ALL NIGHT. ‘Show Me the Way,’ was as STANDOUT track for me and will serve as my go-to theme song for the rest of this month.

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Here’s a Spotify playlist with most of the songs (some still missing):

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You can download all of the songs (out of order) from my link on Box.com

https://app.box.com/s/d1xth8tvfd54c0ozx8wp6ybnect4ydrb

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Coco Chitty- King Charles   

Lover Come Back- City And Colour          

Ex’s & Oh’s- Elle King    

Show Me The Way- Penguin Prison   

Thank You- Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats   

Fashion- The Royal Concept

The Swan & the East- Tow’rs       

Sleeping At Night- Caught A Ghost       

The Things I Forgot- Owl Paws    

Flat Random Noise- Hurricane Dean     

Lady Percy- King Charles 

Calling Out- Penguin Prison    

Wasting Time- Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats  

Paranoia- Max Frost

No Sugar In My Coffee- Caught A Ghost   

The Fields- Owl Paws    

Don’t Fuck with My Money- Penguin Prison

We Are Grown- Meet Me in Orbit        

Circles- Tow’rs   

Caught in a Daze- Penguin Prison

Stranger – Midi Matilda    

Nice and Slow- Max Frost

If I Had a Dollar- Samantha Crain  

 

 

 

 

Max Frost: “Life is a game just stay strong, One day your moment will come, You’ve got to shine till then” – Bottom of the Hill (Jan 23, 2016)

Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco
Written by Erica Andreozzi
Yes, he is playing acoustic guitar and electric guitar SIMULTANEOUSLY. That’s right. You’ll often see Max with two guitars strapped on his back and a drumstick in hand. Somehow, he also manages to layer in vocals too — ANGELIC VOCALS.

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Max Frost is anything BUT Frosty. This MULTI-TALENTED, multi-instrumentalist from Austin will have you BURNING UP with a fever BEFORE YOU KNOW IT.  Hints of Chet Faker vocals, Glass Animals grooves, Gnarls Barkley beats, The Neighborhood‘s nastiness (if ya know what I mean)… DISCO INFERNO (hot hot hot!) 😛

Moved by music since he was a wee tot, Max’s experience playing in various blues/grassroots bands and collaborating with various hip-hop artists enabled him to cultivate a unique, eclectic brand of his own: Heart-felt soul steeped with blues, R&B, trip-hop and electronic pop. Sounds like a mouthful, and it IS..  a mouthful that you surely want to GET YOUR FILL OF!!  Max is BLOWING UP big time and you’ll definitely want to catch him early before he is playing huge venues. Atlantic Records has shrewdly snatched him up and is already sending him on tour to far away places like Australia before our neighbors across the pond. I can just now picture those Aussies jumping up and down like “kangas” once exposed to his INTOXICATION (EP, overall vibe!)

I can’t wait for Max to return to SF for his own headline show. His 45 min set at Bottom of the Hill was too short, ultimately leaving us in “suspended animation” until next time. 😉

(See below for more detail and videos from the show)

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Nice and Slow one is FOR THE LOVERS – it had us winking at strangers and swaying “nice and slow” with our neighbors. There’s no denying it’s subtle sexiness and amorous allure. ❤

It is IMPOSSIBLE to not be shaking EVERY LIMB OF YOUR BODY with a FRENZIED FEVER while listening to Withdrawal. Everyone’s bottoms were shaking at Bottom of the Hill that night. The song is just as it sounds!

White Lies for the EPIC ENCORE!! It’s safe to say that WE ALL left Bottom of the Hill with BOTTOMLESS BLISS after that one.

 

Favorite tracks: Glow Long, Nice and Slow, Be Who You Want to Be, White Lies, Withdrawal.

Toured with: Fitz and The Tantrums & Gary Clark Jr

Similar acts: Caught a Ghost (check him out!)

Kicking off 2016 with Geographer at The Big One: “I know what I know, I’ll sing what I said.”

Bill Graham Civic Center (San Francisco, CA)
Written by Erica Andreozzi

Finally getting around to posting my pics from Geographer‘s EPIC SET at THE BIG ONE NYE event in San Francisco (Bill Graham Civic Center). I was surely grinning EAR-TO-EAR when they played my favorite three cover songs from their recent EP, Endless Motion: (1) Paul Simon‘s ‘I Know What I Know, (2) Arthur Russel‘s ‘This is How We Walk on the Moon‘, and (3) New Order‘s ‘Age of Consent.’ Can’t WAIT for their upcoming tour! 🙂

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Could not have imagined a BETTER WAY to kick off 2016 than to be ROCKING OUT in SF to one of my FAVORITE SF bands of all time — Geographer had my head-bopping hard and grinning wide with their AMAZING NYE SET, including the EPIC COVER of Paul Simon‘s ‘I Know What I Know.’ SO SURREAL to finally hear this LIVE after listening to it NON-STOP for WEEKS since it’s release (Endless Motion EP) in early December! My heart is full. ❤

Can’t even EXPLAIN my anticipation for FINALLY hearing this song LIVE after being first hearing it 2 years ago and being HYPNOTIZED. That catchiness cadency behind that cello’s siiiiiick undulating rhythm is simply ADDICTIVE, and it’s a sure fire way to keep “moving me up” throughout any circumstance. This one will DEFINITELY be on my playlist for the San Francisco marathon in July. “Every step is moving me up…EVERY STEP IS MOVING ME.”

Geographer ended their AMAZING SET at THE BIG ONE NYE event with this gleeful gem. It’s hard to not smile widely and grin as your shake your hips (as per Mike’s request midway through) and bop your head to beats of that wood block. EPIC ENCORE with a SIMPLE New Year’s resolution:

“And it’s the simplest things we want
But we can never see enough
And it’s the simplest things we want.”