The Head and the Heart: “If you think that you’re lost, you can follow the bridges you’ve crossed… You can turn it around, there’s nobody blocking your way” – The Greek Theater in Berkeley (Oct 7, 2016)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

After a 4 year hiatus of being away from this stunning Seattle-based sextex (The Head and the Heart) while I was living abroad, it was time to get my HEAD and my HEART aligned with some new SIGNS OF LIGHT. This new album (released this month) has hammered on my heartstrings with such intensity that I almost feel like they were READING MY MIND when they wrote it. Kicking it off with ‘All We Ever Knew‘ had me instantly hooked: “I’m feeling low, feeling high, feeling down, why isn’t this enough?… It’s time to wake up from this” AND “if you think that you’re lost, you can follow the bridges you’ve crossed” — you can ‘Turn it Around,” for “There’s nobody blocking your way, taking you down.” TRUTH. Frontman Jonathan Russel (whose hand I shook at the end of their set!) reinforced this mindset with his positive comments on San Francisco, a “city where you can pretty much do anything.” It’s also a place where you can quickly escape into nature (like I did the next day frolicking in the Redwoods), BE STILL, and savor Jonathan’s wise words in ‘Your Mother’s Eyes‘: “My only regret’s taking so long, Finding these simple truths, So I could sing for you.”  ❤  My heart was even fuller this evening with The Head and the Heart recruiting ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS OF ALL TIME, Tallest Man on Earth, as their opener. Review on him coming soon!

Standing Rock (Playlist: Oct 31, 2016)

Standing Rock
Compiled Oct 31, 2016

New playlist inspired by recent shows, especially that of Trevor Hall, an amazing artist and unbelievably generous, kind (heart-of-gold) human being. In honor the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota, Trevor and his friend Aaron Edwards wrote a song called ‘Standing Rock‘ to encourage the Sioux people to continue to “stand up up like a mountain” and protect their basic right for WATER, “one of life’s most vital resources for our children’s children’s children.” Trevor was inspired by all of the warriors on the front lines laying down their lives for WATER, calling them “mountains of themselves, touching the sky with their peaks of strength, love, and selfless service.” But because these “mountains” need food, tents, blankets, and other materials in order to keep standing tall, Trevor is donating 100% of the funds raised by downloading his song to the front lines of Standing Rock. Everyone should go find their INNER WARRIOR and STAND UP HERE: https://trevorhallmusic.bandcamp.com/  *It will hammer on your heartstrings like it did Megan‘s and mine that night we first heard Trevor sing it at Sweetwater Music Hall*

“Listen close my friend
This is happening
Warrior Warrior

If you are a rock
Stand up like a mountain
Rise up from the earth
One Love One Message
I know that we are strong in spirit
And if you are the righteous, hear it
If you are a rock
Stand up like a mountain.”

Aside from ‘Standing Rock‘, this playlist features a other slay-worthy gems from Trevor’s tall treasure trove: The Promised Land “Sometimes I don’t feel at home
Like exodus in my own soul, And I wanna return”, Kabir, To Zion (Jen’s favorite!), Wish Man, Great Mirror, and Holy Country. It also features tracks from recent shows (The Head and the Heart, Blossoms, Night Riots, Mondo Cozmo, Ryley Walker, Kaleo, The Wind and the Wave, Bishop Briggs, Sylvan Esso, Local Natives, Bon Iver, Phantogram, Rayland Baxter, Blind Pilot, Nicolas Jaar) and upcoming shows (Cobi, The Boxer Rebellion, Kishi Bashi, Benjamin Francis Leftwich), as well as new releases from Sin Fang, Vok, Roosevelt, Saint Motel, and Solander. Check out the killer 50-song playlist on Spotify! STAND UP LIKE A MOUNTAIN. ❤

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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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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. ❤