Caroline Smith: “If you gotta guy like mine then read the signs don’t lose your mind make the drive to Jefferson”” – Live at the Independent in SF (Dec 9, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi


I had no idea that walking into the Independent early to check out the opener for Overcoats would have me walking out with a new favorite artist: Caroline Smith, a neo-soul, R&B singer with indie-folk roots who formerly released two albums with her band Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps before putting out a solo debut album back in 2013 called ‘Half About Being a Woman.

What hooked me right away with Caroline, beside her stunning vocals, was her radical candor and sassy songwriting, eminent in the first new track she played (video below) which unfortunately  I did not catch the name of:

“I will not pretend, I will not put on a smile, I will say I’m alright for you, when all I wanted was to be good, to do everything in truth…
You bloody mother fucking asshole
You bloody mother fucking asshole
You bloody mother fucking asshole
You bloody mother fucking asshole”

I thoroughly enjoyed this super-cathartic, super-sassy “ode to asshole” and could not stop smiling at the thought of this petite, innocent-looking lil’ lady shocking an ex-lover with her spunky, sassafras anthems. I couldn’t get enough of her spitfire lyrics and was super excited when she continued to breathe fire with a track called ‘Jefferson‘ (video below) — one that definitely puts fire under the ass!

“Chewing on some gum walking home and feeling dumb for giving into him another night
God damn it’s the way he stays just far enough away to waste my time   
I coulda told you I was only setting up the deck against myself, again.
If you gotta guy like mine then read the signs don’t lose your mind make the drive to Jefferson”

Such a sassy, witty, FEEL GOOD JAM that I could listen to OVER AND OVER. Sooooo good.

Caroline then treated us to a few new tracks (videos below),  ‘Animal‘ (“You’re an animal, you’re an animal, you’re an animal I’m the CRIMINAL… cause I’m one too”) and ‘Bad habit‘ (“I gotta bad habit of living rich on minimum wage .. I gotta bad habit for loving you… is the worst one.. the worst one”), both of which I can’t wait to be released.

Check out her track ‘Bloodstyle‘ — also so freaking good!
Tagline: MISTER SISTER // MINNEAPOLIS OUTLAW // WOMAN IN THE INDUSTRY

 

 

 

She Keeps Bees: “Basic right we must defend, To choose whether and when… Our bodies are our home” – the Independent in SF (Sept 25, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Jessica of She Keeps Bees is SO FREAKING AWESOME. I am SO GLAD I got to catch her opening for Benjamin Booker earlier this week at The Independent. First off, she is HILARIOUS (a legit comedian), making us roar with laughter the entire set as she made fun of herself on stage (“I never wear heels so if I trip on stage, please send it in to funniest home videos and win some money”) and belted out whatever the hell was on her mind (I freaking LOVE THAT). Secondly, she SLAYS INJUSTICE (politics, healthcare, discrimination, etc.) with powerful messages that she wails ferociously on stage. With vocals that remind me a bit of Florence and the Machine and a style that reminds me of Sharon Van Etten (who I found out later she is good friends with and used to jam with in Brooklyn), she certainly captured everyone’s full attention. Highlights included tracks like ‘Our Bodies’ and ‘Head of Steak’ that reflect her frustrations with the government and civil rights. She dedicated ‘Our Bodies’ to “healthy vaginas,” shedding light on issues with the US healthcare system and plans to cut funding for Planned Parenthood (for which all proceeds of this song are donated to). She said she wrote this song “as I watched my mother’s fight become my own” and she hopes it will instigate people fight for their rights of basic healthcare. When chatting with Jessica after the set (she’s just as vibrant off stage as she is on), she was excited to hear that I was working on developing therapies for neurodegenerative disorders because her uncle (who she was close with) suffered with motor and cognitive dysfunction. Sooner or later we got to talking about music and memory. The nerd in me can only stay hostage for so long! Can’t wait to see her again! ❤

*Check out more videos on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

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Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

Wake Up (Playlist: May 3, 2017)

Wake Up

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi
(photo courtesy of Ashley Hirst)

A WAY OVERDUE playlist that I CANNOT WAIT TO SHARE. For anyone that needs a WAKE UP call, this ONE’S FOR YOU! The title track (‘Wake Up‘) features an LA-based band (Magic Bronson) that was one of my FAVORITE new discoveries at SXSW this year. They have such a unique, eclectic sound that I can’t seem to bin into a certain genre, and I LOVE THAT. Elements of electronic, rock, hip-hop come alive with their emotionally-charged lyrics and unpredictable beats and tempos. Their songs truly are roller coaster rides that have you jumping up and down with bulging carotids (at least mine were) at every shocking twist and turn. Other new discoveries at SXSW include Giungla (on tour with Foals), LANY, DYAN, Charlotte Cardin, and KOLARS.  AND… after 2 years of waiting, I finally CAUGHT A GHOST at SXSW and have been smiling ever since: “HOLD YOUR HANDS UP HIGH, MY LOVE I’LL SEE YOU BY AND BY.” Yaaaaas. Can’t wait their new album to drop in a few months! This playlist also features artists from recent shows (San Fermin, The XX, Milky Chance, Bastille, Low Roar, Laura Marling, Joe Purdy, Mondo Cozmo, ARIZONA, Tow’rs) and those with recent album/song releases (Sylvan Esso, Lewis Del Mar, Highasakite, Day Wave, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Vok, Sam Airey, Cobi, Passport to Stockholm, Father John Misty, Beats Antique). Having first discovered San Fermin last year at BottleRock Napa, I was eager to check them again at The Independent with Low Roar (who I was already a big fan of) and I’m SO GLAD I DID (in fact I went both nights in a row!). San Fermin’s previously dubbed “chamber pop” has now exploded into looser, livelier full-force operation of 8 incredibly talented musicians OWNING their instruments and having THE TIME OF THEIR LIFE doing so. It is rare to see a collection of keys, guitar, drums, trumpet, sax, base, violin, and vocals complementing each other so perfectly in deliriously infectious arrangement that keeps your head bopping all night long. SO STOKED to see them again at Outside Lands in August! Now check out this killer 50-song playlist!

(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!)

*Check out full videos on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

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Low Roar – “I wanna feel something again… memorable”: The Independent in SF (April 24 & 25, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

It had been very long time since Ryan Karazija’s lovely “low roar” has been heard within his former stomping ground of San Francisco, and this SF Bay Area native had kept us longing for his return. We had all hoped that “once in a long long while” (ironically the name of his new album) he would be back, and that time came Mon/Tues night at The Independent . Just as I remembered, Ryan’s beautiful, mysterious melodies have a special way of seeping into the psyche and having you join him on very personal journey through perfect contradictions of fear/love and doubt/faith. His haunting howls will lather you in chills and make you feel the cold shock of his move from California to Iceland back in 2011 (one that sure takes immense strength). I was fortunate to have discovered Low Roar back in 2014 at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival (made me fall in love with Iceland even more), and was so hooked that I saw them a week later in London at The Lexington as part of their Ja Ja Ja Music festival. (I still have the free bag they gave and actually brought it along last night). I also brought with me a stage-layout paper that Ryan signed for me that night – can’t believe it held up through all my wanderlusting travels since then! It was surreal to be seeing Low Roar again last night and having Ryan give me a big hug after the show. It’s times like these where I feel strong melancholy for London music scene and exposure to more international music from Europe and Scandinavia (especially Iceland!). Although Low Roar won’t be playing Secret Solstice Festival in June, I know I will see them again the next time our paths intersect. Old gems like ‘I’ll Keep Coming’ and ‘Easy Way Out’ are timeless tracks that I revisit again and again when “I wanna feel something again … memorable.” Can’t wait to dive into the new album. More timeless tracks to unearth. #lowroar #sanfermintour #theindependentsf #icelandicmusicscene #onceinalonglongwhile #newalbumtour #longedforhisreturn 👌🏻

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A goofy montage with the talented Ryan Karazija of Low Roar. So glad to catch them at The Independent two night in a row. It had been almost 3 years since I saw them last in London. Too long of a wait! #lowroar #goofymontage #newalbumtour #onceinalonglongwhile

*Check out full videos from the night on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

 

 

San Fermin – “Oh I wish I kept myself a little better company… oh I try ot put a good face on … someone better come for me”: The Independent in SF (April 24 & 25, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Having first discovered San Fermin last year at BottleRock Napa, I was eager to check them again at The Independent with Low Roar , who I was already a big fan (and whom they met at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in 2013). I learned that their tour circuits led to play alongside some of my favorite artists (courtney barnett, alt-J, Sylvan Esso, Lewis Del Mar), and their close ties with Alt-J could possibly explain the sax/trumpet in their new track, ‘In Cold Blood.’ On tour to promote their new album, Belong, San Fermin’s previously dubbed “chamber pop” has exploded into looser, livelier full-force operation of 8 incredibly talented musicians OWNING their instruments and having THE TIME OF THEIR LIFE doing so. It is rare to see a collection of keys, guitar, drums, trumpet, sax, base, violin, and vocals complementing each other so perfectly in deliriously infectious arrangement that keeps your head bopping all night long. San Fermin’s energy and charisma were simply magnetic, and you couldn’t help but notice the entire audience sharing the same music buzz. It was refreshing to see the comfort and chemistry of all 8 musicians together on stage (as if best friends playing in their living room), and the dueling duets of vocals (Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate) and brass (John Brandon and Stephen Chen) had you grinning ear-to-ear. Also, the swirling strings and expressive of violinist/vocalist Claire Wellin (former Broadway actress) had me in awe. Allen’s baritone voice simply SLAYS, and I can’t help but be reminded of The National‘s Matt Berninger in his cadence, pitch, and smooth stage presence. After the show I learned that Allen (from Philly as well!) writes his own music and recently joined Kyle Morton of Typhoon (big fan). I also learned that Ellis Ludwig-Leone (creator of San Fermin) got his start by composing various projects with Nico Muhly (Sufjan Stevens, Dirty Projectors). Makes perfect sense! From BottleRock to Outside Lands, I cannot WAIT to see this Brooklyn-based band again. I hope that John Brandon, who surprised SF with his first ever crowd surf while playing trumpet, will pull crazier stunts in August. NOT TO BE MISSED! There is a REASON I saw them TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW!! 😀

*Check out full videos from the night on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

 

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

 

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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