Tag: San Francisco CA

New Video: Killer Whale Performs “Plenty of Time” at Downman Sounds Studios

New Orleans-based indie rock ‘n’ soul act Killer Whale is led by its frontman Thomas Johnson, who spent several years living and gigging in San Francisco before returning to Louisiana — and as a result, his work manages to infuse surf rock with the swamp, among other influences. The New Orleans-based act’s forthcoming album Tastes Like Yesterday is slated for a September 18, 2020 release though Devil In The Woods Records — and the album’s latest single “Plenty of Time” is a slow-burning track that’s one part old-school Muscle Shoals soul, one part breezy surf rock that’s centered around Johnson’s soulful crooning, an infectious hook, some jangling guitar work, some congo and simple backbeat. But at its core, the song manages to balance a wistful ache with a sobering realism: the song is about taking your time when you’re making the decision to stay with a lover or  move on. It ain’t an easy decision; it has a life altering implications for you and for the other person — and as a result, the song carries a profoundly heavy weight. 

Directed by Scott Lebell, the recently released video follows Killer Whale’s frontman as he travels to the studio to record “Plenty of Time” at Downman Sounds Studios. 

Starlight Girls · Teenage Crime

Brooklyn-based indie rock act Starlight Girls can trace their origins back to 2011, when Christina Bernard (vocals), an Ohio-born megachurch chorister turned rocker and Shaw Walters (guitar), a San Francisco-born, guitar savant and tech wizard met and decided to start a band. Bernard and Walters found their bandmates — Sara Mundy (keys) and Isabel Alvarez (backing vocals), two Long Island-born theater junkies, Tysen Arveson (bass), a Seattle-born, Hawaii-raised art freak and Josh Davis (drums), a University of Michigan educated jazz drummer through Craigslist.

The band initially emerged into the public eye through a wildly successful April Fool’s prank: they recorded an impression of acclaimed artist Joanna Newsom covering one of their songs and a handful of blogs took the bait, covering the song with rapturous praise. Unsurprisingly, as a result, Starlight Girls quickly became a buzz worthy band, eventually releasing an EP that they supported with a handful of national tours — including an opening slot for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Building upon a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based at played one of Europe’s biggest festivals, and they followed that up with their noisy and attention-grabbing Jamie Stewart-produced 7 x 3 EP.

2016 saw the release of their enigmatic and cinematic, full-length debut Fantasm, which they supported through tours with an eclectic array of artists including Kate Nash, St. Lucia, Tilly and the Wall, Nick Waterhouse, Total Slacker, Crystal Fighters and Lucius. Since then, the members of the band have ventured outside of music and outside of Brooklyn in a variety of different creative projects: Christina Bernard has delved into film and directing, directing a self-penned short film shot in California, which will be released later this year. Shaw Walters has become a rising star in the tech world, traveling around the world creating holographic augmented reality projects for performers and artists, including a mixed-reality collaboration with acclaimed artist Marina AbramovićThe Life, which has become a lightning rod for alt-right conspiracy theorists. The rest of the band has continued to solider on as musicians, during what may be the most difficult time for artists and creatives in recent memory.

Interestingly the band’s Christina Bernard-produced EP Entitled was recorded at Upstate New York-based Marcata Recording— and the material is a dark yet upbeat come-on to an unknowable future while evoking a sexy freak-out from the edge of oblivion. That sounds and feels familiar, doesn’t it? Last month, I wrote about Entitled‘s expansive first single “Get Right,” a kaleidoscopic and cinematic track that possesses elements of shoegaze, art rock, goth rock, psych rock and 70s AM rock — all while being one of the sexiest songs they’ve released to date.

“Teenage Crime,” Entitled‘s second and latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric single centered around reverb and pedal effected guitars, twinkling keys and a soaring hook — and while reminding me a bit of Slow Air-era Still Corners and Stevie Nicks, the track’s lyrical themes, as the band’s Christina Bernard explains touches upon spiritual exploration, hope for the future and reconciling the past.

“As far as songwriting goes, most of the music came together spontaneously during rehearsals,” Bernard says of the EP’s creative process. “There was a lot of change happening for us around the time we wrote it—a lot of times when we played we didn’t know when our next time playing together might be. So the energy was insane every time we played.

“We’d gotten really in sync as a band through playing live so much, so someone would pull a riff out of the air in rehearsal and we’d just run with it full speed for four minutes and that would be the song. I’d always record rehearsals in case magic happened, and it did a lot. Then I would write lyrics (if I hadn’t already written them on the spot) and later we’d recreate what we’d played.

The only song that didn’t happen that way was Teenage Crime, which I wrote one night in my room. The guys in the band hated it at first because it’s like the slowest thing we do. But when we played it live all the ladies started swaying and I think that’s when everyone changed their minds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our influences are hard to pin down. We all listen to really different music and I can’t remember what we were each into while recording. I personally was out dancing a lot to some pretty out there international drum circles. I was getting into the idea of music as a ceremonial thing—repetitive and rhythmic and visceral—so I was influenced by that, and how those ideas would translate to rock.

 

The Mighty Orchid King · Swirling

Throughout its history, the St. Albans, UK-based psych rock collective The Mighty Orchid King — currently, Jonny Bennett (vocals, drums), co-found er Martin van Herdeer (12 string guitar), Matt Snowden (guitar), Marcelo Cervone (bass, sax) and Will Stephen, a.k.a June Logue (synths and production) — have been in a constant flux since its founding, with 20 members rotating in and out of its sphere at nay given time. And as a result, the project has simultaneously been a 60s psych rock jam inspired collective and a bedroom project focused on polyrhythmic exploration.

The band’s forthcoming full-length debut The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness was recorded at June Logue’s home studio, DIY bedroom vocal booths and Tom Hill’s London-based Bookhouse Studio — and the album reportedly finds the act weaving the various aspects of the band’s complex history together: the album’s more jam inspired material drift and sharpe into more meticulously developed solo work. Thematically, the album thematically concerns itself with eco-anxiety with the album’s lyrics at points being like Kerouac-inspired spontaneous prose with direct protest songs about the destruction of Earth. While sonically, the album sees the band drawing from 60s psych rock, samba, jazz and house music with arrangements that feature fuzzy guitars and synths.

“Swirling,” the first single off The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness‘ first single is an an expansive and decidedly 60s psych rock inspired track centered around fuzzy power chords and enormous harmony driven hooks. Sonically, the song brings San Francisco‘s  Cool Ghouls to mind — while bristling with an infectious energy of a bunch of friends jamming and creating something cool. But at its core is a desire to escape one’s current circumstances and the world itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Starlight Girls Release a Woozy and Trippy Visual for “Get Right”

Brooklyn-based indie rock act Starlight Girls can trace their origins back to 2011, when Christina Bernard (vocals), an Ohio-born megachurch chorister turned rocker; Shaw Walters (guitar), a San Francisco-born, guitar savant and tech wizard met and decided to start a band. They find their bandmates Sara Mundy (keys) and Isabel Alvarez (backing vocals), two Long Island-born theater junkies, Tysen Arveson (bass), a Seattle-born, Hawaii-raised art freak and Josh Davis (drums), a University of Michigan educated jazz drummer through Craigslist. 

The band initially emerged into the public eye through a wildly successful April Fool’s prank: they record an impression of acclaimed artist Joanna Newsom covering one of their songs and a handful of blogs take the bait, covering the song with rapturous praise. As a result, they quickly became a buzz worthy band, eventually releasing an EP that they support with a handful of national tours — even opening for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Building upon a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based at played one of Europe’s biggest festivals, which they followed up with their noisy and attention-grabbing Jamie Stewart-produced 7 x 3 EP. 

2016 saw the release of their enigmatic and cinematic, full-length debut Fantasm, which they supported through tours with an eclectic array of artists including Kate Nash, St. Lucia, Tilly and the Wall, Nick Waterhouse, Total Slacker, Crystal Fighters and Lucius. Since then, the members of the band have ventured outside of music and outside of Brooklyn in a variety of different creative projects: Christina Bernard has delved into film and directing, directing a self-penned short film shot in California, which will be released later this year. Shaw Walters has become a rising star in the tech world, traveling around the world creating holographic augmented reality projects for performers and artists, including a mixed-reality collaboration with acclaimed artist Marina Abramović, The Life, which has become a lightning rod for alt-right conspiracy theorists. The rest of the band has continued to solider on as musicians, during what may be the most difficult time for artists and creatives in recent memory. 

Interestingly the band’s Christina Bernard-produced EP Entitled was recorded at Upstate New York-based Marcata Recording– and the material reportedly is a dark yet upbeat come-on to an unknowable future while evoking a sexy freak-out from the edge of oblivion. That sounds and feels familiar, doesn’t it?  Hinting at Ennio Morricone film scores, shoegaze, art rock, goth rock, psych rock and Fleetwood Mac, the EP’s expansive first single “Get Right” further establishes the band’s cinematic and kaleidoscopic sound — but while arguably being the sexiest song they’ve released to date. 

Directed by the band’s Christina Bernard, the recently released video for “Get Right” was shot on a commune in rural North Carolina and is a feverishly surreal and psychedelic spoof on 90s karaoke videos that seems — to me, at least — to nod at Dario Argento films, as it’s part lysergic freak out, and part sensual slow dance into the dark recesses of the psyche. 

The rising Lincoln, NE-based soul and funk act Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal — Josh Hoyer (vocals, keys), Blake DeForest (trumpet), Mike Keeling (bass), Benjamin Kushner (guitar) Harrison El Dorado (drums) — formed back in 2012, and since their formation, the act, which features some of the Lincoln area’s most acclaimed musicians, has received attention nationally and internationally for a boundary crossing sound inspired by the sounds of Stax Records, Motown Records, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The Lincoln-based quintet have developed a reputation for being of the area’s hardest working bands: releasing four, critically applauded albums, including last year’s Do It Now, the members of the rising soul act have played hundreds of shows and have made several tours across the Continental United States and two European tours, opening for the George Clinton,Charles Bradley, Booker T. Jones, and Muscle Shoals Soul Revue and others.

Further cementing their reputation as one of the Plain States’ hardest working bands, the members of the Lincoln-based soul act will be releasing their Eddie Roberts-produced fifth later later this year through Color Red Records. “Hustler,” the album’s cinematic, third and latest single is a strutting bit of soul, prominently featuring Hoyer’s soulful, Tom Jones-like vocals, a commanding horn arrangement, a sinuous bass line, shimmering organ arpeggios and an enormous and rousingly anthemic hook. While seemingly possessing elements of The Payback-era James Brown, 70s Motown, Muscle Shoals, Daptone and Memphis soul in a seamless yet period specific synthesis, the upbeat track manages to be one-part much-needed proverbial kick in the ass and one part much-needed rallying cry for our unprecedented and uncertain moment, centered around the assuring yet forceful line “When the world wants you to sink or swim, I ain’t goin’ under.”

Things may be bleak right now but keep fighting y’all. There’s much hard and necessary work to be done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of last year’s full-length debut Grass Stains and Novocaine, the San Francisco-based shoegazers Seablite — currently featuring Lauren, Galine, Jen and Andy — quickly received national attention: the album placed highly on a number of that year’s Best-Of Lists, including landing at #36 on Good Morning America‘s Top 50 Albums of the Year list.

Building upon a growing profile, the band will be releasing Grass Stains and Novocaine‘s highly-anticipated follow-up, the 4 song 10 inch EP High Rise Mannequins. Recorded by Alicia Vanden Heuvel in San Francisco, the new batch of material slated for a February 21, 2020 release through Emotional Response Records reportedly captures the band growing as songwriters and musicians. 

“Pretend” the EP’s first single finds the Bay Area-based quartet’s sound drawing equally from fuzz pop, jangle pop, shoegaze and 60s bubblegum pop in a way that recalls The Smiths, La Sera and Phil Spector-era girl groups but with a bit of garage rock grit and grime, and a huge, anthemic hook.

‘”Pretend’ is one of our oldest songs from our first EP and we wanted to renew it with our current lineup,” the band says in an emailed statement. “We recorded it as part of a 4-song EP in July of 2019 with Alicia Vanden Heuvel at her very own Speakeasy Studios in San Francisco. Most folks are familiar with Alicia from her work in The Aislers Set and Poundsign, but she’s also been producing bands such as The Mantles, Personal and the Pizzas, and countless others in her studio for years. She uses a giant 2” tape machine that was originally used to record all of the sounds on the movie The Abyss, so there’s some vibes in that thing for sure.  Alicia has a very special ear and production style, it was amazing to collaborate with and bounce ideas off of her. Every time we finished a mix, we’d go out to Alicia’s car and blast the songs while sitting in her driveway, then run up into her house and crank the songs on her stereo and AB it. The EP recording experience felt natural, more like a hangout session where we happened to also be working on a record.”

The Los Angeles-based post-punk act Dancing Tongues, featuring core duo Alex Lavayen and Kevin Modry, can trace its origins to the breakup of the duo’s previous band. In the aftermath, the pair relocated to Los Angeles, where they began writing material inspired by the post punk of the late 1970s and 1980s — i.e., The Gun Club, The Cure and Talking Heads.

In 2016, Lavayen and Modry formally started the band, and bay the end of the year, they released their debt EP Positions late that year. Over the next two years, the band played shows in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County while slowing building a community of fans and fellow artists. During that same period, the duo who had long held legitimate day jobs in music and art decided that it was time to channel all of their creative energy into the band. And as a result, they furiously wrote the material that would comprise their Jonny Bell-produced full-length debut Hypnotic Tales of Sex and Distress. Reportedly, the album thematically addresses the dissatisfaction, confusion and distractions we all experience as we desperately attempt to navigate through an overabundance of information. Each individual track on the album is meant to mark a chapter in a hypnotic journey that specifically deals with a different story — from the inherent anxieties of creative pursuits, commitment, identity, responsibility, love and romance, and escapement.

The album’s latest single “Body Language” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting hook-driven material that’s deeply indebted to Joy Division and the like; but the slick production, stubbly pushes the song’s sound into the New Wave direction, making the song subtly nod at Billy Idol.  In some way, the new song finds the band at their most ambitious — but without steering too far from what’s won them attention so far. As the band explain in press notes, the song is about the odd (and yet inherent) push and pull sensation of almost every romantic relationship in which there are periods in which you feel so deeply connected to that person, that it’s like nothing can pull you apart,  and the moments in which you somehow feel disconnected and incomplete. And in those moments, you try your best to maneuver something that’s confusing and complicated — with all the bullshit and baggage of your own life.

 

 

 

New Video: Lunar Twin Releases a Brooding Late Night Visual for Trip Hop-like “Leaves”

Deriving their name from a scientific theory that suggests that Earth may have had a second moon, a twin moon that was destroyed in a massive collision during the earliest moments of our solar system, Lunar Twin, which is comprised of vocalist Bryce Boudreau and multi-instrumentalist and producer Chris Murphy can trace their origins back to 2011’s Denver Underground Music Festival when Boudreau joined Murphy’s goth band Nightsweats as a guest vocalist. And by 2013, the duo started collaborating together full-time.

With the release of their debut, 2014’s self-titled EP and 2017’s Night Tides EP, the duo which is currently split between Hawaii and Salt Lake City have developed a unique take on chill wave/dark wave that draws from and possesses elements of synth pop, shoegaze, dream pop and others. A couple of years have passed since I’ve written about Lunar Twin — and as it turns out, the duo’s Chris Murphy has been busy sharing the stages with a growing list of acclaimed and renowned artists including Grimes, Bonnie Prince Billy and Peaches through other projects he’s worked in. But the duo have also been working on their long-awaited third EP Ghost Moon Ritual, which is slated for a February 16, 2020 release through  the band’s own imprint, Tropical Depression/Desert Heat. 

Ghost Moon Ritual reportedly finds the duo expanding upon the sound that caught the attention of this site and elsewhere with some of the material nodding at psych folk and desert noir-themed late night moon music. The EP’s latest single, the moody and atmospheric “Leaves” is centered around Boudreau’s sonorous, Mark Lanegan-like baritone, layers of buzzing and shimmering synths and thumping beats. And while simultaneously nodding at trip hop and dream pop, the song evokes — for me, at least — a a specific late night loneliness I’ve known — wandering a new town, a new country on your own, as a stranger, a man from far away. 

Directed by San Francisco-based Zoey Nyguen, the recently released video is set in a raw, late night, neon cityscape — her neighborhood of Russian Hill. ” I wanted to embody the song with visuals from my within my neighborhood and local surroundings and to include basically a collage of clips from different time periods and eras of the City,” Nyguen says in press notes. “I made the video as a simple Creative Commons project and then approached the group about a possible collaboration and then filmed them performing to add to the story I had built around their song into something more” 

“Collaboration with a new person is always a surprise creatively and I thought her vibrant and imaginative approach visualizing the song to be just right .. to curate this version of this songs story,” Bryce Boudreau says of the video. “Her choice of imagery really melds with the track. I’m very happy with the way the video develops and encapsulates everything we are trying to express musically” Chris Murphy adds in press notes. 

New Audio: Rising Aussie Electro Pop Trio Haiku Hands Release a Thumping, Old School Hip Hop Inspired Banger

Splitting their time between Melbourne and Sydney. the Aussie indie electro pop act Haiku Hands, which features a core trio of Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mie Nakazawa have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that draws from hip-hop, electro pop, dance music and house music. Interestingly, the trio is part of a larger collective that engages with and explores social norms with their lyrical, musical and visual content. 

Now, as you may recall last year was a breakthrough year for the Aussie electro pop trio: their high energy club bangers “Squat,” “Jupiter,” and “Not About You” amassed over 3.5 million streams — and as a result, each single landed spots on iTunes charts across the globe. Adding to an enormous year, “Jupiter” was included on Matt Wilkinson‘s Best Songs of 2018 So Far list, and received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Radio X. Continuing on  the momentum, the members of Haiku Hands went on a month-long North American tour with CHAI that featured stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, an opening date for Cupcake in Chicago, and appearances at a handful of SXSW showcases. 

The Aussie indie electro pop trio’s highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release next year through Mad Decent and Spinning Top in Australia and New Zealand. In the meantime, the trio’s latest single, the Mad Zach-produced “Onset” is a brash and infectious banger centered around a glitchy and thumping 808-based, old school hip-hop production reminiscent of Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force’s “Renegades of Funk” and Missy Elliott paired with the trio delivering equally brash and dexterously flows that nod at Khia’s “My Neck, My Back (Lick It),” schoolyard rhymes and chants. As a child of the 80s, this song brings boom boxes, shell toe Adidas and B Boys breaking — but with a modern touch. 

With the release of her debut EP Everything I Know, an effort that has amassed over 500,000 streams, the San Francisco-based pop artist ZOLA quickly emerged into both the local and national scene for a sound and approach that meshes genres, styles and languages. Building upon a growing profile, the emerging San Francisco-based artist’s latest single, the Tim Vickers-produced “Crystal Floors” is a genre–blurring David Lynch-like fever dream as the track is centered around a breezy, Bossa nova rhythms, shimmering synths, a sinuous hook, and Zola’s alluring jazz-inspired vocals singing lyrics in English and French.