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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Listen: Mikal Cronin's Poignant New Power-Pop Single, "Made My Mind Up"

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 11:48 AM

Mikal Cronin - MIKE KOOZMIN
  • Mike Koozmin
  • Mikal Cronin

So did every songwriter in the Bay Area retreat into their bedroom last year with the entirety of the Replacements' and Big Star's catalogs before writing their new record for 2015?

To be clear: We're not complaining. Especially if the resurgence of appreciation for that style of earnest, guitar-driven power-pop results in more songs like "Made My Mind Up," the first single off local treasure Mikal Cronin's forthcoming MCIII, his third solo record and a follow-up to 2013's (wait for it) MCII. With a swaggering, emotive electric guitar riff up front, Cronin's sweet crooning darts in and out of center stage, as sing-songy keys, an urgent drumbeat and deliciously '70s-esque backing vocals build a wall of sound around it; that it all drops out a couple of times throughout the track only adds to the dynamic. 

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Listen: Vetiver's Breezy New Single, "Current Carry"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 3:23 PM

Vetiver's Andy Cabic - ALISSA ANDERSON
  • Alissa Anderson
  • Vetiver's Andy Cabic

“I like a lot of space, I’m not a fan of vocals that take up a lot of room, so I was keeping myself to these very abrupt lines, practically like the rules of haiku, just a few syllables,” Andy Cabic, the voice of San Francisco folk staple Vetiver, told Vogue about his new album this week. 

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Listen: Toro Y Moi's New Disco-Groovy "Empty Nesters"

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 9:20 AM

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Chaz Bundick is like the musical version of that kid in elementary school who can't sit still — but it's because he's totally mastered his times tables already, and wants to move on to astronomy. Last year saw the Berkeley-based Toro y Moi mastermind taking a break from the chillwave sound with which he's become synonymous in order to experiment with grooves of a more dancefloor-friendly variety, under the name Les Sins (which just finished a substantial tour, and which was just added to the Noise Pop lineup: He'll play at the New Parish Feb. 26).

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Listen: Waterstrider's "White Light"

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 3:48 PM

ALBUM ARTWORK BY TAYLOR JACOBS
  • Album artwork by Taylor Jacobs
It's been a busy year for Oakland's Waterstrider: When the electro-tinged indie-pop five-piece wasn't busy winning "Best Song From Oakland" in this year's Mayhem Festival (deservedly so, for "Redwood"), singer Nate Salman was busy contributing his unmistakable falsetto to Chaz Bundick's new Toro y Moi side project, Les Sins

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Listen: Lyrics Born Updates Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

Posted By on Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Lyrics Born
  • Lyrics Born
Lyrics Born is one of the most prolific members of the Bay Area's indie hip-hop community, between his collaborations with Lateef the Truthspeaker as Latyryx, guest spots and production credits with other locals like Blackalicious, and his steady stream of mixtapes — the latest of which, The Lyrics Born Variety Show Season 6, dropped just before Halloween.

But it's been a solid four years since he put out a full-length of his own, which is why we're looking forward to next year's Real People,  which he's been teasing on Twitter for the better part of 2014. (The record has no solid release date yet, but he promises "early 2015.")

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Happy Fangs Release "Fangsgiving," a Holiday Anthem For the Rest of Us

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Happy Fangs - JEN CASH/CALIBREE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Jen Cash/Calibree Photography
  • Happy Fangs

If your leftover Halloween candy has finally run dry and the stuffing and sweet potatoes can't get here fast enough — Happy Fangs, S.F.'s power-punk-pop trio known for its black and white face paint and scary-fun stage antics, have just the thing for you. It’s "Fangsgiving," that's f-a-n-g-s, and it’s almost better than stuffing.

The band, made up guitarist Mike Cobra of King Loses Crown, vocalist Rebecca Gone Bad (Bortman) of My First Earthquake, and drummer Jess G, have been capturing hearts all over the city for the past couple years, including a memorable Bottom of the Hill show on Halloween. This new gem,  a raucous rock anthem for our holiday strife as we try to get through ‘em again — wanting all the delicious food, all the presents, and none of the bills — is the kind of seasonal fanfare we can get behind. Bortman, with her AC/DC inspired femme rock ’n’ roll, belts in a way that's hard to ignore: We pretty much dare to listen without wanting to jump up and down. Give it a listen below. 

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hear Mikal Cronin's "Shout It Out," the First Single Off His New Album MCII

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 12:55 PM

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So Mikal Cronin -- the S.F. rocker whose 2011 debut proved way more hooky than its modest garage trappings suggested -- has a new album coming out May 7 on Merge Records. "Shout It Out," the first single, ups Cronin's debut with sleek production and a pretty much indelible chorus, the kind that lingers inside your head after only a listen or two. It starts out pretty -- alarmingly pretty -- but Cronin's rock instincts arrive decisively at the 36-second mark. From there, the Cali surf-pop vibes take off like a 747, with guitars that sound reminiscent of Merge staples Dinosaur Jr. But even at max volume, Cronin keeps the melody at the forefront. Here, then is "Shout It Out" -- and count us excited to check out all of MCII when it arrives this spring.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Local Song of the Day: The Easygoing Disco of Glenn Jackson's "Morning Swim"

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Glenn Jackson
  • Glenn Jackson

As we noted today for SFist, one of the Bay Area groups we're most excited to watch in 2013 is the Oakland duo James & Evander, who make synth-pop that's both affecting and danceable. Glenn Jackson is the Evander in James & Evander, and his solo work -- to be showcased in a forthcoming EP on Brooklyn label Ceremony -- includes the kind of understated grooves and strong melodies we love in his other music. "Morning Swim" is the title track from Jackson's forthcoming EP, a buoyant instrumental disco that feels like a five-minute tropical vacation.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Local Song of the Day: Cocktails' Scrappy, Snotty "No Blondes (in California)"

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Cocktails - MATTHEW SCOTT
  • Matthew Scott
  • Cocktails

Power-pop springs eternal. It doesn't matter how many bands have made it, how many are making it now, or even how many such acts populate the Bay Area ('cause there are a lot). You put hooky melodies over raw guitars, sprinkle that with a few lines of arrogance, apathy, or lust, and you're probably onto something good. So while San Francisco's Cocktails is one of the newer entrants on the local scene, their song "No Blondes (in California)" does power-pop just right: Counterintuitive, sticky chorus refrain? Yep. Female background vocals? Indeed. Blaring, basic guitar riff? Of course. There's even a cute, toy-like synth line that tinkles along as the song concludes.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"