Paige & the Thousand stands out, Icky Boyfriends rise up, and more
The best example of that on the EP is the made-up story of "Billy's Blues," a travelin' country-hooked blues ditty. "I just wanted to write like, a Bobbie Gentry, '60s rhythm and blues kind of song, because I really love that stuff," adding, "I'm definitely working on a bunch of songs that are in that vein now."
The album opener, "Baby It's Time," is a more personal tale about a breakup, a relationship gone sour. On the upbeat countrified track, Garfield sings oh-so-sweetly, "Baby, baby, it's time/time for you to say you're mine/baby, baby it's time/say you want me/and if you don't just let me go."
The backstory on plucky "Play the Martyr" most surprised me, and then required a fresh-eared listening. It's about a cocaine-addicted former boss in the restaurant industry (an industry in which Garfield still happily works, without the asshole). He was a sadistic megalomaniac — a "complete monster" she says — who chased her down and singled her out with his rage. One day she'd had it and quit, so affected by the entire experience that she wrote a song about it. Now go back and listen to that track again.
Music is clearly her release. The Boston native has been writing songs since grade school, but got serious about it in college, while in the music program at the University of Miami. She was endlessly inspired by all the music geeks surrounding her there. Though she eventually moved out to San Francisco in 2002, with the hopes of working in the music industry here, but quickly realized she'd rather be playing the music. So she started a band and began playing little coffeehouse shows. "It taught me about how to treat people [in bands], being good to people who are inspired enough to play my music with me." She collected experiences, got better, and formed new acts.
She met Alex Robins from Or, the Whale in the mid-aughts through Craigslist. "At that point I was really ready to do something more collaborative," she says. The seven-piece country collective eventually saw midlevel success, playing shows with groups like Fleet Foxes, the Dodos, and Two Gallants, and performing on Good Morning America. But with seven people, comes seven different needs and ideas. People needed to agree on songs, which made it difficult. And eventually, members wanted to move on, have children, expand.
So all those experiences led Garfield to where she is now: Paige & the Thousand. "Creatively, I wanted it to have fewer boundaries, I wanted to be able to play songs I liked and not have anyone tell me that I couldn't."
Paige & the Thousand plays Awaken Café this weekend with fellow ampersand-lovers Robb Benson & the Shelk, EarlyBizrd & the Bees. Fri/9, 8pm, $7. Awaken Café, 1429 Broadway, Oakl. www.awakencafe.com.
Ew, gross, Icky Boyfriends are back. JK, each successive grave-rise from the trashy '90s-born Bay Area "noisefuck" band is worth mentioning because the local band is just that entertaining live. To get the full lo-fi freakout inherent in the Icky Boyfriends experience, listen to 2005's 61-track career retrospective A Love Obscene, which features tracks such as "Burrito," "Passion Assassin," "Kids in Fresno," and "King of Zeitgeist." You might also note the band features current Hemlock booker/guitarist-singer of Hank IV, Anthony Bedard, on drums. Also, I've recently uncovered the fact that Bedard and burlesque legend Dixie Evans once went on the talk show Maury, for the episode "My Sexy Lover Is My Complete Opposite." YouTube it, immediately.
With Wet Illustrated, Violent Change. Thu/8, 9pm, $8. Eagle Tavern, 3981 12th St., SF. www.sf-eagle.com.
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