John Darnielle’s brain seems like it runs at just a slightly higher RPM than other people’s.
One could get this impression from listening to the tightly crafted mini-universe he creates inside each track on a Mountain Goats record — take your pick, he’s penned some 14 full-length studio LPs inside the last 18 years, not counting a slew of singles and B-sides and other assorted treats — or from his Twitter feed, which zooms from his enthusiasm for black metal to witty commentary about televised wrestling to on-point, eloquent opining about Ferguson, vegetarianism, or abortion rights. Read more »
Members of the band Vulfpeck describe themselves as a "half-Jewish German-American rhythm section." Creators of severely catchy, mostly-instrumental grooves, the four-piece — who first met in a German literature class at the University of Michigan — have built a following with their quirky YouTube videos: Each album track is accompanied by a cleverly shot and edited video of its recording. The videos not only capture the band's camaraderie, loose attitude, and sense of humor, but also their musical cohesion as a group. Each song is endlessly and effortlessly funky. Read more »
It’s entirely possible that Kiesza outgrew her gig at the Rickshaw Stop a few minutes after it was booked. Those in attendance at the Pop Scene-presented show were fortunate to see the singer, songwriter, and dancer from Calgary in such an intimate club venue on Thursday, Aug. 28, given the staggering rise that she’s in the midst of.Read more »
As a member of 2AM Club and a songwriter for artists like Chris Brown and Sean Kingston, San Francisco-raised Marc Griffin is an experienced pop music craftsman. But as Marc E. Bassy, solo artist, he's a forward-thinking R&B auteur with more of an ear towards the genre's growing experimental fringe. Only The Poets, Vol. Read more »
There’s a commonality to a large segment of New Zealand music, much of it with a dubbed-out vibe that one would expect from an island nation. But there’s also an underlying fierceness to it. Karoline Tamati, aka Ladi6, represents this dichotomy well, and her blend of hip-hop and modern soul will be in the Bay Area for the first time this weekend, with shows at Brick and Mortar in the city on Saturday and at the New Parish in Oakland on Sunday.
The lifelong musician started playing music at a young age and was smitten with hip-hop as a teenager when she formed Sheelahroc with her cousin and a friend at 16 years old. She found her singing voice shortly afterward and hasn’t stopped singing. Read more »
“I think I’ve heard of them before,” is the kind of spineless response you’ll never hear if you ask someone about Fuck Buttons. If you’ve heard them, you’ll most definitely will remember. With music that elicits feelings of wonder and rebellion, intense live shows, and of course an, err -- catchy name, Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung leave a lasting impression.Read more »
If you don’t know of Elbow by now, you should probably stop reading this and go spend some time under a tree, staring out into space, contemplating your existence up to this point. Unless, of course, you want to be brought up to speed and welcomed into a community of people who love the brooding baritone lyrical genius of lead singer Guy Garvey, sung over pulsing drums, spacey melodic piano, and topped off with anthemic triumphant sing-along choruses.Read more »
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is out to topple everyone’s expectations. The two-piece band has rather public identities to overcome: Sean Lennon is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl is a world-class model who was the youngest covergirl on Britain’s Harper’s Bazaar.Read more »
Being weird in a good way seems like a more difficult status for artists to attain than it used to be. We can tell when you're trying too hard -- the Gaga meat dress, the Miley tongue-wags felt 'round the world -- and it's straight-up unappealing. Thanks to Ye Olde Internet, we're also genuinely harder to shock than we used to be. At the same time, the acceptable box that artists seem to need to fit into to be marketable, to achieve anything like mainstream success, feels smaller all the time.Read more »
You might not be alone if you do a double-take when hearing José James’ new single for the first time. The song, “EveryLittleThing,” off the singer’s forthcoming album on Blue Note Records (While You Were Sleeping, out June 10), recalls a grinding club hit more than the effortless mix of jazz and neo-soul that made him famous. It is a surprise, to say the least -- the driving, electric sound is nothing like the mellow and easy cool of his previous record, No Beginning No End, released in 2013. Read more »