Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Wooden Shjips Brudenell Social Club Sept 11th

A handful of bands loosely based in and around the city of San Francisco have taken the free experimental spirit of ’60s bands such as the 13th Floor Elevators, United States of America, the Velvet Underground, Silver Apples, and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and filtered their sound through the motorik shuffle of krautrock and the discordance of obscure minimalist composers. Whilst referencing some classic ‘60s and ‘70s psych/kraut and experimental bands, Their sound seems equally informed by a more ‘80s aesthetic of taking these influences and spinning them (I’m thinking Loop, Spacemen 3, Scientists etc here). 

101389

Wooden Shjips, a quartet from San Francisco heavily influenced by the experimentalism of psychedelia, classical minimalism, and garage rock excess, started as an experiment in rhythmic primitivism and group improvisation. The current roster brings a more structured rock approach to its performances, utilizing a traditional line-up of drums (Omar Ahsanuddin), bass (Dusty Jermier), organ (Nash Whalen), guitar (Erik “Ripley” Johnson), and vocals. The band released two acclaimed records in 2006, beginning early in the year with a self-released 10-inch, “Shrinking Moon for You“. The record quickly sold out, after capturing the attention of well-regarded tastemakers, such as Tom Lax and Byron Coley, who penned rave reviews on Siltblog, and in Wire magazine, respectively. A 7-inch followed on the Sick Thirst label, and received similar praise from music bloggers, as well as from veteran scribe David Fricke in Rolling Stone. The band has three 2007 releases planned: this LP/CD for Holy Mountain, a 7-inch for Sub Pop, and a 7-inch for Pollymaggoo Records. They recently played NoisePop 2007 with Roky Erickson, as well as a showcase at the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, TX.

Wooden Shjips are from San Francisco, but the concentrated ferocity of the freak outs on their two very-underground releases–a white-label ten-inch EP (the band gave away the first 300 copies) and a clear-vinyl single (“Dance, California”)–arrives via the ’70s Germanic-guitar lunacy of Guru Guru and the confrontational repetition of VU.” –David Fricke, Rolling Stone

“..tight-wound repeato psych guitar raunch with spoony (maybe even imaginary) percussion, surprisingly Rev-like keys, and vocals buried under burning driftwood.” –Tom Lax, Siltblog

103951

Here we have a Wooden Shjips record the world saw coming– not titled “II,” “Sophomore,” or “Second,” but “Dos.” The group maintains its strident pace like a silverfish rave in perfectly folded bedsheets, with more bounce per ounce as life goes jogging with bopping heads and digging heels. Five numbers whose style might fit as cozily at La Cave in 1968 as at Ibiza in 1988. Natural loops with just enough vocals take you where the khakis and the cut-offs play together. “Dos” sounds off as the inauguration speech of a group accepting the minimalist psych bop crown that once adorned the likes of Neu! and Loop. If possible, their brand of whipping fuzz hooks have gotten groovier. “Motorbike” begins the program with an attack of bleeding organ and cicada chirps– a wiley, wheel-spinning cloud-kicker indeed. “For So Long” introduces the hip-swayed, shoulder-dropping dance steps of the album. At this point, the guitar delivers a concise Fogerty / Karoli vibe of stiff and loose kraut blues. Closing side one is the stop-motion go-go anthem “Down by the Sea.” Imagine yourself in the back of a cigarette boat with Alan Vega and Takashi Mizutani circling Easter Island. Smile as you melt under the glare of their mirrored sunglasses staring your own face back at you.

The needle drops on side two. Beyond the dawning of the age is “Aquarian Time,” a dense number that demands more weed and less booger-sugar. A steady plink of keys blipping like bright satellites in dark space accents this track’s blissed-out sludge. The hypnotic pop grace of “Fallin’,” the soundtrack for the last log on the fire as Winter eternally breaks into Spring, will stick in your mind until the record is played again on speakers of any size.

279 1425

Wooden Shjips, as it is today, started in 2006. The band self released a 10″ and 7″ that year and started playing shows shortly thereafter. Prior to 2006, Wooden Shjips was an experiment in primitive and minimalist rock. After it imploded, Ripley Johnson, guitar and vocals, assembled the current line-up of Dusty Jermier on bass, Nash Whalen on organ, and Omar Ahsanuddin on drums. West marks the first time the band recorded in a proper studio, as well as the first time with an engineer (Phil Manley). All previous recordings, either self-released, for Holy Mountain, or Mexican Summer were done more piecemeal in the band’s rehearsal studio. West was recorded and mixed in six days at Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco. It was mastered by Sonic Boom at Blanker Unisinn, Brooklyn, with additional mastering by Heba Kadry at the Lodge in New York.

The over riding theme for the album (as indicated by the title) is the American West, and all of the mythology, romanticism, and idealism that it embodies. The band members grew up on the East Coast, so for a long time the history and literature of the West was an abstraction and a fascination for them. Part of the allure of the West, which is part of the myth, is the concept of Manifest Destiny, the vastness, and the possibilities for reinvention, which is not to say that is what each song is specifically about, but it was very much an undercurrent during the songwriting of the album. The artwork also touches on the same theme by using an iconic structure that is both a gateway in a literal and metaphorical sense.

It is easy to see why these would appeal to Wooden Shjips, as their music lends itself to exploration. It is both transformative and transporting, the sum being far greater than it’s parts. The steady driving rhythms are the elliptical motion machine driven by the often thick and distorted guitar lines, melodic and boundless. Where they may lead cannot be anticipated but following them is exhilarating. It is all about getting there, the destination, while the experience of getting there is an adventure. It is the guitar lines that guide both the listener and the band on the literal and metaphorical journey into the vastness.

The ghostly vocals, obscured by dense layers of instruments surrounding them, are alluring with their airy mystery. This elusive quality further draws the listener in, while they attempt to grasp at their meaning. While indebted to both the psych music of the ‘60s and mid-‘70s, electric Neil Young, and even the induced travels of Spacemen 3, the Wooden Shjips’ music is modern and in every way their own. West is an epic journey to the edge and beyond.

61okwhd2dcl ss500

The Wooden Shjips’ earliest material was released on vinyl, pressed in small quantities that were either free or hard to come by and are now hopelessly out of print. Who are we to keep you away from the rush of “Shrinking Moon for You”? Vol. 1 collects all the tracks from the free 10-inch, the Dance, California 7-inch, and the SOL 7-inch.

The band will be out playing live, in their own nimble way, this spring and summer, road-testing new material for their next record.

 “… [T]ight-wound repeato psych guitar raunch with spoony (maybe even imaginary) percussion, surprisingly Rev-like keys, and vocals buried under burning driftwood. It’s a nice one.” –Byron Coley, The Wire

“Like fellow locals Comets on Fire or English space rockers Hawkwind or Spaceman 3, Wooden Shjips’ magic is created by a mix of pummeling hypnotic grooves and otherworldly guitar that sounds like Hendrix strung out in a methadone clinic.” –Andy Tennille, HARP

“‘Dance, California’ locks onto a three-note, twangy, nuclear beach groove and hangs out there for the duration, guitar slashery (in the single-note sweepstakes for a good long while) shooting over the top like artillery fire. On the other side, an atmospheric, slow drone and steady pulse frame blistery lead and what’s that, vocals? Oh, so nice, and sounding more like the new incarnation of F/i with each listen.” –Doug Mosurak, Dusted

105436

Sick Thirst presents Vol. 2, the second compilation of hard-to-find Wooden Shjips tracks. Vol. 2 digs deep to collect the band’s Sub Pop and Mexican Summer singles, two self-released European tour singles, and a track from Yeti magazine, for nearly 44 minutes of fuzzed-out psych jams. Not just for completists, Vol. 2 contains the essential live standards “Loose Lips,” “Death’s Not Your Friend (Live)”, and “I Hear the Vibrations (E-Z Version),” plus savage covers of Neil Young’s “Vampire Blues” and Serge Gainsbourg’s “Contact.”

351 1440

Wooden Shjips’ rise to prominence from the psychedelic underground to the rock and roll overground has been a steady sojourn. With each consecutive release, the band has found new ways of transforming heady psychedelic rock into minimalist masterpieces, bridging the gap between the woozy freeness of Les Rallizes Denudes and Crazy Horse and the tightly wound simplicity of Suicide and the Velvet UndergroundBack To Land, the quartet’s follow-up to West, is the first Wooden Shjips record to be conceived outside of San Francisco. Ripley Johnson and Omar Ahsanuddin moved to Oregon, where the lush climates became a major influence on the songwriting. The band’s scope expanded to include more earthy, grounded tones, such as the acoustic guitar, without abandoning their modernist psych core. 

There is an increased brightness to many of the songs on Back To Land, an easiness with which the band has flirted with in the past but never fully realized until now. The nervy urgency of West has evolved into an assured confidence, from the alliterative, interlocking guitar and organ groove of “Ruins” to the languidly compelling guitar solos of “Servants.” The addition of the acoustic guitar to the band’s textural palate is coupled here with some of the most melodically direct songs the band has written.

Still, there are still plenty of signature Shjips songs, with distorted riffs, modal keys, and a steady, crisp drum sound unfolding intensely while the elongated melodic guitar lines drift in and out of the foreground. On Back to Land this energy is captured in clear detail, designed as an immersive experience rather than a passive blasting. 

Back To Land was laid to tape at Jackpot Recording Studios in Portland by Kendra Lynn and mixed by Larry Crane. It was recorded over an 11-day session, resulting in some of the most detailed and spacious recordings of their career.

Back To Land is a breakthrough record for the Wooden Shjips: nuanced, varied and utterly addictive. The band will be touring extensively in the US and Europe November through February.

464 900

Wooden Shjips, long-time leaders of the contemporary psychedelic movement, expand their sound with V. The quartet of Omar AhsanuddinDusty JermierNash Whalen and Ripley Johnson augment their already rich sound with laid back, classic summer songs. The songs were written during the summer of 2017 by singer and guitarist Ripley Johnson as an antidote to the pervasive anxiety both political and natural. As Ripley tells it, “We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.

The first single “Staring At The Sun” is a nearly 8 minute laid back, slowly building narrative, whose lyrics tell of a gentle push and pull between the desire for sun and escape and the tug of anxiety, with peaceful resistance winning the day and guiding the tone. The restless traveller Johnson gives us a few of his signature traveling songs such as “Eclipse,” and “Red Line,” both showcases for the stellar rhythm section of Omar Ahsanuddin and Dusty Jermier. Their unparalleled sense of groove and restraint leaves ample room for Nash Whalen’s keyboard flourishes. There is movement and urgency in these tracks without aggression, a rolling foundation of rhythm over which Johnson’s voice floats and elongated melodic guitar lines soar.

Each song shimmers with a distinctly Wooden Shjips sound, a relaxed summer vibe. This was a conscious choice, an atmospheric goal that influenced nearly every detail: the tones, the delay types and reverbs used, as well as the synthesizer elements that colour the songs. The basics were recorded by Jason Powers at Types Foundry Studio in Portland. The guitars and vocals were largely recorded in Ripley Johnson’s comfortable home studio. The album was mixed by Cooper Crain (Cave, Circuit Des Yeux) who the band has formed close bonds with on tour. The instructions were simple “We told Cooper to keep it really fat but to feel free to play around with the other elements, make a nice headphone mix with a lot of movement,” said Ripley, “I wanted it to be floaty because that’s kind of where my headspace was at the time.”

The band’s members collectively share a love of classic rock from the Velvet Underground to Neil Young, as well as more overt love of the San Francisco scene of the 60’s. This commonality in their formative musical years binds them even as they live in different cities. V. finds Wooden Shjips embracing the emotions behind those sounds; peaceful defiance and opposition, while creating a sound and counter narrative to today’s hostilities that is wholly their own. Wooden Shjips has with V. created the most concise, laid back songs of their career. Their music is a balm of sorts, a respite from the insanity that, through its regenerative abilities, empowers continued, calm resistance. A reminder of the simple power of peace and beauty. Wooden Shjips, through V., have demonstrated the power of beauty and the power in creating it even while experiencing overwhelming dread. It is the perfect summer album, brimming with optimism and a peaceful energy, aptly timed for release at the height of spring.

Shjips in the night cover 900

The first official live album from one of the linchpins of the neo-psychedelic movement of the new millennium. Shjips in the Night: Live in San Francisco, June 8, 2018 is a single career-spanning performance; an ultra-saturated, full-colour snap-shot of their peak live powers, it was multi-tracked at Slim’s in San Francisco and uniquely mixed by Heron Oblivion. This is a vinyl only release.

12.49 1440

Remixes is a 28 minute 12”EP featuring exclusive cuts and remixes from Andrew Weatherall, Sonic Boom (Pete Kember of Spacemen 3) and Kandodo (Simon Price of The Heads).

Remixes comes packaged in a full color LP jacket and is limited to only 2,500 copies worldwide (2,000 copies on black vinyl, 500 copies on crystal clear vinyl with black streaks).

Wooden Shjips return with this brand new Remixes 12″ that follows on the heels of 2011’s widely-acclaimed West LP. Featuring two remixes, one by Andrew Weatherall, and one by Sonic Boom, and a collaboration with kandodo.

Andrew Weatherall, long time producer and remixer who has worked with the likes of Primal Scream, New Order, My Bloody Valentine, and Bjork, remixed “Crossing”. Pete Kember, also known as Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3/Spectrum fame contributed “Wiking Stew (aka Red Krayola-ing)”. When Pete was called in to help master the record he was inspired by the album and made this mash up from West on his own. Last but not least is the track “Ursus Maritimus (Last Bear’s Lament)”, a long distance collaboration with kandodo (otherwise known as Simon Price from The Heads). Ripley created the bed of the track in Colorado in between tours and sent if off to Simon, in London. Simon added all the additional instrumentation at his home studio.

Albums:

  • Wooden Shjips (2007)
  • Dos (2009)
  • West (2011)
  • Back to Land (2013)
  • V. (2018)

Compilations:

  • Vol. 1 (2008)
  • Vol. 2 (2010)
Header

DIY kitchen pop project of Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Art Museums etc). The new LP “Uncommon Weather”, due April 2021 via Slumberland (US) & Tough Love (UK).

From the many musical lives of artist Glenn Donaldson emerges The Reds, Pinks and Purples, a project that sifts out the purest elements of pop music and in the process chronicles the point of view of an assiduous songwriter. His new album “Uncommon Weather” is both an elusive portrait of San Francisco –– during one of its fluctuations as an untenable place for musicians and artists –– and also a self-portrait of a songwriter who has dispatched another treasured collection of timeless sounding DIY-pop songs.

Self-recorded and mostly self-performed, the music on “Uncommon Weather” continuously reckons with the influence of The Television Personalities’ Dan Treacy, whose own forays into drum-machines, echo, and reverb in the early 1990s is an important reference point. Paul Weller, Robert Smith, and Sarah Records also come to mind. The album arrives with grateful timing, quick on the heels of the recent EP “You Might Be Happy Someday” and alleviating, for a brief window at least, whatever it is that keeps us coming back to this elemental music. Donaldson imagines his listeners are just like himself: fascinated and addicted to the spiritual power of uncomplicated pop classics.

http://

Released April 9th, 2021

Cool Ghouls, the San Francisco-based band that once lived on house gigs and barbeques in Golden Gate Park, is going on their tenth year together and in lieu of this decennial celebration, they are releasing their fourth album, “At George’s Zoo”. They shared “The Way I Made You Cry,” the second single off this album. At George’s Zoo is set to be released on March 12th via Empty Cellar (and Melodic in the UK). The song has a bit of a retro Foxygen and The Lemon Twigs vibe. 

The band shared the album’s first single, “Helpless Circumstance,” last month, which set the tone of the rest of their upcoming album. The group aims to capture the romantic essence of the city, as well as the historical psychedelia that once dominated the music scene in San Francisco. “At George’s Zoo” will be a reminder of the before times when gigs took place in a friend’s living room rather than on stage or now—through a screen.

http://

Their third and previous album, Gord’s House, was released in 2017.

Cool Ghouls are a band fledged in San Francisco on house shows, minimum wage jobs, BBQ’s in Golden Gate Park and the romance of a city’s psychedelic history turns 10 this year. What better a decennial celebration than the release of their fourth album, At George’s Zoo!

How did this San Francisco’s fab four arrive at George’s Zoo? The teenage friendship of complimentary spirits Pat McDonald (Guitar/Vox) and Pat Thomas (Bass/Vox) serves as square one. The Patricks were munching on Eggo-waffle-sandwiches and downing warm Taaka in suburban Benicia years before McDonald would hear George Clinton address his fans as “Cool Ghouls”. The boys played their debut gig as Cool Ghouls at San Francisco’s legendary The Stud in 2011, but there’s no doubt the musical moment cementing the band’s trajectory was much earlier at the 18th birthday party for boy-wonder Ryan Wong (Guitar/Vox) – at the Wong household.

You might remember the Ghouls’ earliest days… McDonald’s hair hung luxuriously past his waist, Thomas dreamt of no longer having to crash on friends’ couches to call SF home and Wong looked forward to turning 21. Cool Ghouls’ Pete Best, Cody Voorhees, thrashed wildly – but briefly – on the drums and Alex Fleshman (Drums), who still claims he’s not really “a drummer”, turned out to be a really good drummer.

It’s been 2 years since the last time Cool Ghouls have even played. The STUD is gone, The Eagle Tavern is for sale and The Hemlock has been demolished for condos. 

Fortunately for us, the ghouls got an album in before it all went to shit, and they made it count. At George’s Zoo includes 15 of the 27 tunes they managed to eke out while simultaneously working through major life moves. It was a 5-month, all out, final sprint down the homestretch (to Ryan’s moving day) with affable engineer Robby Joseph, at his makeshift garage studio in the Outer Sunset (pictured on the cover). Instead of recording the entire album over a few consecutive days – like they’d done with Tim Cohen, Sonny Smith and Kelley Stoltz for the first three LPs – the band took it slow by working through a few songs each weekend after rehearsing them the week before. 

These guys have a real commitment to elevating as songwriters, musicians and ensemble players. It’s always been for the music with Cool Ghouls and this long-awaited self-produced outing is a track by track display of the ground they’ve covered and heights they can achieve. Their vocals and trademark harmonies are front and center and out-of-control-good. Ryan’s guitar solos are incredible. The horns by Danny Brown (sax) and Andrew Stephens (trumpet) hit in all the right places. Maestro, Henry Baker (Pat Thomas Band / Tino Drima), plays keys throughout. 

The song writing, harmony and playing are nothing if not solid. The lyrics are keen. Robby’s recording and mixing sound great start to finish and even better after mastering by Mikey Young. It’s a triumphant addition to their catalogue. Recommended for Stooges and Beach Boys fans alike. Listen and see!

Empty Cellar Records and Melodic Records worldwide.
 
releases March 12, 2021

Jeremy Earl (Woods) & Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, The Reds, Pinks & Purples) met sometime in the mid-oughts and bonded over a love of tambourines and DIY sounds. They shared many stages since, and their first serious collaboration was on the 2011 Woods album Sun & Shade. Around 2018, Earl was restless in upstate NY and accepted an invite to record in Donaldson’s studio in an undisclosed rural coastal town in Northern California. In a week they emerged with nearly an album’s worth of hazy folk-rock and psych-pop with touches of more outré lo-fi noise. Jeff Moller (The Papercuts) added bass, and they put the finishing touches on during quarantine. Heaven and Holy ebbs and flows like coastal fog between songs and dreamy instrumentals splitting the difference between The Clean’s Unknown Country and The Byrds Fifth Dimension.

http://

Jeremy Earl: Guitars, Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Mellotron, Casio
Glenn Donaldson: Guitars, Organ, Casio, Backing Vocals
Jeff Moller: Bass, Electric Piano on track 11

Released March 5th, 2021

May be an image of 1 person, standing and food

Fake Fruit distill Pink Flag era Wire, Pylon, and Mazzy Star to expound on the absurdity of modern life. Front woman Hannah D’Amato leads the group through three minute clap backs of minimal, moody post-punk. San Francisco’s Fake Fruit make indie rock that owes a little to Courtney Barnett, Life Without Buildings and early-’80s postpunk. Their debut album is out this Friday via Rocks in Your Head (the label run by Sonny Smith). The album’s lead track, “No Mutuals,” is a great taste of what’s in store. “Old Skin” is about that moment where you reach the clearing after digging yourself out of a no-good state of mind or relationship. It’s when you’re finally liberated and gain perspective on how bad things were. You can finally *exhale* as you put some dirt over the hole knowing you won’t be going back in there”

http://

Fake Fruit distill Wire from the time of Pink Flag, Pylon and Mazzy Star to expose the absurdity of modern life… when you find such condent claims regarding what’s going to be Oakland quartet’s self-titled debut album, which will be available on March 5th thanks to Rocks In Your Head Records, you know that Hannah D’Amato (vocals and guitar), Alex Post (guitar), Martin Miller (bass) and Miles MacDiarmid (drums), come willing to alter the minds of those who wish to put their ears on the post-punk, maximized in ‘No Mutuals’,which waters his first single and with which we can speculate on everything said above, sloping a daisy in which it appears  that, Public Practice and Pinch Points, may be somehow represented in the instrumentation, leaving the vowels for a ponytail that would envelop the courtney Barnett more pipe , screaming with sentimentality that is out of the rage pour into their subjects, and is that their thing, and more in the times they run, is to have fun on the stage.

Hannah D’Amato– Vox + Guitar
Alex Post– Lead Guitar
Miles MacDiarmid– Drums
Martin Miller- Bass

“No Mutals”, the new single from the debut record of Oakland’s Fake Fruit, available on Rocks In Your Head Records March 5th.

May be an image of 1 person

After over a 15 year hiatus, the Imajinary Friends are back with a new collection of sizzling electric dreams from space that pulsate with a strange, sexy, far out groove (i.e. L’Outsider, with guest vocals and lyrics by Deborrah Morgan aka Moogy.) On their eponymously self-titled 3rd LP, the Imajinary Friends tweak the frequencies and really fry all the instrumentation that is both dizzying and danceable (i.e. The Dark Sparkle or Space Trash.) The Imajinary Friends continue to experiment with sounds and rhythm on tracks like 101 Kazoos and Frangipani. This record brings the rhythms of the 70’s Krautrock scene with the dark guitars of UK Post-Punk paired with buried vocals and slurred sounds of the 90’s shoegaze movement.

The Imajinary Friends are a somewhat mysterious collective. Ever changing and evolving. The core 3 are Tim Digulla (one half of Lounge/Exotica/Electronica duo Tipsy,) Ricky Maymi (current guiterrorist & founding member of The Brian Jonestown Massacre; he also played with Mellow Drunk, Spectrum, The Wild Swans and Steve Kilbey, among many others) and Travis Threlkel (also a founding member of BJM, now, founder & creative director at Obscura Digital) For these recordings, the Imajinary Friends enlisted the following to sing vocals on several tracks: The aforementioned, Australian/French-Belgian Singer-songwriter Moogy (L’Outsider); Stephen Lawrie of The Telescopes (Hate This Party); and Marleen Nilsson of Death And Vanilla (Baby’s Bathwater, What’s being said about The Imajinary Friends…

“San Francisco’s The Imajinary Friends, mercurial pranksters of soundscape and pop, continue to turn in the unexpected with their unique brand of original and uncompromising music.” — Pete Kember aka Sonic Boom

http://

Released April 20th, 2017

The Imajinary Friends:

Tim Digulla,
Ricky Maymi,
Travis Threlkel

San Francisco-based singer/songwriter Tim Cohen has long been a fixture of the city’s garage rock and psych rock revival scene as one of the minds behind The Fresh & Onlys and Magic Trick. Despite his already storied career over the past 20 years, his forthcoming sixth solo album, “You Are Still Here”, represents another step forward with his first solo album recorded in the studio. The result is a set of sounds that invites with a friendly psych folk sound but holds some wild instrumental breakdowns just beneath. Cohen has now returned with his latest single, “Bottom Feeders,”

“Bottom Feeders” brings the anxious undercurrent of these songs to the forefront, opening on a wiry surf guitar line before the hypnotic refrain enters, bolstered by a psychedelic horn flourish. The driving pace hints back to Cohen’s garage rock roots, but the song holds onto a sense of trippy melody that is pure ‘60s psych rock. Both arresting and alluring, the song brings out both Cohen’s catchy melodies and acid-fried freak-outs in equal measure. The qualities that have made him such a fixture in the Bay Area are out in full force on his new record.

Cohen says of the song, “My flight out to Denver, where I plan to record my new album with James Barone, was delayed for six hours. I had eaten the weed edible, but sitting in the airport for so long began to drive nails into my brain. I decided I would use this anxiety to my benefit and write all the lyrics to the album. ‘Dead and Company,’ the rebranding of one of my favourite all-time bands (except with John Mayer), were doing shows at Red Rocks the next day and it turns out I was sharing a plane with many of their fans.” 

“In a dark turn, I painted a picture of these people’s lives in my mind. I thought about what it used to mean to be a (Grateful) Dead head, squandering your life possessions and following the Dead to the end of the road. In this new world, following “Dead and Company” meant something entirely different. So I came up with the worst insult I could for people that pretend to be something they are clearly not: bottom feeders. People that feed on other peoples’ vision or opinion of them. The whole song was about deadheads flying first class to a show in Colorado.” 

“I ended up recording those lyrics but scrapping the whole thing. I reassigned the song to a different idea and kept the title. The new lyrics which you hear are more about oblivion and self-awareness, nothing to do with bottom feeders per se. But I liked the title so I kept it.” Check out the song below and watch for You Are Still Here, coming March 26th via Bobo Integral.

Releases March 26th, 2021

It’s not every day you encounter a full-length album with only three tracks, This 38-minute debut LP from San Francisco Bay Area-based rock trio Terry Gross is a krautrock odyssey of epic proportions, and a sustained rock ‘n’ roll explosion you can’t help but move to. Guitarist and vocalist Phil Manley (Trans Am, Life Coach), bassist Donny Newenhouse and drummer Phil Becker co-own San Francisco’s El Studio together—it’s there they started jamming, primarily so as to put the studio itself through its paces, but one thing led to another, and the result is “Soft Opening”. Near-20-minute opener “Space Voyage Mission” is a roving, sci-fi-inspired motorik chug that speeds and slows like a workout for your ears, ending in a psychedelic bit of studio wizardry that sounds as if the song has narrowly escaped being sucked into a black hole. “Worm Gear,” too, is a like watching a flame flicker in slow-motion, with ever-shifting, serrated guitars atop Newenhouse and Becker’s pulsating, pounding low end.

Their loose, organic chemistry burgeoned into a deep camaraderie and a sound both expansive and exacting. The three experienced musicians crafted their first full-length album through the pure joy of playing together with no expectations. With the tapes rolling on their rehearsals, the band captures the exuberance of live performance and elevates those recordings through a deft use of the studio as their collective instrument. On their debut LP Soft Opening, Terry Gross channels their cosmic powers and considerable chops into a gleefully mesmerizing odyssey fit for an arena.

http://

Closer and single “Specificity (Or What Have You)” is Terry Gross at their most accessible, but by then, you’ll have long since left the ground, riding “Soft Opening” into the stratosphere. 

Specificity (Or What Have You) available now through Thrill Jockey Records 

Released January 29th, 2021

From the many musical lives of artist Glenn Donaldson emerges The Reds Pinks and Purples, a project that sifts out the purest elements of pop music and in the process chronicles the point of view of an assiduous songwriter. His new album “Uncommon Weather” is both an elusive portrait of San Francisco –– during one of its fluctuations as an untenable place for musicians and artists –– and also a self-portrait of a songwriter who has dispatched another treasured collection of timeless sounding DIY-pop songs.

http://

Self-recorded and mostly self-performed, the music on “Uncommon Weather” continuously reckons with the influence of The Television Personalities’ Dan Treacy, whose own forays into drum-machines, echo, and reverb in the early 1990s is an important reference point. Paul Weller, Robert Smith, and Sarah Records also come to mind. The album arrives with grateful timing, quick on the heels of the recent EP “You Might Be Happy Someday” and alleviating, for a brief window at least, whatever it is that keeps us coming back to this elemental music. Donaldson imagines his listeners are just like himself: fascinated and addicted to the spiritual power of uncomplicated pop classics.

Releases April 9th, 2021

galore

The bay area has a bit of history of generating groups inspired by Flying Nun Records. “Galore”, like Brilliant Colours before them make jangly pops songs in the vein of Look Blue Go Purple. It’s a low key, sort of ramshackle brilliance that Galore excel at. If you didn’t know better–and if the camera didn’t occasionally glimpse a new model of car–you might think that Galore’s music video for new single “Deja Vu” was released in the 90’s. Beyond the DIY camcorder shots, the music itself feels like a revival of a bygone era. Jangly guitars and detached vocals evoke The Aislers Set and many other Slumberland Records bands. Galore has absolutely done their sonic predecessors justice with their debut self-titled record.

This release marks the third single and music video from Galore’s self-titled debut album, and features the band (who are clearly all thrift shop aficionados) wandering through some of the familiar industrial landscape of San Francisco, in glorious 4:3 aspect ratio. They film San Francisco the way we want it to look— the rusted industry starts to feel like a playground, and the failing barriers start to feel penetrable. The video captures a very specific type of freedom that really only exists in the pages of a coming-of-age teen novel or a skate video.

The album’s opener and the first single “Lydia” was another standout track. The frantic, jumpy guitars continuously build tension with discordant riffs, until the song can take it no more and bursts with a frantic shout in the vocals and a punctuating smack of the drums. The line “I try so hard to keep it alive” feels self-referential, a statement on keeping the music the band loves alive and kicking.

The Band :

Griffin Jones, – Guitar
Britta Leijonflycht, – Guitar
Ava Rosen, – Bass
Hannah Smith, – Drums

Galore will be released June 1st via Rocks In Your Head Records.