Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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”

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

DIY kitchen pop project of Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Art Museums etc) the new 12″ from Tough Love Records (UK) now. then an LP in Spring 2021 for Slumberland Records (US)/Tough Love,

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.

“I was guzzling wine at my favorite bar in San Francisco, the Rite Spot, and the entertainment that night was some local opera singers singing along with a big video screen showing a collage of various operatic moments with subtitles. One particular subtitle, ‘Ah! (etc)’ made me laugh, I thought it was a perfect description of life – the joy of existence against the etcetera of it all, the struggle. With a heavy head of rose’ it seemed like ecstatic poetry! I scribbled it on a napkin and thought it might make a good title for something” And so the mystery behind the title of Kelley Stoltz new record is solved. Less of a mystery is the quality contained therein… after 12 self-titled releases and a several more under pseudonyms, Stoltz is the word for “one-man-band-home-recording-pop-songs of idiosyncratic character.” A quick follow up to his more power pop and pub rock LP only “Hard Feelings” offering in the summer, “Ah!(etc)” finds Stoltz returning to his sweet spot, writing songs that never were, but should have been in the 60’s and 80’s.

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As with other LPs Stoltz makes virtually every noise on the album which was written and recorded in 2019 at his Electric Duck Studio in San Francisco. A few friends popped in to play along… Stoltz former bandmate, Echo & the Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant adds electric guitar to “The Quiet Ones” a sort of Scott Walker lyrical take on strangers and neighbours. Karina Denike formerly of Dance Hall Crashers adds gorgeous vocals on the bossanova groover “Moon Shy”, where Sergeant pops up again in a spoken word role on the outro. Allyson Baker of SF’s Dirty Ghosts sings on “She Likes Noise”, a song Stoltz wrote for her in celebration of her love of seeing live bands.

Released November 20th, 2020