Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

To make Certainty Waves, their seventh album as The Dodos, guitarist Meric Long and percussionist Logan Kroeber had to forget everything they knew about what it meant to be The Dodos.

Like the duo’s breakout sophomore album Visiter (which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2018), Certainty Waves finds The Dodos embracing the unlimited possibilities of a time when there were no preconceptions of what the band should sound like. Questions like whether the band needed to be more than just “acoustic guitar and drums,” and just what exactly the ratio should be of acoustic vs. electric guitar suddenly took a backseat to the realization that so much emphasis was mistakenly being put on form rather than spirit.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this epiphany occurred while the band was re-learning Visiter for a show in which they were to perform the record in its entirety.

Recalls Long: “At the time that show happened, I was a little bit lost in terms of which direction the record should go. We had a handful of recordings, nuggets, and song potentials, but they weren’t songs yet, and months had passed without any real progress. I was kind of debating whether to drop the kitchen sink, simplify things, or just leave them be.”

But a funny thing happened when he sat down to listen to Visiter for the first time in eight years.

“It completely surprised me how much electric guitar is on that record,” reveals Long. “The narrative had always been we were just acoustic guitar and drums.” This ostensibly simple observation was pivotal in unlocking a new approach to the material Long and Kroeber would later put to tape in the studio.

“Rather than thinking about the end result or considering the reaction of the listener, I tried to give in to gut reactions, first impulses, however silly or untrue to form they may be,” says Long. “If it was exciting in any way, we pursued it without hesitancy or question.”

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What began to emerge from the band’s rehearsals was a quasi post-punk sound that Long immediately gravitated toward. It felt new and different, yet somehow still fundamentally “Dodos.” And so, Certainty Waves was born.

Speaking of the aforementioned spirit, album opener “Forum” has it in spades: a fanfare-esque synth intro, thumping drums, trumpet bursts and fist-pumping “Hey!”s — not to mention a guitar line that wouldn’t be out of place snaking its way through a Strokes album.

Later, “SW3” employs different tactics to achieve its own frantic vitality, intertwining acoustic guitar and clicking drumsticks in a beautifully syncopated rhythm.

They’re the kind of songs that might not have existed had The Dodos immediately started work on a new record after finishing their previous one (2015’s Individ), as they were usually inclined to do. Instead, Long — the band’s primary songwriter — stepped away from music for a time after the birth of his first child, before returning in May with the debut album from his synth-based solo project FAN.

“Making the FAN record [Barton’s Den] was a bit of a crash course in recording, but it really opened up a lot of new possibilities for me in how I thought about making records since there were no guidelines,” says Long. “It’s without question that Certainty Waves would be a completely different record, or perhaps would not have existed, had I not done Barton’s Den.”

Long eagerly applied this newfound sense of freedom to his approach to The Dodos, and subverting one’s own processes and identities quickly developed into a central theme during the creation of Certainty Waves. It’s also a sentiment reflected in the album’s title — the idea that what once seemed so certain will likely prove not to be in the future. That it was only a wave passing by.

“Certainty Waves is our midlife crisis record,” acknowledges Long. “Who we thought we were, how mistaken we were, how an interference in the trajectory can flip your understanding of what came before.”

Releases October 12th, 2018
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Pre-Order: Lumerians - Call Of The Void,Vinyl,Fuzz Club - Fuzz Club

Lumerians long-overdue new LP, Call Of The Void, is officially unleashed into the world this Friday. Four years in the making it see’s the Oakland band return on top form, a face-melting combination of synth-heavy dancefloor grooves, oddball prog wig-outs and exploratory psych.

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Oakland, CA outfit Lumerians are a prodigious force in the extra-terrestrial realms of modern psychedelia. Since forming in San Francisco back in 2006, Lumerians have traversed their way through multiple different genres – offering mind-bending adventures into everything from space rock, kraut and noise to zamrock, free jazz, drone and dub. Drawing from a range of influences, both familiar and esoteric, past and present, Lumerians conjure up sounds from far into the future. In their twelve years as a band they’ve toured with everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Killing Joke and Black Moth Super Rainbow, putting out a number of critically-acclaimed releases including two ‘official’ albums and two collections of improvised compositions called Transmission from Tellos III & IV. On June 22nd the band will be returning with their third album, Call of the Void, on London-label Fuzz Club after four years under the radar. The album is dedicated to the memory of Barrett Clark, Lumerians’ long-time friend, sound engineer and collaborator who passed away in the tragic Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland 2016.

It may have taken the band four long years to put their latest album together but it was definitely worth the wait, their mystical exploratory soundscapes at their finest. Eclectic and vastly multifaceted, the album is further proof – if you needed it – that Lumerians are a singular force in contemporary psychedelia. Talking about Call of the Void, vocalist Jason Miller explains: “If ‘Transmalinnia’ represented the exploration of an alien world and ‘The High Frontier’ a voyage through space, ‘Call of the Void’ is a penetrative exploration of Earth through an alien gaze gone native – the weight of gravity, the build-up of pollution and sediment, experiences of ecstatic revelry and tragedy.”

Listen to Deafheaven’s new album ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love’

For a black metal band, Deafheaven’s sounds often feel light and effortless. The San Francisco rockers’ impressive blend of post-hardcore, screamo, and heavy metal achieves a surprisingly transcendent, almost revelatory quality, fueled by tight and aggressive rhythms and frontman George Clarke’s raw, guttural shrieks. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, which follows 2015’s New Bermuda and 2013’s crossover hit Sunbather, is out July 13th via Anti-Records. Check out the track “Canary Yellow”  which clocks in at over 12 minutes long. Opening with an airy and melodic vibe, the track soon explodes into perfectly controlled hard rock chaos.

Previewed by furious singles ‘Honeycomb’ and ‘Canary Yellow’, the record follows 2015’s ‘New Bermuda’ and comes ahead of a series of UK headline shows later in the year.

“Honeycomb” by Deafheaven from the album ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love,’ available July 13th

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Culture Abuse release their sophomore album Bay Dream. Featuring new single Calm E, Bay Dream is the San Francisco Bay Area-bred band’s first full-length release for Epitaph Records. Produced, engineered, and mixed by Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, M83), Bay Dream follows Culture Abuse’s 2016 debut Peach. The album elevates their melody-heavy garage punk to a new level, drawing inspiration from artists as eclectic as Sly and the Family Stone, Paul Simon, and reggae legend Billy Boyo.

“Dip” by Culture Abuse from the album ‘Bay Dream,’ available now

Picture yourself in front of your record collection, deciding which one you’ll listen to next. You finally choose Kilimanjaro by Teardrop Explodes; you haven’t listened to it for a long time. In that moment, you notice that your partner placed your Face to Face copy in an incorrect slot. It goes with you to the record player too. A few minutes later, you corroborate that both Cope and Davies made prevailing, lucid and brilliant records. And you dream thinking how would they sound together, in an hypotetic alloy that feels almost impossible straight away. There are only fourteen years away from one record to
the other, but they seem made in different centuries, different planets. We find the answer at the Electric Duck studios in San Francisco, Kelley Stoltz’s base of operations. A Detroit-native, Kelley was an adolescent moved by post-punk and English new-age, and became an adult falling in love with the extensive pop legacy from the 60s.

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Both references define one of the strongest, most talented
discographies of the last years. Filtering and tying those sounds together with freshness and distinction is what makes Kelley an unique composer. Stoltz gets ostentation and histrionics out of the best 80s pop and supplies it with outstanding melodies and sense of humour. What Brian Wilson doing a cover by Wire’s The 15th would feel like.

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Daily Dose: Deafheaven, "Canary Yellow"

Deafheaven’s sound often feel light and effortless. The San Francisco rockers’ impressive blend of post-hardcore, screamo, and heavy metal achieves a surprisingly transcendent, almost revelatory quality, fueled by tight and aggressive rhythms and frontman George Clarke’s raw, guttural shrieks.

Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, which follows 2015’s New Bermuda and 2013’s crossover hit Sunbather, is out July 13th via Anti-Records. Check out the song “Canary Yellow” below, which clocks in at over 12 minutes long. Opening with an airy and melodic vibe, the track soon explodes into perfectly controlled hard rock chaos.

“Canary Yellow” by Deafheaven from the album ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love,’ available July 13th

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San Francisco’s Pllush have mastered the art of hazy harmony, as evidenced by their forthcoming debut record, Stranger to the Pain. The band (  were formerly known as Plush) have released three singles: including the sprawling sentimental rock ballad “Shannon” the wailing and screeching track “Ortega,” and “Big Train” which continues in the same dreamy shoegaze vein— with bolder guitars and even bigger drama

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Stranger to the Pain, will be the San Francisco foursome’s debut full-length, It surges with this kind of heaving, inspired song craft, its downcast indie-pop core awash in gauzy static. Pllush, for years a standout among the Bay Area indie set, has recently drawn praise from national outlets such as The Fader and NPR ahead of the release of the album,

Pllush formed in 2014 after Helm mentioned wanting to start a band to Eva Treadway and Dylan Lockey, With the addition of Sinclair Riley, who also plays with Treadway in The She’s, then going by Plush they released a three-song demo, Pale,

by the end of the year. Pllush appeared on those few songs with its sauntering gait and teardrop melodies already intact, a sound that’s only grown more booming and confident. The demo also includes that very first composition, which is titled like a statement of intent: “Soft in the Dark.” Helm, made a series of key music connections: her short-lived garage-pop group The Sweethearts played with Duterte’s pre-Jay Som group Summer Peaks, who were then still high schoolers.  A couple years later, Pllush performed one of its first club gigs in San Francisco, opening for Jay Som.

‘Stranger to the Pain’ out June 8th, 2018. Released by: Father/Daughter Records

San Francisco’s The Love-Birds have been tearing up their local scene, breaking hearts and making fans across the city’s disappearing DIY spaces and proper venues alike since 2016. After releasing a 7-inch EP in early 2017 via local label Empty Cellar Records, they’re ready to unveil In The Lover’s Corner, their debut album & first release on their new home, Trouble In Mind Records.

The album eases into view with the first track, “Again”; it’s gentle acoustic strum augmented by guitarist Eli Wald’s chiming electric twelve-string. From there the listener is treated to dynamic, life-affirming power-pop; bell-ringing, fuzz stompers (”River Jordan”), warm, carefully crafted fragile pop (”Clear The Air”, “Failure and Disgrace”), and urgent, crystalline rockers (”Hit My Head”, “Weak Riff”). The Love-Birds approach their craft with a classicist’s ear; with nods to their Seventies originators as well as Nineties torch-bearers, composing near-perfect future classics that ooze with subtle, interesting melodic twists and hummable, finger-pricking hooks that are instantly memorable. Aside from mastering by Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), In The Lover’s Corner is a decidedly local affair, with album art by Shayde Sartin (Fresh & Onlys, Sonny and the Sunsets) and recorded in two sessions, one with engineer Glenn Donaldson (Art Museums, Skygreen Leopards) and another with Kelley Stoltz.

Released May 25th, 2018

The Love-Birds are:
Charlie Ertola: Bass
Eli Groshelle: Drums & Percussion
Thomas Rubenstein: Vocals & Guitar
Eli Wald: Vocals & 6 / 12-string Guitars

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When first arriving on the Bay Area music scene in late 2014, Pllush made a dent with a powerful set of tracks that fit nicely within the rising wave of shoegaze/dream pop revival bands at the time. However, due to an undeniable songwriting prowess that extends far beyond convoluted pedal-board setups or louder amps, Pllush had elevated themselves into a league of sonic mastery, not dissimilar from obvious touchstone influences (i.e. Mazzy Star, Slowdive, Portishead). The quartet’s second batch of songs, Please, furthered their growing following and replaced their initial gravitation towards maxed-out guitars and splashed cymbals with an eerie, groove-filled bent, channeling Drop Nineteens at their most tender, and imbuing Grass Widow-esque layers of harmony into songs already dense with melody.

As the world around the band has changed in the interim between releases, they have followed suit- they added an “L” to the name, and undergone the whirlwinds of personal flux that naturally occur in such extended periods of time. But rest assured: the only dynamic of the band that has changed is by each member doubling down into the personal qualities that made this group so special in the first place. Which brings us to the year 2018, and the release of Pllush’s debut LP, Stranger to the Pain. 

Whereas on earlier releases, singer/guitarist Karli Helm merely teased her abilities as a singer, here she fully embraces her natural pop-tinged mastery of the human voice, on standouts like “Restart”, pushing the boundaries of the Rock and Roll genre while layering dizzying harmonies over an instrumental track that Built to Spill would kick themselves for not thinking of first. Meanwhile, Eva Treadway provides a perfect foil with an effortlessly cool approach to laying her sometimes light-hearted (“Ortega”) and frequently heartbreaking (“Fallout”) lyrics over her more driving style of guitar playing, as indebted to Slanted and Enchanted era Pavement as it is to the best work of The Donnas, seamlessly working clanging guitar abrasion into pop gems. Dylan Lockey and Sinclair Riley fill out the rhythm section on drums and bass, respectively, with Lockey’s snap-tight precision guiding the mood and tempo of the record (i.e. highlights such as “3:45”), and Riley’s complex bass work constructing a rich and deeply melodic backbone for Helm and Treadway to build upon. Stranger to the Pain is the kind of record that reintroduces a band whose previous catalog stands assuredly on its own as a new and fresh face- and like a conversation with an old friend, once it’s over, you will want to restart.

 

San Francisco’s Pllush will release their debut album, Stranger to the Pain, on June 8th, 2018. Listen to the track “Ortega” which the band calls “an honest reflection on growing up.“Stranger to the Pain” will be available on Oxblood + Bone Half & Half (limited to 300) and Bone (limited to 300) vinyl. Both variants come with a full color, double-sided insert, download card, and exclusive postcard illustrated by artist, Faye Orlove.

Stranger to the Pain out June 8th, 2018.

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The Ty Rex corner of Ty Segall’s oeuvre represents the nom-de-rock behind which the artist puts his spin on favored Tyrannosaurus Rex and T. Rex compositions. With previous releases now dwelling in out-of-print nether-regions, the album compiles the six-song Ty Rex EP (a.k.a. Ty Rex I, originally released by Goner Records as a limited edition 12-inch for Record Store Day 2011) and the two-song Ty Rex II 7-inch (RSD 2013). As if this wasn’t enough of a corrective gesture, Ty Rex is expanded to include a previously-unreleased cover as a bonus
For those who missed out on this nook of Segall’s rapidly-growing footprint across the rock landscape, here is a cursory rundown: The compilation showcases a nice balance between T. Rex’s ’67-70 psych-folk incarnation under the name Tyrannosaurus Rex and the better-known pioneering and perfecting of glam-rock that defined the initial ’71-73 era under the shortened T. Rex moniker. Kicking things off is the thick, woozily rocking interpretation of “Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart,” one of two covers pulled from Tyrannosaurus Rex’s fourth and best album, 1970’s A Beard of Stars. Segall then double-dips into the consummate T. Rex (and for that matter, the entire glam-rock movement) achievement, The Slider, with a rendition of “Buick MacKane” followed by an excellent dirtying-up of the title track.Clearly executed with the ear and understanding of a super-fan, next up is Segall’s awesome tackling of “Woodland Rock” an Electric Warrior outtake that also surfaced on the B-side to 1971’s non-album “Hot Love” single. Returning to Tyrannosaurus Rex fare for the two tracks that originally concluded the Ty Rex I EP, “Salamanda Palaganda” originates from 1968’s Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages and “Elemental Child” from A Beard of Stars. “Cat Black” (from Tyrannosaurus Rex’s 1969 album, Unicorn) and Electric Warrior’s closing song “The Motivator” follow, before wrapping up this compilation of Ty-Rex material is the aforementioned previously unreleased bonus track, Segall’s cover of “20th Century Boy” (a non-album T. Rex single from 1973).

All Songs by Marc Bolan / T. Rex 
Goner Records, 2015
Released November 27th, 2015