Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music


We’ll just assume that your New Year’s Resolution was to go to as many shows as possible in 2014. That’s ours every year, so we’ll show you the ropes. Let's start you off with these:

Califone, The Chapel, Tuesday

This isn’t your father’s Califone. Tim Rutili is still the man with the plan, but gone are long-standing members Jim Becker and Joe Adamik, who are now hard at work in another indie alt-folk project you may have heard of, Iron and Wine. But despite losing a few limbs of the previous Califone incarnation, Rutili has soldiered on in spite of what has been a “painful” transition.” And by soldiered on Califone’s new album, Stitches, might be the band’s best to date, if not it’s most revealing. Finally we can hear Rutili’s thorny, gut-wrenching lyrics, all the more poignant minus his long-lost bandmates.

Mikal Cronin, Rickshaw Stop, Wednesday

This particular installment of the high-profile Rickshaw Stop 10th Anniversary shows might be the most eagerly anticipated of the star-studded event. The hometown indie rock hero Cronin took the blogosphere by storm in 2013 with MCII, which Consequence of Sound declared “somewhere between Velvet Underground's Loaded and The White Stripes' White Blood Cells.” And that’s not an overstatement at all. Many believed this to be the album of 2013. No surprise, really, given his connection to Bay Area wonder boy Ty Segall, that Cronin turns garage rock into the stuff of hits. That’s Segall’s M.O. and just another gift he’s given SF rock obsessives. Side note: If you can’t make this event, Rickshaw Stop keeps the party going this week with The Spits on Tuesday, Geographer on Thursday and YACHT on Friday. I wonder if they’ll rent me a room for the week.

Sea Wolf, Great American Music Hall, Friday

Are you a moody girl with a weakness for sappy romance fare? Did you devour the Twilight series? Did you pour over the soundtrack to New Moon? Did you stumble upon Sea Wolf on that soundtrack, dig deep into their catalogue only to come out even more hopelessly addicted to sappy romance fare? You’re probably not alone. That’s Alex Brown Church’s demographic, whether he likes it or not. The LA-based, mid-career singer-songwriter has built a steady and growing following thanks in part to the production touches of Phil Ek (Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, The Shins), but his deeply personal songcraft keeps fans addicted.


Tennis, Bottom of the Hill, Friday

There’s sultry and then there’s Alaina Moore, the “better half” of the husband/wife indie pop duo Tennis. Moore’s voice pulls you in, wines you, dines you, spins you around until you’re drunk with an inflated sense of adorable. She makes listeners eat off her fingers, and you’ll feel like buying her a drink after just a few songs. Take a waltz through their catalogue and just try not to be smitten. It’s impossible.  

Follow @ChrisTrenchard for more words like these. 

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