Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music
If you’re one of the lucky few who snagged tickets in the ½ second they were available for Phoenix’s Monday night show at the Indy, well, GOOD FOR YOU. I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU.
For the rest of us, follow me to these shows and free yourself from the shackles of FOMO.
You know what you’re going to get from Low — the slow dramatic build, the heart-string-plucking narrative, the shared misery of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, the vague darkness washing over you, etc. But now, we shouldn’t be so sure about our expectations. The slowcore indie outfit from Minnesota still maintains the same chilling style, except that rascal from Wilco, Jeff Tweedy, now pulls the strings behind the scenes. Or at least that’s the case on the band’s just-released album, The Invisible Way, and the difference is there. The motifs trend a bit folkier, and the general sentiment takes a turn towards occasional optimism. Imagine that.
The Wu-Tang production markers are everywhere in Ghostface Killah’s game. The lo-fi, vintage soul keys, the blurred beats, the shifty starts and stop (start-stop/stop-start/ok-go-now-flow-now). But he’s his own man, and Killah has by now carved out a solo career nearly on par with the Wu-Tang brand. His 2010 release, Apollo Kid, was a fearless experiment in inner-city magical realism, where shit-got-real meets shit-got-weird. Now, Ghostface is proving himself in another mediums. Ghostface has made a comic book, written by Ghostface and produced by RZA. Not kidding.
Locals familiar with the hysterics of Mustache Harbor know yacht rock should really never take itself seriously. Of course, legends like Christopher Cross, Hall & Oates and Steely Dan took the adult contemporary genre into high-art terrain at times. Had they thought to do it with fake mustaches, there’d be no need for Mustache Harbor. But they didn’t. And you need this:
The former Men at Work frontman is still marching proudly to the rhythm of his own guitar. The artistic impetus rarely wavers with Hay. He's made yet another album, Finding My Dance, his tenth solo album since 1987, which is set for release this spring. Yes, there is life after “Down Under, ” “Overkill” and “Who Can It Be Now?” But, well, I can’t resist:
Hippie cowboy and Phosphorescent bandleader Matthew Houck hails from Alabama and wears it proudly. On the opening track of his 2010 album Here’s to Taking it Easy called “It’s Hard to be Humble,” Houck speaks to his home state directly with a honky-something twang: “Hear me, Alabama, I was never meant to carry no shame / Ah but hear me, Alabama, I can hear you when you’re calling my name.” His band has taken a worldly turn on his latest release, Muchacho, as the alt-country aesthetic gives way to alt-Americana ambience. The results are staggering, emotive, transportive, and transformational. Seek it out now and discover what could be one of the finest albums of the year.
Follow @ChrisTrenchard for more words like these.