Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music
To the poor souls who missed out on Noise Pop 2014 last week, fear not. Salvation is nigh.
This week's concert calendar may be lean, but the following shows would have all made for suitable additions to the Noise Pop curatorial scheme. So let's pretend it's still Noise Pop, shall we?
Fans of Sufjan Stevens or Dirty Projectors will cling to the grandiose pop compositions of Ellis Ludwig-Leone, aka San Fermin. The ambitious 22-year-old thinks in grand-scale terms, like most 22-year-olds fresh out of college. But what makes Ludwig-Leone special is the execution and attention to detail that even most mid-career musicians never bother with. Songs take on a cinematic dimension doubling as conceptual statements on relationships and literal/figurative exploration. This is more of an orchestra than a band, so the modest-sized stage at The Chapel could get crowded.
Santa Barbara isn’t exactly known as a hotbed for indie rock cultivation. Most audiences in the sleepy, sunny, coastal town prefer the Jack Johnsons and Ziggy Marleys of the world, maybe with a little pop-punk on the side. Gardens & Villa are one of just a few exceptions to the rule. The indie pop band reflects the personality of the oceanside escape, its songs taking on an impossibly dreamy quality, surreal, breezy beauty at every turn. The band just released an intriguing sophomore album called Dunes, which is making the rounds on the buzz blogs at just the right time, a few weeks before the band heads to SXSW.
Attention, Mirah diehards: Mirah has a new album coming in May (!). Attention those unfamiliar with Mirah: listen to her voice just once and give in. Her seductive whisper has won her heaps of respect and critical cred, and a dedicated group of fanboys and -girls (myself included). The new album is a break-up record, according to a press release. “It has some moments of darkness, some twists and turns, but ultimately, there’s a resolution.” Here’s the first single off the album, “Oxen Hope”:
Ever wonder how Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden makes the sausage, so to speak? In the video below, audiophiles and casual fans alike can appreciate the detailed explanation of how Hebden loops and records samples. You might think Hebden makes the sound-manipulation process needlessly complicated, but when the end product is as intricate and beautiful as Four Tet’s soundscapes (see the album Rounds for the proper entry point to the band’s catalogue), you realize the ends clearly justify the means.
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