Week two of Fauxchella starts tomorrow, and the culturally rich get richer here in SF. It’s absurd how much of the world’s best musical talent will come through the Bay Area in the weeks before, during and after this year’s two-week Coachella experiment. There’s so much, in fact, that our normal five-bullet point column won’t suffice.
Below, I present to you Fauxchella Power Rankings, prioritized in completely subjective and biased order.
20. Kasabian, Monday, Fillmore— British band explores a vast variety of genres, from dance motifs to spazzy rock riffs to electronic experimentations, and seem to be direct musical descendants of The Beatles. Tongues are firmly planted in cheek, too: they recently spoofed The Artist in a bizarro-world turn.
19. Counting Crows, Monday, Fox Theater — The hometown heroes are back at it with their first release since 2008, Underwater Sunshine. Early returns are lukewarm, but the thought of seeing these guys in the Fox should get any nostalgic Bay Area rock fan curious.
18. Dom Kennedy, Slim’s, Monday — Moody beats and eerie jams are Dom Kennedy’s forte. The L.A. rapper talks a smooth, edgy game, with shades of early Ice Cube.
17. Suzanne Vega, Wednesday, Yoshi’s San Francisco — The living legend is simply a must-see for anyone at all interested in canonical American folk/pop music. Her mythology continues to grow and morph as the days since her upbringing in the Greenwich Village coffeehouse scene of the late 70s/early 80s — you’ve heard “Tom’s Diner” before — fade into the rearview.
16. The Horrors, Monday and Tuesday, Bimbo’s — A solid point of reference for these English shoegaze revivalists might be fellow Brit sensation Elbow. The Horrors’ 2011 album Skying has the same sort of ambitious intricacies the Elbow exemplified on Build a Rocket Boys!
15. Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Monday through Friday, Great American Music Hall — The week-long residency at GAMH is well deserved for this cult-followed re-start. The band settles for nothing short of epic in their expansive instrumental sound, and their visuals will haunt you the eff out if their apocalyptic crescendos haven’t done so already.
14. SBTRKT, Monday, The Independent — Just…listen:
13. Fanfarlo, Tuesday, Slim’s — Uber-fun indie pop outfit absolutely nailed their latest entry, Rooms Filled with Light. The Brit quintet’s 2012 album has made a bold album worthy of their previous, fist- and hair-raising album Reservoir, which reminded at times of Arcade Fire. Nuff said.
12. Pulp, The Warfield, Tuesday — The show sold out in a flash. The general reason? The celebrated British cool kids haven’t toured in over a decade after rising mediorically to fame in the late 90s. Now they’re coming back to the common people.
11. Bill Frisell, Herbst Theatre, Saturday — Legendary jazz guitarist is a wonder to take in live, a virtuoso of the highest order.
10. Gotye, Wednesday, Bill Graham Civic Center — The idea that this band is a one-hit wonder in the making is likely way off. Their hugely popular hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” is maybe the fifth or sixth best song on their album Making Mirrors.
9. Wild Beasts, Thursday, The Independent — The band seems destined for Broadway with its theatrical, hyper-dramatic approach to a pop song.
8. Wild Flag, Fillmore, Wednesday — Before she was the darling of cable television comedy, Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein was quite the rock star. Still is. Her ladies have some serious edge, and know their way around a punk rock song.
7. Wu Lyf, Tuesday, The Independent (and Wednesday at the New Parish) — These guys are basically Wolf Parade without the clarity, which is saying something if you know the occasional guttural sounds of Wolf Parade.
6. School of Seven Bells, Friday, Rickshaw Stop — Brooklyn duo channels the shoegaze haze of My Bloody Valentine with aplomb and soothing textures and sounds often like there should be 10 bandmembers onstage to produce all that sound. Slow builds will be trending hard.
5 .The Naked and Famous, Saturday, Warfield — Few bands touch on all the sensory pleasures at once like The Naked and Famous. The Kiwi pop rockers are the musical embodiment of pomp and circumstance and celebratory anthem singalongs.
4. Explosions in the Sky, Monday and Tuesday, Palace of Fine Arts — With the same anthemic intentions as cosmic-rockers Sigur Ros (but none of the shrill Scandinavian lyrical confusion), Explosions in the Sky reminds listeners that inspired composition can be just as viscerally expressive as inspired traditional songwriting.
3. Justice, Tuesday, Fox Theater — This French duo presents dance music at its most eclectic. Melodies are just as important as getting a crowd pogoing.
2. Bon Iver, Thursday, Bill Graham Civic Center — Here’s the Bon Iver story in 140 characters, give or take: dude gets heartsick, secludes himself in remote cabin, records touching solo album, meets Kanye West, reaps benefits of Kanye's notoriety, assembles band to record follow-up album, follow-up album rises to No. 2 on Billboard chart, music industry is turned on head.
1. M83, Sunday and Monday April 23, Fillmore — Anthony Gonzalez, aka M83, is operating on another level right now. His ambient yet furiously meaningful electropop captures the zeitgeist better than anyone. In short, do whatever you can to weasel your way into either of these two shows. I won’t advocate committing any crimes, but missing this show would be...wait for it.... criminal.