Bottom of the Hill
Hot off the heels of their 2009 EP,
It feels like it was just yesterday when the festival touring circuit was over. Well, the winter hibernation is over, and with festivals like SXSW, Coachella, Sasquatch and Bonnaroo just around the corner, there are some big music decisions to make on the home front. Here are our March and April suggestions.
Quasi, The Independent, 3/10: These Portland staples have been touring and impressing fans since '93. Over the years, they've collectively toured and/or recorded with Sleater-Kinney, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Built to Spill, Bright Eyes, and many others.
The crowd at Bottom of the Hill last night was overwhelmingly dude, with just a spattering of female support. It’s been twelve years since Far released their critically acclaimed second album, Water and Solutions, but the nostalgia for the emotive (though never weepy), post-hardcore album was very, very present. Last night’s show wasn’t just a reunion for the band; it was a reunion for the fans, some of whom have been waiting like, a decade to be in the same room with the Sacramento natives. Case in point: Matranga breaking mid-song to belt out his own rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo,” an improvisation that provoked sporadic hoots and hollers from the few girls in the room.
Time flies when you're having fun, and we sure must have been having a lot of it because January came and went with a blink of an eye. However, February in San Francisco is an exciting time for music lovers. Not only does it signify the beginning of festival season (Noise Pop's pre-party is on 2/18 and they're pumping music nearly every night straight through 3/1), it's also the start of big artists' West Coast legs of their tour. Yay for us! Noise Pop coverage to come, but to warm you up here's this month's hot list.
It’s more than a mere ‘80s revival at this point: the pulsing beat and almost Afropop-like rhythm guitar of the title track of Cold Cave’s newly reissued full-length, Love Comes Close (Matador). Are you listening to a great, new track by New Order, returned to its old form, rather than a coolly hot Iladelphia/NYC threesome? Like La Roux, Glass Candy and umpteen Yazoo and Human League acolytes, the group hews that closely to the chilly mechanics of Reagan-era pop. Frankly faux, sharply minimal keys are intertwined in an icy clinch with ennui-laden, art-damaged vocals.
Seattle’s Dutchess and the Duke have a knack for throwing you for a loop: Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison’s 2008 debut, She’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke (Hardly Art), found new ways into seemingly played-out formulas -- namely an early electrified folk sound familiar to fans of Dylan’s Bring It All Back Home -- and the two’s new full-length, Sunset/Sunrise (Hardly Art), goes one better. The storytelling is sharp and surprising. The pop referents hark to the sweetly tough innocence of the Ronettes, as well as the earnest yarn-spinning skills of Phil Ochs. However you shuffle it, Sunset/Sunrise is a delight.
The ridiculous and unfounded war on SF's all-ages music venues continues. Threats have gotten serious. Accusations ridiculous. A litany of SF's problems (think murder and violent crime) have all been blamed on all-age venues such as Slim's, Cafe Du Nord and the Great American Music Hall. Clearly, rock, jazz, folk and bluegrass are dangerous for our youth. A vocal group of ultra-conservative neighbors have gotten their panties in a bundle and are using the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as their a-bomb. Check out our video on the issue below and then click here to find out more about what you can do.
What has been washing up on Beach House’s shores? Plans for a new baby, according to the band grapevine, as well as a bouncing new album. Duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have been working on the latter this year in upstate New York at Dreamland Studios, a church-turned-recoding-studio, alongside producer-engineer Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, !!!).
After the rapturous reception that accompanied the pair’s second long-player, **Devotion** (Carpark), one can easily accept the word from Seattle -- home of Beach House’s new label, Sub Pop -- that the twosome’s third full-length is going to be a beaut.