When the seven musicians involved in Los Campesinos! sing in unison, the effect is jarring, like hearing an entire generation of 20-somethings speaking all at once. They seem to speak for a world of youths with an exuberance for life and honest expression and exclamatory punctuation, subtlety be damned.
The infectious yet carnage-minded pop punk outfit from Cardiff, Wales, plays Great American Music Hall Friday night, and fans will be bouncing off ornate pillars and singing along to the band's anthemic songbook if past gigs are any indication.
Perhaps no one is better suited in the band name category for the campy wilderness of Golden Gate Park, venue for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival this weekend, than Brooklyn’s Woods. Their sound — a psych-y lo-fi mix of charming melodies and fuzzy, seizuring guitar lines — should also match up well with the hallowed outdoor space. The band has caught the attention of various taste-makers with its last three albums: the experimental and folky Songs of Shame, the backyard tripper minimalist jamming of At Echo Lake and their slightly more polished and accessible Sun and Shade.
What could be dubbed the Really, Really, Ridiculously Good-Looking Tour rolled through town last night at the Great American Music Hall, courtesy of era-chameleons Twin Shadow and the truly independent artist known as Diamond Rings. Both acts have been touring in support of stellar debut albums for about a year now and recently joined forces, a coup for indie glam rock fans. The results make it look like some sort of if-looks-could-kill rock equation.
Last night’s Sleigh Bells/Neon Indian show at the Independent was one of those nights we’ll recall 20 years from now when we’re explaining to our robot doctor why we’ve gone partially deaf:
“Why didn’t you wear ear plugs?” the doctor will ask, unfamiliar with human masochism.
“Well. It was f-ing’ Sleigh Bells doc. They’re gloriously loud, and we didn’t want to miss a decibel,” we’ll say sans regret, adding “that’s kind of the point with some bands. Now fix me.”
Move over, Pitchfork. SF-based mySpoonful recently launched a website and tri-weekly email newsletter that neatly packages new music for indie lovers lacking the time to sort through all the noise. Already boasting a dedicated Bay Area following, the site (which just launched nationally) is poised to become one of the best new music sources on the web this year.
If you're yearning for some good old fashioned indie rock, get a dose of it at Madrone Art Bar's Fringe night, where DJs Blondie K and subOctave blast cuts from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lykke Li, Cut Copy, the Ting Tings and others while projecting music videos all over the walls for the full sensory experience.
Sure, it may sound slightly contradictory—meditative chants and focused warrior poses juxtaposed with beer and indie beats—but after experiencing this weekend's Wanderlust festival firsthand, I was eager to defend the bohemian concept to all my cynical friends. I was scoffed at for attending such a "crunchy" event, but I am NOT a tie-dye wearing yogi and this affair was NOT the hippy-dippy peacefest that skeptics made it out to be. A little reminiscent of Burning Man, maybe, but I'm choosing instead to coin it more of a new age kind of lovefest. Downward dog with yoga hotshot Shiva Rea by morning, folky tunes with Jenny Lewis and Gilian Welch by day and party with fire dancers and DJs by night—Wanderlust proved to be an exercise of balance on all levels.