Rest not, ye wicked ones. Your Fourth of July hangover stands no chance of winning over these shows.
Promising news for fans of garage punk rock supergroups: Cloud Nothings' frontman Dylan Baldi and Wavves singer Nathan Williams have been conspiring. Yes, two of the most fearless, thought-provoking young rock stars-in-the-making appear to be collaborating. On what? We don’t know exactly. Whatever it is, we will listen. Cloud Nothings, of course, is riding a still-growing wave of acclaim and notoriety, in large part due to 2012’s utterly gripping album Attack on Memory, which the band recently followed up with yet another winner, Here and Nowhere Else. The band has now released four studio albums in five years, an unusually industrious work rate for most young bands (stop yawning, Ty Segall!). Their sweat is our gain.
Mac DeMarco is a cool name. But–major spoiler alert–the artist known as Mac DeMarco is actually named Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV. I know! I mean, Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV isn’t bad, kind of exotic, but it doesn’t really roll off the tongue. It makes sense Mac simplified–that’s what the 23-year-old Canadian is all about: easy, accessible, feel-good, tunes. For instance, it only took Mac DeMarco 30 days to write, record and mix his latest album, Salad Days, as if to say, "Why belabor the point? Why make life unnecessarily hard on one's self?"
It’s official–J5 is a nostalgia act. At least for the time being. And that’s alright, because nostalgia is part and parcel to the legendary hip-hop group’s initial charm. The long-celebrated collective has been making the rounds since a Coachella unification in the desert last year. Turns out the hits are still golden, from nearly every review of that set. “Quality Control,” “The Way We Do It,” “What’s Golden,” over and over and over again.
Depressing and wildly riveting, The Antlers occupy a dark spot in the music world’s soul, searching for lighter spaces, but not in a hurry, happy to dwell on life’s most damning questions. Some compare the Brooklyn band to Funeral-era Arcade Fire, but Antlers songs never explode into moments of redemption like they do for Arcade Fire. Rather, it’s a feedback loop of more macabre, more minor chords, more darkness, more questions. This song is magnificent in its scope and simple beauty.
This modest-yet-impressive mini-festival brings some of our favorite new and old bands this year: the electropop duo Wye Oak, SF institution Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, and local producer Blackbird Blackbird. Wye Oak has long been held in high esteem by the critical community, but the duo’s most recent effort–the stunning, accessible, moody 2014 album Shriek–represents a high water mark. Sharing the marquee is Thao Nguyen, one of those rare cultural treasures who has managed to keep local audiences on their toes. And here's Blackbird Blackbird at its finest:
For more words like these, follow @ChrisTrenchard on Twitter!