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Five David Bowie Songs to Get You Through the Day

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016

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David Bowie, the Starman whose musical career spanned six decades and touched countless fans, died yesterday, Jan 10, peacefully surrounded by family after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

As the world reacts in shock and dismay after losing the one-of-a-kind pop star and musical auteur, words don’t seem enough to convey the utter void left in his loss. So, I’m spending the day instead being immersed in the rock and roll bliss he left behind for the world. Here are five essential David Bowie songs to get lost in.

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I don’t know why, but when I read the news this morning, the first thing that came into my head was Bowie’s whispering at the beginning of “Queen Bitch,” the first Bowie song I can remember hearing and remember playing endlessly. It’s been stuck in my brain ever since.

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I could have made a list of just the spacey songs Bowie recorded in the 70s and as Ziggy Stardust, from “Life on Mars” to “Starman.” I’m listening to them all today, but for some reason “Space Oddity” is the one that is making me cry. Truly, the stars look very different today.

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“Let’s Dance” is a classic. This song and Bowie’s “Modern Love” always make think of being a child listening to the radio in the 1980s. Hearing it now takes me back to that feeling of innocence and wonder. Brilliant.

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Born out of a jam session between Bowie and rock legends Queen, “Under Pressure” is officially one of Queen’s most popular songs, though Queen guitarist Brian May told Mojo magazine in 2008 that, “David took over the song lyrically. It’s a significant song because of David and its lyrical content.” I couldn’t agree more.

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Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, came out just two days before his passing. It’s been confirmed by producers to be Bowie’s farewell opus, as the songwriter apparently knew his end was near. That makes the lyrics and content of his final video, “Lazarus,” all the more potent. The autobiographical dirge opens with the line “Look up here, I’m in Heaven” and ends with a chorus of “Oh I’ll be free, ain’t that just like me?”

Rest in Peace, David Bowie.

In News

Lemmy’s Funeral Will Be Live Streamed

Posted by on Jan 8, 2016

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News of Motörhead frontman and rock and roll legend Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister’s death last week was a blow to metal fans everywhere, who loved Lemmy for his voracious musical chops and irreplaceable personality.

Though there can be little comfort after losing such a titan of rock, fans will be able to give their respects and celebrate Lemmy’s life tomorrow, as Motörhead recently announced his funeral will be streamed live on Youtube Saturday, Jan 9, at 2:30pm PST.

From the band’s website: 

“We want you ALL to be a part of this memorial service… So wherever you are, PLEASE get together and watch with fellow Motörheadbangers and friends. GO to your favorite bar, or your favorite club, make sure they have access to an internet connection and toast along with us. Or simply invite your pals around and celebrate Lemm’s life at home.”

The Youtube link to Lemmy’s memorial service and celebration is here. There is also a Facebook page where fans can share their Lemmy-inspired stories and art.

RIP Lemmy.

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Bill Callahan Coming to Gun Bun in Sonoma

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016

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Subtle lo-fi songwriter Bill Callahan, who spent 15 years making music under the name Smog before venturing out under his birth name, opens the 2016 concert season at Sonoma’s hippest winery venue, Gundlach Bundschu, next month on Feb 24.

Fans of Smog and Callahan (who I count myself among) have long been obsessed with his sonorous baritone vocals delivered over sometimes dreary, sometimes groovy and often minimalistic instrumentation. Since the late ’80s, Callahan has operated with a singularly artistic vision, infusing his poetic songs with heartbreaking and revealing storytelling lyricism.

For the upcoming February concert, co-presented by (((folkYEAH!))), the songwriter is slated to appear in Gun Bun’s historic century-old Redwood Barn, recently restored to its former glory. Carpooling is encouraged, and dressing in warm layers is a must! Tickets to this intimate, one of a kind concert are available here.

Below is a video of one of my favorite Smog tracks, “Hit the Ground Running.”

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BottleRock’s 2016 Lineup is Here

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016
Red Hot Chili Peppers headline BottleRock

Red Hot Chili Peppers headline BottleRock

Heading into its fourth year, the North Bay’s big and bold BottleRock Napa Valley music, wine and food festival has announced the lineup for 2016, taking place on May 27-29, with headliners the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder and Florence + the Machine.

Also confirmed are the Lumineers, Death Cab for Cutie, Lenny Kravitz, Walk the Moon, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ziggy Marley, Grouplove, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Gogol Bordello, Cold War Kids, Buddy Guy, Jamestown Revival, Ozomatli, the Pimps of Joytime, the Pharcyde, Langhorne Slim & the Law and many others.

North Bay and Bay Area talent will also be on display once again this year, with festival favorites Moonalice appearing, as well as Diego’s Umbrella, Royal Jelly Jive, the Deadlies, the Iron Heart, Anadel and more.

Fans of the massively popular Red Hot Chili Peppers will be glad to hear that the flashy funk rockers, who’ve been relatively quiet since releasing their last album in 2011, spent last year back in the studio and are gearing up for a massive 2016, including a top spot at BottleRock.

Soul and Motown legend Stevie Wonder last year proved he was still one of the most in-demand singers and performers today with an extended, sold-out North American tour, Songs in the Key of Life, a stage adaptation of his ambitious 1976 album of the same name.

London’s longtime indie rock sensation Florence + the Machine round out the headliners for BottleRock 2016 with their own, artful baroque pop fronted by the stunning voice of lead singer Florence Welch.

The rest of the BottleRock 2016 lineup includes Iration, MisterWives, Atlas Genius, Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, Andy Grammer, Houndmouth,  The Struts, The Joy Formidable, Shovels & Rope, X Ambassadors, The Orwells, Coleman Hell, The Suffers, Kaleo, Monophonics,  The White Panda, San Fermin, Alina Baraz, Nothing But Thieves, Particle, The Score, Fantastic Negrito, Mike Stud, Son Little, SOAK, Until The Ribbon Breaks, Black Pistol Fire, New Beat Fund, WATERS, Deap Vally, Jamie N Commons, Greg Holden, White Sea, Bird Dog, Machineheart, Secret Weapons, Roses Pawn Shop, Ivan & Alyosha, The Moth & The Flame,  X Alfonso, Taxes, Happy Fangs, Panic is Perfect, La Misa Negra, Guardian Ghost, Strangers You Know, HEARTWATCH, The HELMETS, Anadel, Bey Paule Band, Silverado Pickups, Grass Child Gypsy, Olivia O’Brien, 92 South, and the Napa Valley Youth Symphony.

BottleRock Napa Valley takes place May 27–29, at the Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St., Napa. Tickets go on sale Jan 7.

In News

Get a Sneak Peek at Royal Jelly Jive’s New Album

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015

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San Francisco soul swingers Royal Jelly Jive just crossed the finishing line in their ongoing fundraiser for their upcoming sophomore album, “Dear Mr. Waits,” which means not only will we get a new collection of the group’s groovy gypsy rock soon, but the band will be able to take the show on the road for a 2016 tour.

That’s great news, obviously. Today, the jiving jellies share a sneak peek at the upcoming album with a live studio recording of their first single, “Story,” featuring special guest Marty O’Reilly, of Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra. 

Recorded at the always excellent Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, the single, “Story,” is a slow burning and sultry dirge, featuring harmonizing vocals from Royal Jelly singer Lauren Bjelde and O’Reilly set against dusty vintage guitars and jazz rhythms. Click on the link below to watch the studio recording. Royal Jelly Jive perform on New Year’s Eve at the Big Easy in Petaluma. Details for that show are here.

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Watch the Music Video for the Vibrating Antennas’ “The Tourist”

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015

Psychedelic North Bay post-rock trio the Vibrating Antennas has a new head trip of a music video for their single “The Tourist,” off their upcoming sophomore LP, State of the Art, due to be released on Jan 8 from Melotov Records.

This darkly stoner rock dirge is a swirling shock of soaring grunge guitars, strained screaming vocals and a killer thumping bassline; and it’s been on repeat in my browser since the video’s release last week. Lyrically following a medicated loner adrift in Sonoma, “The Tourist” sees the Vibrating Antennas maturing into a spellbinding band unafraid to go into the darkness and bring it back with them.

This month, the band embarks on a West Coast tour and plays in Santa Rosa on Jan 9 with other local rockers the Down House and Red Wood, who are releasing their split 7″ and JRR Tallcan, whose new EP, “Smile,” is also fresh off the presses. Check out the video and get over to the show, details are here.

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Trebuchet Release New EP, “Rivers Out of Streams”

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015
artwork by Josh Staples

artwork by Josh Staples

Petaluma folk quartet Trebuchet have a new collection of harmonious music for you, just in time for the holidays. Rivers Out of Streams is a collaborative effort between the band and and the Santa Rosa Young People’s Chamber Orchestra. Filled with string arrangements and melodic wonder, this new release expands the group’s already lush acoustics into a swell of symphonic joy.

You can order Rivers Out of Streams on the band’s site here. It comes as a 10″ vinyl and includes unlimited streaming of the record online, which is good because you’ll want to listen to this one again and again.

Have a Punk Rock Christmas This Year

Posted by on Dec 21, 2015

It’s a dark day for punk rock, as news broke earlier that the former New York city music club CBGB, famed for their pioneering punk shows, is being transformed into a themed airport restaurant. While that atrocity sets in, take back a bit of your punk rock side with a seasonal selections of Xmas tunes done by hardcore legends.

The Ramones –  “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”

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A staple at the late CBGB, the Ramones cut to the quick in this punk rock Cristmas classic. SImple hooks, effortless vocals, this 1989 song is a favorite punk anthem every holiday season.

The Vandals – “Oi! to the World”

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I love the Vandals. They’re fun and messy and celebratory, and the band here offers up the ultimate drinking anthem to toast the holiday. Jingle bells back the hardcore riffs in a silly, but sing-along inducing hit.

The Damned – “There Ain’t No Sanity Clause”

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Inspired by a Marx Brothers line and deliberately tongue-in-cheek, this 1980 release from UK punk pioneers the Damned is decked out with jangly guitars and a shimmering tamborine. Old St Nick even makes a cameo at the end.

Fear – “Fuck Christmas”

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Enough said.

 Impact – “Punk Christmas”

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Little known Welsh punk rock band Impact only released one album as far as I can tell, a Christmas album. Fast as Hell, fun and punchy, this one’s a spirited gem.

Merry Christmas, punks!

In News

Listen to the Debut Single from Night Shade

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015

a1522266424_10Brand new North Bay electronic rock ensemble Night Shade made their offical aural debut this morning when they released their first-ever single, the haunting and hypnotic “Mother,” on their bandcamp page.

Made up of long time music makers Darwin Meiners, Emily Jane White and Derek Owen Doss, Night Shade’s dark, glassy synths and densely layered vocals here perfectly float over a swirling beat and single strained guitar chord.

Lyrically, “Mother” is longing and emotionally penetrating, as maternal figures are taken over by the mythos of patriarchy. Musically, the song builds in scope and urgency throughout with an ending that leaves you wanting more.

Hopefully, more is on the way soon from Night Shade. Stay tuned.

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BottleRock 2016 Offers Pre-Sale Passes for One Day Only

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015
No Doubt at BottleRock 2015. Photo by Jamie Soja.

No Doubt at BottleRock 2015. Photo by Jamie Soja.

Just in time for the holidays, the  North Bay’s biggest music festival, BottleRock Napa Valley, will hold a special one-day pre-sale of a limited number of Platinum, VIP and general admission passes for their 2016 event, taking place next May 27-29. The sale happens tomorrow, December 15, starting at 10am PST and lasts until midnight, or until supplies sell out.

“Last year went very well,”says Dave Graham of festival organizer Latitude 38 Entertainment. “And the day after the festival, we started anew and reviewed everyone from customers to vendors and partners to figure out where we can improve, and we have been working diligently on that all year.”

BottleRock Napa Valley 2016 promises to be even bigger and better this year, with an eclectic lineup of over 70 bands joining the best of Napa Valley food and wine. Graham says that popular additions to last year’s fest, like the always packed Culinary Stage, are being taken to the next level, and the fest hopes to entice more families with an established kid’s area that’s fun for any age.

Though the lineup will not be announced until early next January, Graham says,”This year with the credibility we were able to build with the industry and our customers, we’ve been able to bring on an amazing lineup of artists.”

Tomorrow’s pre-sale will feature four tiers of specially-priced tickets. The 3-Day Platinum Pass ($2750) features an exclusive one-of-a-kind experience that gets you up close and personal with the musicians, chefs and master sommeliers for a gourmet experience through and through.

The popular 3-Day VIP Plus Skydeck Pass ($925) this year boasts a more expansive experience, as Graham and the organizers are planning a bigger sky deck with all-day complimentary beer and wine, and private suites available as well.

There’s also the 3-Day VIP Pass ($579) with expanded culinary offerings, premium viewing and upgraded amenities. The 3-Day general admission ($250) is also available at a reduced rate tomorrow.

The sale starts Dec 15 at 10am  and tickets may be purchased at BottleRockNapaValley.com and Eventbrite.com.