Dark and drenched in reverb, the experimental indie rock coming from new Sonoma County trio the Drought Cult mixes engrossing hooks and fuzzed-out psychedelics for a lush dreamscape of sound.
Featuring long-time North Bay rockers–Francesco Echo on guitars and vocals, Jef Overn on bass and Anthony Vaccaro on drums–this is a new incarnation of music from the trio, who originally got together under Echo’s name earlier this year. Now armed with a forlorn edge and undercurrent of gloom, the Drought Cult have released their debut EP, Moon Lust, on bandcamp.
See the band live for the first time this weekend, as they join fellow Sonoma County rockers Manzanita Falls and San Francisco soul rock outfit Doncat for a show on Saturday, Nov 12, at HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol. Copies of the Drought Cult’s EP will be available at the show, and you can get a listen right here, when you click on the player below.
Santa Rosa singer and songwriter Charlie Davenport is the man behind indie-folk outfit Rags. In contrast to his earlier full band setup, Davenport goes solo on Rags’ new album, Tilted Shrine, performing and singing a collection of introspective acoustic numbers alone, often in a single take, and straight to tape.
Reportedly, Davenport wrote much of the album out in the wilds of Salt Point State Park, along the coast north of Fort Ross. And that’s the scene where the music video for Titled Shrine’s first single, “Love II,” takes place. Directed and edited by Jim Agius and Timmy Lohdi, the video recreates the trek that Davenport would embark upon and reflects the song’s wistful and patient sound. You can get Tilted Shrine here.
Oakland singer-songwriter Jessie Antonick is an emotionally resonant artist, and her output under the moniker Pony Hunt reflects her personal journey with creative flair and nostalgic sweetness.
Pony Hunt’s debut album, Heart Creak, plays like a long lost jukebox of ’50s and ’60s pop imbued with forlorn heartsick and soulful sounds. Released this month, Heart Creak is already receiving rave reviews.
Hear for yourself when Pony Hunt performs an album release show on Saturday, Oct 29, at the Last Record Store, 1899 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa. 2pm. Free.
Petaluma’s retro soul collective the Highway Poets have been jamming in the North Bay and beyond for several years now, racking up three Bohemian NorBay Music Awards and many other “best of” accolades along the way. A dynamic live band who push the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll, folk, indie and soul music, the band is currently prepping to record their first professional studio album and they’ve kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds necessary.
The band promises the new album will be a gritty and sophisticated collection, a modern blend of rock infused with classic influences and diverse feel-good vibes. With a little help from friends and fans, the Highway Poets plan on making this record the right way in a decked-out studio, produced with the best engineers and equipment available.
Click on the link here to go to the band’s Kickstarter site and throw them a few bucks to get them in studio. Donation perks include copies of the album and production credit, meaning that this is a great chance to both pre-order the album and help ensure it gets made at the same time. There’s also a chance to appear in an upcoming music video, backstage meet-and-greets and more, depending on your donation. Don’t delay, help the Highway Poets now.
The Highways Poets perform next on Saturday, Oct 29, at Kokomo winery, 4791 Dry Creek Rd Healdsburg. 5pm. 707.433.0200
The Sam Chase & the Untraditional, San Francisco’s raucous Americana outfit, never shy away from the chance to ruffle a few feathers, or make a strongly worded point. This attitude reached a fever pitch with the release of their latest album, “Great White Noise” back in late April. It is a sarcastic and unapologetic look at the societal effects of the constant bombardment of information that we have to wade through as a culture today.
It is only fitting, that their music videos match the subject matter. The official music video for the title track, “Great White Noise,” is best enjoyed with a stiff drink. It is visually as heavy and confrontational as the lyrics. It starts with a helping of sweet nostalgia, and melodic major key optimism in order to lull the viewer into a false sense comfort of a simpler time, before bashing you over the head with the ugly side of our American dream and projecting the side of us that we try so hard to look away from on a giant screen behind our prophetic anti-hero, Sam Chase.
Upon the release of this video, the band will be heading out on a 17 date East Coast tour through the month of October. They are sure to raise some eyebrows with this video in the towns they will be hitting through the bible belt. Perhaps they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Their triumphant return will be just in time before election day and Sam’s birthday, on November 4th at The Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. Joining them on the bill will be the North Bay’s “best folk band” according to this year’s NorBay Awards, The Crux.
Already a highlight of live music in the North Bay, the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University has announced that it is dropping plans to build a proposed 10,000-seat outdoor pavilion on the university’s campus. The school will instead focus efforts on enhancing graduation rates, the student experience and academic programs.
In a statement, new Sonoma State University President Judy K. Sakaki said, “After reviewing the project with my new administrative team, and consulting with key stakeholders we’ve agreed that utilizing our already existing facilities at the Green Music Center, in lieu of adding an additional facility, would best serve our students, our academic mission and the surrounding communities.”
The Green Music Center already includes the dynamic Weill Hall, which features outdoor lawn seating for bigger concerts, and Schroeder Hall, housing an amazing pipe organ and used for recitals and student classes. This weekend, the Green Music Center opens its 2016-2017 season with a performance by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis on Saturday, Oct 1, and Buena Vista Social Club vocalist Omara Portuondo on Sunday, Oct 2.
Fairfax songwriting partners Velvy Appleton and Anita Sandwina have spent more than a decade making harmonic folk under the moniker of Spark & Whisper. Their rhythmic tunes stand out from the crowd thanks to transformative melodies and undeniable chemistry. This month, Spark & Whisper released their third, already acclaimed album, Monument.
Available now on bandcamp, the record of 11 original compositions continues to advance the pair’s mature, eclectic songwriting and assured aural aesthetic. With Sandwina’s expressive vocals and Appleton’s sizzling guitar solos, this is a modern, rock-tinged take on traditional folk, presented in a fresh and engaging arena.
Though the band doesn’t have any live dates until the new year, you can stream Monument now and mark your calendars for February, when Spark & Whisper return to the stage.
Bay Area alternative indie band Picture Atlantic possess a rapid fire rock and roll sound that harkens back to the festive pop of British Invasion bands while repping an authentic West Coast brashness.
Recently, the band released the quick, acerbic and memorable “Billy Banker,” the second official single off the upcoming full length album, Assouf, due out October 21.
Take two minutes out of your Friday to hear the high-energy single below, and head over to Silo’s in Napa tonight to see the band perform with Napa natives and fellow indie rockers Anadel. The first fifty in the door even get that sweet show poster to take home.
North Carolina’s the Avett Brothers, aka siblings Scott and Seth Avett, have been making lovely harmonic country folk music since 2000, when they were still in college and high school, respectively. With a slew of critically beloved albums–including this summer’s masterfully emotional True Sadness–and a reputation for rollicking and heartfelt live shows, they’ve become one of the biggest ‘indie’ acts touring today.
And if their show last night at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center is any indication, their hard-working ethics and dynamic musicianship is a strong as ever. The band played a high soaring set of music from their entire 16-year catalogue in the beautiful Weill Hall, with the back wall open and fans packed on the lawn. Folks sung and clapped along for the two-hour set that saw the brothers power through dozens of their best songs.
With no opener, the band came out strong with an instrumental opener complete with kazoo solos. Backing the banjo picking Scott and guitar slinging Seth is bassist Bob Crawford, cellist Joe Kwon, violinist Tania Elizabeth, pianist Paul DeFiglia and drummer Mike Marsh. The ensemble offered lots of selections from True Sadness, though they also reached back to the earlier works and gave every member of the group a chance to spotlight their talents.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Avett Brothers play live four times now over the last few years, from the fields of BottleRock Napa Valley and under the columns of Berkeley’s Greek Theatre, to an intimate theater in Visalia, and last night’s performance stood out for it’s eclectic mix of song selections and juxtaposition of hushed acoustic and all-out electric power. At one point, Seth took his guitar into the crowd for a blazing rock and roll guitar solo, and Tania Elizabeth damn near stole the show with an amazing violin performance that sounded like a full assortment of stringed players.
Congrats to whoever is booking the shows at the Green Music Center. They’ve got a great ear for music and a great taste for a wide range of acts. For a list of upcoming concerts there, click the link.
Onstage with Jim and Tom continues to be one of the most entertaining musical series in the North Bay, a combination of interviews and performances that take place at the historic Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, hosted by Phoenix manager Tom Gaffey and music booker Jim Agius. Featuring an eclectic and talented array of North Bay musicians and bands, the video podcast always entertains.
Recent episode with rising indie pop stars Lungs and Limbs is no exception, and this week, Onstage shared a video of the band covering one of the greatest ’80s songs ever, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” by Tears for Fears. Watch the video above and marvel at the spot-on guitars by Nick Tudor, sultry vocals by Karina Rousseau and fuzzed-out backbeat by drummer Matt Power and bassist Chris Casey.
For more Onstage antics, click the link here.