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Trails & Ways Get Visual in Mill Valley

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015

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Oakland’s indie pop outfit Trails & Ways spent four years toiling in their bedroom recording set up, perfecting a bubbling, shimmering brand of ethereal pop music infused with the bossa nova sounds that songwriter Keith Brower Brown soaked up in his time in Brazil.

Those toils came to fruition this past summer when the band released their debut full-length album, Pathology, on indie label Barsuk Records. Praised for it’s infectious melodies, DIY aesthetic and sweet samba rhythms, the album is a gem.

This week, Trails & Ways bring the pop to Marin, in a special show at Sweetwater Music Hall on Friday, Oct 16, presented by the Mill Valley Film Festival. For the occasion, Trails & Ways is getting visual. The band worked with San Francisco visual artist and director Gonzalo Eyzaguirre and developed a system that takes the live stage feed from the band’s instruments and translates the audio signals into ever-changing visual shapes and patterns that plays simultaneously with the music.

To get a taste of what’s in store, watch the band’s recent music video for “Jacaranda,” directed by Eyzaguirre, and featuring a slew of trippy visuals that perfectly match the spacey music. For more information on the upcoming show, click here.

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Moonalice Headlines Upcoming Rocktoberfest

Posted by on Oct 12, 2015
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poster by Winston Smith

Bay Area psychedelic rock and roll veterans Moonalice are making their way to the Healdsburg Memorial Beach to play Rocktoberfest this weekend. A popular sight at major festivals like BottleRock Napa Valley and venues like Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, Moonalice’s extended jams and inventive melodies recall the hey days of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury scene from the ’60s.

Made up of guitarist Barry Sless (David Nelson Band), multi-instrumentalists Pete Sears (Rod Stewart, Jefferson Starship) and Roger McNamee (Doobie Decibel System) and drummer John Molo (Bruce Hornsby), Moonalice are this time around raising money and awareness for water safety.

That’s right, though it’s dry as a bone out there right now, the impending El Nino event this winter is expected to top the dam at the Russian River’s Memorial Beach, potentially putting inexperienced swimmers and unsuspecting beach-goers in danger. In addition to information, money raised from food and refreshment sales at this event will be used to purchase life vests for youth who swim along the Russian River.

Moonalice rock the beach at Rocktoberfest on Saturday, Oct 17, at Healdsburg Memorial Beach Park, 13839 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg. 1pm. Free. Moonalice.com.

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Bolinas Hosts Surf & Sound Sessions

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015

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With the world’s largest ocean at our feet, California and the North Bay have long been champions of coastal cleanups and environmental awareness. It’s a topic that’s never far from our headlines. Just this week, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that bans micro-beads in California by 2020, as those beads are found to pollute the waters and harm the wildlife.

The good news is that everyone can help keep our beaches and coastal areas clean. This weekend,  nonprofit Project AMPLIFI is hosting a special Surf & Sound Sessions in Bolinas, pairing two nights of live music with environmental cleanup efforts. Artists and their fans will have the chance to surf together, help clean beaches together and share their appreciation of the nature around us.

Tonight, Smiley’s Schooner Saloon in Bolinas welcomes Latin reggae band Bachaco and the surf funk of San Francisco’s the HA (Human Assembly). Tomorrow night, Oakland indie pop band Trails and Ways performs off their recent gem of a record, Pathology; while This Old Earthquake bust out the acoustics for their driving americana.

Cleanup efforts will be taking place on Stinson Beach on Saturday and Bolinas Beach on Sunday, both in the afternoon so you have a chance to sleep off the effects of the night before. For more information on how you can get involved, click here.

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Lucius Teams with Lagunitas

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015

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Brooklyn indie pop group Lucius has been steadily rising through the musical ranks ever since their 2013 album Wildewoman shot to tops of many critics’ lists with infectious melodies and the stunning harmonies of duel vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.

Last year, Lucius performed at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma as part of the brewery’s Summer Concert Series. Apparently, that experience was so good that the band has been looking to work with Lagunitas again. Today, Lucius announced they’re teaming with the North Bay brewer for a tour. From their website:

“Since playing a memorable show in Lagunitas’ backyard last summer (which ended with an an audience-sourced video that captured the last song of the night), Lucius x Lagunitas has been thinking of ways to recreate that same communal feeling.

So, here we are, thrilled to announce that next month, just before Thanksgiving, Lucius x Lagunitas will team up for a week of shows in the Pacific Northwest. All tickets sales will be donated to a local nonprofit in each city.

The four-date tour hits Washington and Oregon before it concludes at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma on November 21. The concert will be a benefit for the theater, and will boast beer sales for 21-and-over attendees, something rarely done at the venue. Tickets go on sale Friday and more info can be found here.

Click on the video below to watch that crowd-sourced video from last year’s show at Lagunitas and hear why Lucius is one of the most enchanting groups performing today.

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The Tenors Ready to Croon & Swoon Santa Rosa

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015

 

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photo by Lee Cherry

Canadian operatic pop quartet The Tenors are just about to embark on a massive 70-city North American tour in support of their latest classical-meets-contemporary album, Under One Sky. Powered by the impeccable voices of Remigio Pereira, Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters and Clifton Murray, the Tenors are an unstoppable live concert experience that’s both sweeping in it’s larger-than-life scale and emotionally moving in it’s intimate musical moments.

Under One Sky is a mix of originals alongside new interpretations of familiar favorites. For the multi-platinum, JUNO Award-winning vocal group, it’s another cross-over hit that’s undeniably passionate and talented.

Kicking off the tour this Wednesday, the Tenors take the stage at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa on Friday, October 10, with special Meet & Greet and VIP packages available.

Tickets and info are available here. For a preview of the Tenors live in concert, check out the emotionally-packed performance the group gave recently for their song, “My Father’s Son.”

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PBS Animates Tom Waits

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015

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PBS Digital Studios is awesome, if for nothing else then their collaboration with Blank on Blank in a video series that takes old interviews with musicians and celebrities, from Lou Reed to Ray Bradbury, and lovingly animates those recordings in eye-popping interpretations.

This time, they’ve outdone themselves with the help of an old interview with Tom Waits. The longtime West Sonoma County resident, here recorded in 1988, talks about a variety of subjects with his signature growl and humorous perspective on life. Not much else to tell, just watch and enjoy the heck out of this one. It’s a gem.

Hammerhead Swims into Santa Rosa Next Week

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015
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painting by Jonny Kelson

If you were (or are) a fan of noise rock, you were (or are or should be) a huge fan of Hammerhead. The Minneapolis-based trio formed back in the not-so-halcyon days of 1991 and unleashed a flurry of pummeling rock and post-punk heaviness upon the country for six years before disbanding. Though, like a bad penny, the band turned up once again, regrouping in 2010. Since then, they’ve been expanding and compounding on their throttling experimental sound, and last month Hammerhead released, New Directionz, their first full-length album in almost 20 years.

New Directionz is one of those rare gems of a return album for a reunited band. It both revels in the same rumbling, punishing bass lines and searing, dissonant guitars of the group’s early days, and progresses the sound in new and interesting ways. There’s definitely more nuanced post-punk atmospheres throughout, a darker edge to the fuzzed-out noise, yet there’s still that old familiar thundering rhythm to bang your head along to.

Hammerhead continue to be unapologetic and awesome, and with the new record they are taking the show on the road for a massive tour with another immense figure in noise rock, Qui. The Los Angeles duo of Matt Cronk and Paul Christensen have themselves had a bit of an on-again-off-again tenure, though it looks like their as strong as ever these days. Much more angular, vocally-melodic and playful, Qui nonetheless possess a raw and exciting sound and provide a perfect alternative pairing to Hammerhead.

Next Saturday, Oct 10, Hammerhead and Qui both invade Railroad Square in Santa Rosa to play the Arlene Francis Center. Also joining them on the bill is Hot Victory, an experimental drum duo out of Portland that put on amazing, space-oddity shows and features former Santa Rosa rock star Caitlin Love (Desert City Soundtrack / the Lead Veins). Kicking off the night is Eat My Shit, the electronic solo project from PRIZEHOG’s Vern Acular.

You can get more details of the show here and preview Hammerhead’s new album below.

The Emerald Cup Announces 2015 Music Lineup

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015

 

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The largest organic, outdoor, medicinal cannabis competition in the world, the Emerald Cup, is coming back to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa this December 12-13, and, as always, it is bringing an enormous array of vendors, guest speakers and live music with it.

Today, the Cup announced the full band lineup for this year’s edition, and it’s packed with reggae, world, fusion, rock and soul acts from around the country.

Headlining the Emerald Cup is Rebelution, the Santa Barbara outfit who specialize in the “California Reggae” sound that grinds together roots and dance hall melodies alike. Oakland’s Beats Antique are also scheduled, bringing their experimental electro-dance music. If you want a taste of Beats Antique check out their brand new live album, Creature Carnivale.

Vying for farthest-traveled is Bermuda MC Collie Buddz, who’s often booked across the globe at festivals like Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. He’s also one of the biggest proponents of the cannabis movement, unless that moniker is a total coincidence (it’s not).

Next on the bill is North Bay favorite Nahko and Medicine for the People, recent headliners at this year’s Petaluma Music Festival. Also slated to appear is Papadosio, Protoje, Fortunate Youth, John Brown’s Body, The Expanders and Marv Ellis & We Tribe.

For more details on the Emerald Cup, visit their website here.

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Attend One of These Valley Fire Benefit Concerts

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 One Comment

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The devastating Valley Fire that swept through Lake County last weekend, and continues to burn, has leveled entire neighborhoods and left tens of thousands of people homeless, displaced and in need of basic supplies like clothing, food and shelter. It’s a heartbreaking story, but the community in the North Bay has been quick to act with relief drives and fundraising efforts and that include a number of concert events. Here’s a few coming up this week and next:

September 17: Coffee and beer cafe Brew welcomes local musicians Cory Oleson, Charlie Davenport, Andrew Maurer and Francesco Catania with local artists auctioning off their work and proceeds from sales and beer going to relief efforts in Lake County. 555 Healdsburg Ave, Santa Rosa. 7pm.

September 20: HopMonk Tavern is hosting a collective of Sonoma County artists, promoters, and event producers in presenting an all-day benefit concert and silent auction. The lineup is still TBA, though it’s sure to be a killer bill, with all proceeds benefitting Valley Fire relief. If you can’t attend but still want to donate, you can do so here. 230 Petaluma Ave, Sebastopol. Noon. $20.

September 26: The Phoenix Theater is putting together a rocking night of local acts including Bad Boy Eddy, State Line Empire, LuvPlanet and Faith & Bullets. A raffle and silent auction come with this show as well, and again all proceeds are going straight to those in need. 201 Washington St, Petaluma. 7pm. $10.

These are just a few of surely dozens of such shows happening for this cause. If you know of one, throw it into the comments, and if you can, please help our neighbors in need. Don’t know where to start? Go here.

Album Review: Katie Phillips “Killer” EP

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015

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Recorded last Valentine’s Day and released last month, the five-song “Killer” EP from Santa Rosa singer-songwriter Katie Phillips is strong. From the easy, muted strumming to Phillips’ fearless voice, this largely acoustic Americana rock offering is potent with stirring melodies and memorable hooks.

One third of local band the Bootleg Honeys (who perform this weekend at the American Roots Music Festival), Phillips says she takes influence from Karen Carpenter and Led Zeppelin, though on this new collection there’s plenty of other artists that come to mind, like John Mellencamp and Fiona Apple. Joining Phillips on the record is drummer and producer Mark Tarlton, who also provided the studio space in his Sonoma location.

For me, the best track is “Baby Blue,” which builds with a driving rhythm and features a powerful conclusion. “Hobo” is also an interesting turn, finding Phillips singing nearly a capella while Tarlton’s drums underscore her vocals like a roots rock chant, or a chain gang hymn. In fact, each track on the EP is a solid, confident outing that encourages repeat listens. Sample the EP below and see Phillips and Tarlton play as the Katie Phillips Duo on Friday, Sept 18, at Pub Republic, 3120 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma.