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Photos: Steve Kimock & Bernie Worrell at Hopmonk Novato

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013

Unbeatable guitarist Steve Kimock has been raising a pretty fiery noise with keyboardist Bernie Worrell lately—and the band took to the brand-new Session Room at the Hopmonk Tavern in Novato last week. Our photographer Jamie Soja was there. See a full photo slideshow below.

Click for photo slideshow

How’d They Do It: The New Trust’s ‘Marigolds’ Video

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013

Santa Rosa trio the New Trust has released a stunning video for “Marigolds,” a song from their forthcoming fifth album, Keep Dreaming. The entire thing is one long, time-lapse shot of flowers sprouting, growing, blooming and then dying. Below, guitarist and photographer Sara Sanger describes the process of making the video, the challenges of photographing plants and why her sister probably now hates both flowers and photography.

The New Trust – Marigolds from The New Trust on Vimeo.

How long did this take to shoot, start to finish?

I started the photography in early November, and finished in March. Almost four months.

What was your setup and process?

I searched seed catalogs for dwarf variety marigolds, as most grow almost 12-18 inches tall and that wasn’t going to work out. I ended up planting a few varieties that I found that grew under 8 inches tall.

I started with a shallow Tupperware storage box, added some drip/soaker tubing underneath the soil, with a tube to get water under the dirt, as opposed to on top. I used a good tripod, a constant source of power for my camera (plugged in direct, battery wouldn’t last more than a half day), and an intervalumeter that was set to take a photo every 10 minutes.

Once the files were done, I found out that Photoshop CS6 has some pretty good basic movie editing capabilities. I was pleasantly surprised by the way that the growth and movement of the flowers moves along with the song pretty well. I had visualized that it might work out, but I don’t have any experience with time-lapse so I really didn’t know. I did not know that plants moved as much as they do, and was really happy to find a lot more motion than I had ever expected.

I shot about twice the amount of frames than I needed. Our song is 3:40, or 220 seconds, so for a standard 30 frames per second I needed 6,600 frames total. I was lucky I had shot more than I needed, since I have found the antique electricity in my house fluctuates pretty wildly—I had to sit and edit out frames that appeared to have less light or more light. Those few days staring at these flowers was hallucination-inducing. (more…)

Live Review: Nick Cave at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 One Comment

How I’ve gone this long without seeing Nick Cave live is beyond me, especially since I’ve always… well, “always been a fan” wouldn’t be accurate. (I own three of his albums.) More truthful would be to say that Nick Cave’s music has never, ever irritated me. Considering Cave’s extensive output, that’s saying something. Combine it with the full-blown “holy shit” moments his songs have given to me—like hearing “Nobody’s Baby Now” while nursing a $1 PBR at EJ’s in Portland, in 1997—well, Nick Cave finally demanded to be seen live.

If you’ve seen him, you know. If you haven’t, imagine a rail-thin circus ringmaster whipping a band of lions not out of but into aggressiveness. A flamboyant offspring of Valentino and Satan, Cave channels 55 years of romantic bandwidth into sharp, stinging things called “songs,” which are more like forays across continents than things you might sing in the shower. These forays are not for the faint of heart, or, evidently, for the young: tonight, he had a children’s choir backing him up, and when they exited the stage, they covered their ears and looked terrified. (more…)

Happy 153rd Birthday, Recorded Sound!

Posted by on Apr 5, 2013

The Phonautograph, first sound recording device

All lovers of vinyl need to check this out. It’s the audio of the earliest known gramophone recording, which is the grandfather of the modern vinyl record. Sure, Thomas Edison had his cylinders in the 1870s, but Emile Berliner invented the flat version of records in 1887. In the prequel to Betamax vs. VHS, or HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray, Berliner’s gramophone disc dominated the recording industry and Edison’s neat little vertical audio cans remain mostly as footnotes in audio history.

The cool thing about this recording is not that the record itself has survived since 1890, but that it doesn’t actually exist. There are no known physical copies. So how does one hear audio from something that doesn’t exist? The Media Preservation Initiative at Indiana University, Bloomington, had found a way to take the photographs of the physical specimens from reference books and advertisements of the time and recreate the audio from those records. The result is discernible audio recordings of speech, song and a voice memo recorded as a test from the inventor to a friend.

But wait, there’s more.

These are not the first recordings ever made, nor are they the first reproduced sound. Edison’s invention was the first to reproduce the sound audibly. But it was “Au Claire de la Lune,” an 18th Century French folk song, which Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville sang slowly into a vibrating diaphragm, that changed music forever. The long tube transferred the sound via hog’s bristle and a piece of a feather into waveforms. There was smoke, a rotating barrel and a hand crank involved. Though the phonautograph was a complicated and temperamental device (well, maybe not compared to an iPod in a WiFi-dead zone), audio could now be captured. And in 2011, a mere 151 years later, archivists have found a way to play it back. The recording was made on April 9, 1860 (before the American Civil War)–marking the birth of recorded sound.

Telephones, speakers, microphones–everything we know about audio today–is based on Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s hog’s bristle and feather recording device. From one audio engineer to another, thanks, brother!

In News

Bret Michaels and His Hair Extensions Are Coming to Healdsburg

Posted by on Apr 5, 2013

Celebrity gossip fans, take note: Bret Michaels, singer of Poison and star of TV schadenfreude fest Rock of Love, is coming to Healdsburg on Saturday, June 8.

Michaels and his band (and his hair) will play at the finish line festival for the Grapes of Rock half-marathon, which ends at Lake Sonoma. Pete Stringfellow and Pop Rocks open the shindig, and the whole thing’s hosted by (who else?) KZST-FM’s Brent Farris. Benefitting the Salvation Army, and wine, beer, food, etc.

If you’re not running the half-marathon, tickets to the festival are currently $80. They go up to $90 on May 1, and then $100 on June 6.

Here’s Bret Michaels talking about his hair extensions on Rock of Love:

For more, see the Grapes of Rock website.

Roger

Posted by on Apr 4, 2013

I “hated” him. Then I loved him. His post on books is essential. His script for ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls‘ taught me camp. But his reviews—they’re going to be read and re-read for the next week, to everyone’s benefit. A valiant battle to the end, but moreso a hugely influential presence hovering over all reviewers, whether they like it or not (many do not). He never grew bitter like so many cranky writers, and he navigated the changing media landscape with aplomb. For every small grain of disagreement that grew in me while reading his reviews when I was younger, he earned back boulders of respect and support for longevity, insight and… that other elusive thing, that movies are our lives, that the human element is paramount, and that making sure it remained untainted was the job of a good reviewer. Anyway, I’m kinda crushed. Back to work.

In News

Neutral Milk Hotel Cover Song Contest Winner Announced!

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013

Sure, we knew there were some creative musicians out there who might enter our Neutral Milk Hotel cover song contest. But how could we have expected what musical treasures you, dear readers, sent in?

There was the in-the-red, gleefully distorted version of “Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone” sent in by Ted Farber, and the horn-flavored version of “A Baby for Pree / Where You’ll Find Me Now” by Chris Alarie. John Gaby’s autotuned “Communist Daughter” changed the time signature to 6/8 with a circus feel, and Brian O’Connor played with chromatics and fretboard slides in a version of “The King of Carrot Flowers, Part II.” We even got a crazy cut-and-paste edit called “Two-Headed Sex Machine Man” from Ricardo M’ohaire that chopped together samples of James Brown, Neutral Milk Hotel and various spoken-word recordings.

But when it came time to select a winner, we went with Dustin Heald’s imaginative cover of “You’ve Passed,” played on guitar, darbuka, zils and melodica. Without trying to emulate the letter of Mangum’s delivery, the version captures the slight Middle Eastern spirit of the intro lick and takes the song to another place entirely. Congratulations, Dustin, you’ve won two tickets to Jeff Mangum’s sold-out show at the Phoenix Theater on Tuesday, April 9.

Hear Dustin’s winning cover song here.

Thanks to everyone who sent in their songs!

In News

The Weeknd Printed Fake Signatures On His $200 “Signed” Trilogy Vinyl Box Set

Posted by on Mar 30, 2013 10 Comments

Well, here’s a weird one: The Weeknd has faked his own signature on his $200, individually numbered-and-limited-to-500-copies, “signed” vinyl box set of Trilogy.

Chatter around the announcement of the ‘Trilogy’ vinyl box set was mostly about how expensive the damn thing was$66 per double album—but in the ever-increasing trend of pricey deluxe vinyl editions that sell out quickly, lots of fans and drooling record-collector dorks decided it was worth the cost for something special. After all, there’s only 500 copies, and hey, the thing’s signed.

Except the Weeknd’s ‘Trilogy’ vinyl box set isn’t actually signed. (more…)

Live Review: Iceage at the Rickshaw Stop

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013

Elias Bender Rønnenfelt staggered onto the stage, a Hamm’s in one hand. He clasped his other hand around the microphone, and then looked blankly from under his canvas hat, out onto the audience, all detachment and potential energy. Unimpressed with what he saw. The show had not started yet. Rønnenfelt was a walking magnetic field.

In ten minutes, Rønnenfelt would be falling into the crowd, wishing it was a mattress and beating the people in the front rows when he realized, over and over again, that it was not. He would be curling in a ball in front of the bass drum. He would be refusing offered replacements for a broken guitar strap, opting to sing lead, dropping his guitar on the ground. (more…)

In News

Renee Fleming, Izthak Perlman, Hilary Hahn, Lang Lang, Jessye Norman, Herbie Hancock to Play Green Music Center

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013

Made public in a season announcement today, the Green Music Center‘s second season includes Renee Fleming, Izthak Perlman, Hilary Hahn, Lang Lang, Jessye Norman, Herbie Hancock, Richard Goode, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Mariza, Bryn Terfel, Garrick Ohlsson, Ruth Ann Swenson and more.

Without a doubt, this is another star-studded season for the center, which opened on the campus of SSU last year. Classical enthusiasts, especially, have reason to celebrate.

Renee Fleming will appear in a season opener on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 3pm.

Lang Lang, who performed at the hall’s grand opening last September, returns on Sept. 17.

Tickets for the season range from $27–$140 each, with subscription packages available starting today for donors in the $1,000 Benefactor Society and higher; Tuesday, April 2 for current subscribers and all MasterCard holders; and Monday, April 22 to the general public.

SSU students receive 50% off.

Ticket sales and more info. can be found at the Green Music Center’s site.

Other dates are as follows: (more…)