Ohio-born singer and songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield first came to my attention last year when she collaborated with Seth Avett (the Avett Brothers) on an album of Elliott Smith cover songs that showcased Mayfield’s graceful voice and delicate guitar playing.
Her mastery of the emotionally-tinged music comes as no surprise to her fans. Mayfield’s been active as a solo artist from the time she was 15, playing guitar in bedroom recordings. Since 2008, her career has blossomed with albums that have transitioned from acoustic folk origins to electric and stylized garage pop wonder.
Tonight, Mayfield continues on her current solo West Coast tour with a show at HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol. Sonoma County native Alison Harris opens the show. For more details, check out the HopMonk website. And click on the videos below to get a glimpse of Mayfield’s singing/songwriting power.
Sonoma County songwriter Neem Wood mixes together shimmering electronics, soulful guitars and heartfelt lyrics for a compelling, emotional blend of indie rock and pop under the name Become the Villain.
Wood has a new album due to be released this weekend with a show at HopMonk in Sebastopol, and he has a preview of his latest work in the form a new single, “Slip Away,” that’s available to listen to right now.
Stylistically and sonically sophisticated, “Slip Away” features Wood’s soaring vocals and dark percussions with strong pop hooks and a cathartic chorus. Click on the track below; and catch Become the Villain tomorrow, Saturday Jan 23 at HopMonk, with other local luminaries Lungs and Limbs, Horses Heaven and Charley Peach. Details are here.
Formed in 2001, Toronto hardcore punk rockers Career Suicide have carried a heavy brand of old school ’80s punk ethos to underground acclaim. Yet, the band has been rarely seen in the last five years and guitarist Jonah Falco has gone on to great heights as a member of the experimental punk band F*cked Up.
Last year, F*cked Up went on their own hiatus, and Falco has come back to his rough and rowdy origins with a revamped Career Suicide, including a new album in the works, their first since 2006. Last November, the band released “Cut and Run,” the first single off the so-far-untitled upcoming album. It’s an intense two minutes of razor-sharp riffs and pounding drums that prove the band still has a Hell of an edge.
Career Suicide are also embarking on a world tour that takes them from Bakersfield to Tokyo. And right in the middle of this tour, the band is bringing the amps and axes to Santa Rosa for a concert this Saturday, Jan 16, at the Arlene Francis Center.
Hosted by the saucy kids at the Pizza Punx, this eardrum-buster of a show also features Bay Area punks Culture Abuse, Ruleta Rusa, Ex-Youth and Abusivo. Tickets are ten bucks at the door and is open to all ages.
This is actually one of the last two shows the Pizza Punx are hosting under that name, as the moniker is being laid to rest in the new year. Some of the punx will still be booking shows as Shock City, and some will be taking on a new venue project simply known as Funhouse. Stay tuned for more details on those developments. In the meantime, listen to Career Suicide’s “Cut and Run” below and turn it UP.
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.”
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.
Folk and Americana duo Eight Belles is made up of Michigan-born and longtime Bay Area-based singer Jessi Phillips and Sonoma County native songwriter and guitarist Henry Aloysius Nagle. The pair met in 2010 and first made noise in 2012 with their debut album, “Girls Underground,” hailed as a vividly beautiful country rock record.
Now, Eight Belles is back in the spotlight with a new self-titled album on Saint Rose Records, a recently premiered music video and an upcoming record-release show at the Last Record Store in Santa Rosa on Saturday, Dec 12, at 2pm.
Even with their impressive debut, the new self-titled record proves to be an even stronger effort, with Phillip’s lovely voice sounding like a mixture of Patsy Cline and Carol King, and evolved melodic arrangements performed with a full band of popular Bay Area musicians.
To get a taste of the new album, Eight Belles offer up a music video for their single, “The Old Life,” that matches their timeless country folk with enchanting black-and-white visuals, click on the video below to watch.
This weekend’s release show at the Last Record Store will feature the pair playing in an intimate setting, with Sonoma County songstress Ashley Allred opening. Vinyl and CD copies of the self-titled album will be available. The show starts at 2pm and is free.
If you’re a fan of hardcore metal, you ought to know the name Max Cavalera. The Brazilian-born guitarist, singer and heavy metal icon has been in the business of melting faces and blowing out eardrums since he formed the infamous Sepultura back in 1984. His signature four-string guitar riffs and shamanistic growl have influenced countless acts in the last 30 years, and today Cavalera continues to innovate with his eclectic heavy metal band Soulfy, playing tomorrow, Dec 11, at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma.
Sine 1997, Soulfly has explored highly spiritual themes with biblically heavy music. Their latest, 2015’s Archangel, is their most focused to date. Streamlined songs pour from the band on their tenth full-length, incorporating seemingly divisive elements such as grind and thrash metal into their sophisticated arrangements. Veterans of the genre, Soulfly prove again and again that they can take hardcore metal in any direction they choose.
Sonoma County Metal & Hardcore presents Soulfly tomorrow, Dec 11, at the Phoenix Theater for an all ages show that also features local acts Thought Vomit, Vile Riot Villains, Trial By Combat and Trecelence. 201 Washington St, Petaluma. 7:30pm. $20-$22. Tickets will be available at the door.
Onstage with Jim and Tom has long been one of my favorite podcasts and video series, focusing on local music and the historic Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, run by hosts Tom Gaffey and Jim Agius. The series incorporates interviews with local bands and live concert films, and this week the project unveiled their most ambitious concert feature yet.
Last summer, recent Norbay Music Award-winners the Velvet Teen released their long-awaited and exceptional indie rock album, All is Illusory, and toured the US; capping the trek with a massive show at the Phoenix Theater on August 22. To top it off, the Onstage film crew was there to capture the whole darn thing.
Edited by Agius and mixed by Greenhouse Recording Studio co-owner and engineer Paul Haile, this is a clean, clear and professional production that goes beyond simple recording and stands as a full-on film. And the band has never sounded better, captured here in their element, playing for the hometown crowd.
If you saw this show last summer, relive the good times. If you missed the show, now’s your chance. It’s well worth a watch.
Garage rock and glam pop songwriter Ezra Furman is a fierce and fearless indie music maker who’s been gathering steam for his irresistible tunes and infectious personality. His most recent release, “Perpetual Motion People” is as groovy as it is restless, as personal as it is catchy. And, Furman has also been making headlines lately for identifying as gender fluid. We last wrote about Furman’s awesome cover of the Replacements song, “Androgynous,” and we’re happy to have another excuse to highlight some amazing music once again.
That’s because, this week Furman is playing a last minute concert on Saturday, December 5, at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa, as part of a west coast tour. With Furman’s star shining brightly and musical momentum perpetually gaining speed, this might be the last time anyone will get to see the songwriter in such an intimate setting as this, and the rest of the lineup is fully stacked with local wonders. Music from the Corner Store Kids, Don Kennemer and Plastic Ghost joins a masked performance art piece by Quenby, comedic antics from Be The Clown, a gallery of works from local artists and Lagunitas beer on tap.
This is one not to miss. The show happens on Dec 5 at Arlene Francis Center, 99 Sixth St, Santa Rosa, 8pm, $12 suggested donation.
The monthly North Bay Cabaret always brings a new, distinct flavor to their ongoing variety shows, incorporating themes that range from Renaissance Fairs to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks in their imaginative array of burlesque dancing, live readings, standup, acrobatics and more.
This weekend, the Cabaret busts out the tanning spray and tank tops for their upcoming “Brovember” event that features everything from a special beer pong burlesque to a “bro” puppet show, fashion show, fire dancing, slam poetry and music.
Recent NorBays Music Award winner DJ Beset is the special guest in the Vinyl DJ Dance Room, and San Francisco’s Riflefeet bring an electronica backdrop to the main room. As always, the entire thing is hosted by the ultimate “Bro,” Jake Ward.
Now, remember haters, this is a satirical show, so bring a sense of humor when you “bro down” with the North Bay Cabaret on Friday, Nov 20, at Whiskey Tip, 1910 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa. 7pm. $10. 21 and over. Details and lineup are here.