Eclectic, intimate and indie to the max, the annual Huichica Music Festival is building on its reputation for being the coolest two days of music in Sonoma with its most packed lineup yet. Hosted by songwriter Eric D Johnson, winemaker Jeff Bundschu and the indie collective (((folkYEAH))), this year’s Huichica festival boasts songwriters and bands who span the indie rock spectrum performing on June 9 and 10 at Gundlach Bundschu Winery.
Headliners include Los Angeles garage rock outfit Allah-Las, who mix sunny melodies and surf rock sensibility, and laid back indie pop band Beachwood Sparks, who are recently back in the saddle after a ten-year hiatus. Veteran songwriter Dean Wareham will be playing solo versions of the coolest tunes from his former band Galaxie 500, and celebrated alternative-folk songwriter Robyn Hitchcock offers a lifetime of acclaimed music. Other acts range from the throwback hippie psyche rock of Heron Oblivion to the kaleidoscopic California folk-rock of GospelbeacH.
With two stages of action on Friday, June 9, and a full four stages of sound on Saturday, June 10, this year’s Huichica is the most expansive yet, with plenty of food truck and beer and wine to make for a weekend to remember. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, Feb 25, at noon PST. Click here for more details. The full lineup is below.
Just last Spring, Sebastopol-based songwriter Frankie Boots and his band the County Line released the lush, laidback Leave the Light On, a full-length sophomore album that saw Boots rising to new rustic heights both musically and lyrically.
Now, Frankie Boots is back with a new solo record, Pagan Ranch, and he debuts the record’s lead single, the beautifully melancholic “Everything We Ever Knew,” here on City Sound Inertia. Listen to it now.
Boots recorded Pagan Ranch straight-to-tape at Gremlintone Studios in Santa Rosa with producer and musician John Courage. The record features Courage on several instruments, as well as Dan Ford (the Ironsides) on drums, and Kevin Carducci (Easy Leaves), and Alison Harris and Katie Phillips (Bootleg Honeys) on backup vocals.
The new single and album is bittersweet news for Boots’ North Bay family, as the songwriter is releasing Pagan Ranch right before he moves to New Orleans at the end of this year. The record will be available at the upcoming Frankie Boots farewell show this Friday, Dec 23, at HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol. Click here for more details on the show.
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.
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.
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.
It’s been awhile since longstanding Santa Rosa punk band Ashtray has been on stage in their hometown. Almost five years in fact. In the meantime, there’s been babies born, changes of scenery and side projects for the group, led by vocalists Sarah-Jane Andrew and Dave Wiseman. Next week, July 8, Ashtray makes their return to Sonoma County with a show at Annie O’s Music Hall in Railroad Square, presented by the Nor Bay Pyrate Punx.
Also on the bill is Sacramento punk legends the Secretions, who themselves are celebrating their 25th anniversary of playing loud and fast with leather jackets and spiked hair, as well as Sonoma County punk bands the Quitters, Speed Wobble and Kitten Drunk. Like Ashtray, these bands all play an old school punk rock in the veins of the Ramones and Black Flag as well as a funky blend ’90s punk-ska rock akin to Operation Ivy.
This show is one of several concerts this summer being booked by the Nor Bay Pyrate Punx. The nonprofit group is actually one of 44 united Pyrate Punx crews/chapters/collectives in the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, Germany, Indonesia and Australia. You can get more info on the punx here. Click below to hear Ashtray’s album “White Sugar is the Devil.”
This Monday, July 4, a full lineup of young punk rock bands hits the grass at Doyle Park in Santa Rosa for a day of loud tunes and good food to celebrate America’s 240th birthday.
“A Day in the Park” will feature Oakland rockers Sterile Mind, Santa Rosa band Hellbomber, all-female North Bay punks Kitten Drunk and Santa Rosa sludge rock outfit Amnesia, though the local crowds will also get a rare chance to see two bands from Bogota, Colombia–Dead Hero and Final–as they tour through the states this summer.
Dead Hero is a four-piece band playing a classic, riff-heavy punk that recalls late ’70s ripped jeans, big hair and big noise. Final boasts aggressively bold and furiously fast hardcore punk that nails down a darkly double-timed sound.
A Day in the Park will also have barbeque courtesy of Knife for Hire and will run throughout the afternoon on Monday, July 4, at Doyle Park, Santa Rosa. Music starts at noon and admission is free. Donations are requested for bands and food.
Get a listen to Dead Hero’s latest 12″ Antisocial, below.
Sonoma County experimental band OVVN is an undeniable and unapologetic force of noise on their new LP, “I Love Myself And Want To Live,” out now on San Francisco-based label Don’t Look Down Records. The four-piece outfit, fronted by vocalist and songwriter Ethan Jayne, has been steadily gaining momentum with several self-released EPs over the last few years, and this debut full-length, full of droning metal riffs and feedback squals that travel unpredictable sonic paths, is an intense one-of-a-kind rock and roll experience.
Matching the aural edginess, this darkly-tinged music video for the album’s single, “Sores,” offers a gritty and mysterious vignette paired with ominous shots of the band playing live for an effect like that of an old Nirvana music video on quaaludes–in a good way.
OVVN (pronounced own) will be performing as part of the upcoming Last Record Store 33 & 1/3 Anniversary Party in Santa Rosa. For more details on that show, click here.
Set upon the rolling hills of Sonoma’s Gundlach Bundschu Winery, the annual Huichica Music Festival has been a refreshingly intimate and eclectic gathering of hot indie bands and performers from the Bay Area and beyond. This year looks to be no different, as the fest has announced its most extensive lineup yet for two days of music, food and wine taking place Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11.
Headlining the festival is Los Angeles psychedelic rockers Mystic Braves, who cast powerful spells on their brand new album, Days of Yesteryear. Also taking a top spot is popular party band Dengue Fever, blending Cambodian-influenced rock and roll and danceable indie pop.
Huichica organizer Eric D Johnson will be taking the stage this year with his newly reformed melodic indie rock band Fruit Bats. Another major player in this year’s festival is longtime New York electronic act Silver Apples, fronted by the enigmatic Simeon since the 1960s.
I could go on. Seriously, this lineup is stacked with awesome acts. The full lineup can be found below. And don’t forget that several food vendors and plenty of libations will be on hand for a complete weeknd experience. Check out tickets and get more details by clicking here.
Also next month, the group takes their crunchy riffs and exuberant energy on the road for a massive tour that brings them to Santa Rosa on April 24 in the first show put on by new Sonoma County concert booking venture Shock City, USA. Sounds like a perfect pairing. For more details on the upcoming show, click here.