Sonoma County folk group Rainbow Girls are making some of the North Bay’s most heartbreaking acoustic harmonies these days. Last spring, they drove this hardened reporter to tears during a performance at the Next Level showcase in Santa Rosa, and they continue to do so with their new batch of tunes, set to be released on the upcoming album American Dream early next year.
Such is the case with “The Folk Singer’s Contract,” a wistful rumination on a tangled web of a relationship. The above video of the song was recorded live along the New Orleans waterfront on a recent trip. Supported by gentle waves in the background, the trio shows off their vocal chops and emotional resonance on the new song. Just be prepared to grab a tissue for your tears.
In January, Rainbow Girls are taking the new songs on the road for a “Backwoods Tour” with soulful folk singer Caitlin Jemma that takes them from Bolinas to San Diego. Click here to see their upcoming dates and keep your eyes and ears peeled for news of American Dream‘s release.
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.
San Francisco soul swingers Royal Jelly Jive just crossed the finishing line in their ongoing fundraiser for their upcoming sophomore album, “Dear Mr. Waits,” which means not only will we get a new collection of the group’s groovy gypsy rock soon, but the band will be able to take the show on the road for a 2016 tour.
That’s great news, obviously. Today, the jiving jellies share a sneak peek at the upcoming album with a live studio recording of their first single, “Story,” featuring special guest Marty O’Reilly, of Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra.
Recorded at the always excellent Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, the single, “Story,” is a slow burning and sultry dirge, featuring harmonizing vocals from Royal Jelly singer Lauren Bjelde and O’Reilly set against dusty vintage guitars and jazz rhythms. Click on the link below to watch the studio recording. Royal Jelly Jive perform on New Year’s Eve at the Big Easy in Petaluma. Details for that show are here.
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.
If you’re a record collector, you’ve probably read that there are very few vinyl pressing plants left in the USA today, causing massive delays for popular releases on vinyl. But, if you’re a cassette tape collector, you may not know that there is only ONE factory still making analog, magnetized cassette tapes for music.
When all the other manufacturers moved to CD replication in the 1990s, the National Audio Company held on tight to their tapes, even buying out their former competitors’ equipment. With a major re-emergence in the last decade of cassette-only music labels and album releases from independent musicians everywhere, this Springfield, MO, plant is busier than ever.
Learn all about National Audio Company in this cool little video from Bloomburg Business and relive the salad days of the Walkman.
Petaluma singer-songwriter Emily Whitehurst used to be known as the dynamic front woman of pop punk outfit Tsunami Bomb, though since 2011 she has been the brains behind electronic project Survival Guide. Back in May, she released “Way to Go,” an elegant indie gem of a record. And now, there’s a new music video for the title track to feast your eyes upon.
Featuring Whitehurst’s sublime vocals over hypnotic beats and twinkling keys, the video’s storyline mirrors the album’s own tale of holding onto your passions-even when you have to stand on your own. Survival Guide’s next show in the Bay Area is on Thursday, July 30 at the Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph Ave, Oakland.
Napa’s Comfort Slacks released their official video this weekend for “Biscuit on My Six,” and it’s highly suggested you watch it. This band makes catchy, fun music that’s so irreverent it’s hard not to find something to love in each song.
In this video, see if you can spot the following: Shake Weight™, a judge, weatherman, a toaster that has the word “cooking” hand painted on it, Etch-a-Sketch™, a man getting a haircut, wine in a coffee mug, a comically large “cigarette,” plastic He-Man™ toy, gold hotpants, underpants that fit four people at once.
The video, which is a genius riff on a local morning television talk show, dares the viewer to contemplete: What’s your favorite type of biscuit? Blueberry? Dog? Gluten-free? Whisker? Sweet? Buttermilk?
It’s a great video, but I have to say I’m a little disappointed that this isn’t an actual show. I’d watch it every morning.
Forget 40s of Old English. Forget Patrón. Here’s Moe Green, Cameron Washington, and Jairo “Rojah” Vargas with “Wine Country”—filmed in Sonoma:
Kreayshawn—the self-directing, self-editing, mega-inhaling personality from Oakland—signed to Columbia this week. If you haven’t seen “Gucci Gucci” yet, you might not know what this means. Check it out below, and then try to get it out of your head.
Kreayshawn came up in the hyphy craze, keeps good ties with Lil’ B from the Pack, and tweets with Mistah F.A.B. Though she’s in L.A. these days, hanging out with Odd Future and Soulja Boy, she still reps Oakland pretty hard wherever she goes.
It’s easy to be conflicted on Kreayshawn. Let’s face it, it’s been a while since there’s been a rising star out of the Bay Area, let alone Oakland. (Keyshia Cole’s got love for the city but moved the hell out, and when I asked her once in an interview what East Bay spots she like to hit up on tour, she couldn’t name any.) So it’s exciting to have some Bay Area action going on.
But . . . is “Gucci Gucci” really the face of Oaktown?
Behold, two girls fighting over who’s more hood!
“This chick @KREAYSHAWN is a rapper…yes. But hood? NO. She knows nothing about the streets she’s not half as hard as she comes off as,” tweets Harmony Gabriel, from Hustler and HBO’s Cathouse. “Makes me sick..maybe if she was some type of hustler or came from the streets or had some type of ambition but she’s trash to me. White chick acting hard throwing up gang signs from home made gangs…. #FAIL.”
Lest one doubt Harmony’s inherent hoodness, the credentials come forth:
“I got people in REAL hoods that can vouch for me I’m not hood now cause I GREW up I get big girl $ now but believe me I come from ‘hood.'”
This triggers Kreayshawn’s response:
“shut up with yor rants I’m from east Oakland u skanky.”
“Who’s hotter? Who’s the realest? @KREAYSHAWN or @HARMONYG? #ImJustSaying”
At this point, if you’re thinking it’s time for Kreayshawn to take the high road, you’re right.
“your a trip chicka I’m from east Oakland you can come visit my hood and tell me what you think… much luv anyways.”
None of this sits too well with Harmony Gabriel, unfortunately.
“@KREAYSHAWN Yea that’s all you got? Cause your mom happen to have you in east side oakland your hood!? Hahahaa!! Ask about me!! Buy my mags!”
Sensing unneeded drama, Kreayshawn then advises that she will “only reply to positive things from here on out,” and Harmony Gabriel, after reminding people “I sold pussy” and telling them to wait for her upcoming rap video, declares herself the victor: “the title is mine the crown is mine.”
And that, dear readers, is the hood battle of the day.
P.S. If you’ve been following the phenomenon of Kreayshawn, this excellent piece by Meaghan Garvey irons out a lot of conflicting feelings.
What we have in the On Land Festival, presented annually by Root Strata, is four days’ worth of darts aimed in whatever direction and occasionally, surprisingly, hitting the bullseye. That the acts generally have “Noise / Drone / Experimental” anointing their begrudgingly active MySpace profiles implies that their aesthetic has no true trajectory, but of course there must be some involved intent. I knew what to broadly expect, and I was not disappointed, aside from having to miss two of the four days and arriving late even so.
Pete Swanson appeared entirely consumed by his music, his eyes and mouth especially. When his white noise began, people walked out. Thing about Pete’s music is that your ears tune out the white noise and these wonderful submerged melodies reveal themselves. I placed my head against the wall and stared into the back of his wooden reel-to-reel. He sang a little. It was intense. Then it was over after, like, 15 minutes. Way to leave people wanting more.
White Rainbow looped some staggering beat that didn’t make sense as he started to build it but cohered over time and you’re like, oh, of course. I knew nothing of him before Friday night and he won me over fully. Certain noises would affect him like a stab in the ribs; he’d double over in pain and return for more. Had people in stitches over his iPad animal noises. Seems like a fun-loving guy. Maybe he can tell me what happened to Watery Graves.
Oneohtrix Point Never delivered solid programming on the same frequency as his latest, Returnal, which I recommend. Hypnosis among the crowd. It was packed in there. Cafe du Nord isn’t comfortable when it’s full, but OPN essentially spread a blanket over everyone and sang some comforting lullabies. Time-space synth noise lullabies, but lullabies nonetheless. During a quiet interlude, someone, no doubt accustomed to jumpy rock bands, yelled, “Do something!” This seemed as pointless as yelling at Aubrey Huff to hit the ball when he’s out playing left field.
Dan Higgs, at Sunday’s show upstairs in the wonderful wooden Swedish American Hall, was good old Daniel (Arcus Incus Ululat) Higgs Interdimensional Song-Seamstress and Corpse-Dancer of the Mystic Crags. He stomped on a box. He played the banjo. He laughed heartily for a very very long time, or what seemed to be a very very long time for laughing in the middle of a song, but the song was also long, and unique, and definitely improvised on the spot.