Monday, December 29, 2008

Merriweather! Merry indeed

Okay, just admit it. You have downloaded the Animal Collective leak of their new album "Merriweather Post Pavilion." It was a wonderful Christmas gift for the entire blog community. Hm. You haven't downloaded it you say? Well my friend, as much as I love to spread the good word of support the artists, this album cannot, and I mean absolutely cannot, wait till January 20th. It's just too good.

Upon first listen, I was already blown away. The sounds and melodies are blended together beautifully and there is already more to each song than ever before. They feel bigger and bolder and stronger; Panda Bear said this was the best album Animal Collective have recorded, and I have to agree with him. It rivals all their past ones (and mostly certainly out does the mess of "Strawberry Jam").

My personal favorite on the album? "Summertime Clothes" would have to be chosen, but "Lion in a Coma" ("lion vs lying?" come on, they're just messing with us) has to be extremely close behind because it is incredible in it's break out moments and just all around.

To be played in enormous stadiums, dance parties, small clubs, or even just a gathering of fine high times with your really does feel like a universal piece. Epic.

Congratulations Animal Collective. This is amazing. On top of it all, your album cover is an optical illusion. Oh god that is sweet. Let's get summer tour dates going here.

To my dear readers: seriously, go buy it when it comes out though. If you're city is hosting a listening party, head to it, because it's about to be amazing and awesome. Bay kids: San Francisco has one! 21+ plus we have one nonetheless.

Animal Collective website

San Francisco listening party

Eargasms here!
First track on album - In The Flowers
Last track on album - Brothersport

For the full album!
The amazing Flaming Milk blog has the album up
Click here

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Bear with me folks; this show is not related to the San Francisco area, but as I have recently trucked it over to Vermont (planed would be more appropriate) so it has become difficult to keep writing about shows in the SF area (obviously). Hence, I am taking this oppurtunity to just start writing about bands in general, to get them out there I suppose.

Last night the band Clues played Bennington College, where I am currently going to school. If you have not heard of Clues yet, you may want to know that it is the new project of ex Unicorns member Alden Penner and ex Arcade Fire member Brendan Reed. Get yer ass on this man, it's hot. Unicorns and Acrade Fire? Damn. In any case, it would seem they contacted my school and asked if they could play a show on their way through. The show was small, subdued; barely anyone showed despite strong buzz around the campus and whispers of the words "The Unicorns!" and "extra indie cred points, alright!".

And yet even with the small crowd and rare turnout, the show was amazing. Those of us who did come smushed up against the stage into a pile of dancing, richocheting, jirating joy. We cheered and yelled and even got them to come out for encore (an encore for 15 people! Wow).

Clues put an extremely good show. They are energetic, different, and into what they are doing. The whole band functions perfectly together like gears turning in motion. The show was danceable, full of frenzy and fun and there was an all around feeling of bonding between the band, crowd, music, school...everyone present felt it. For the encore, one of the Clues members passed me a tambourine and I played it for the whole song.

Clues currently has no album out, but two songs have been leaked. They played both of those as well as about 7 or 8 other songs. All sound different and epic, and I cannot wait for the album.

Rumors say the album should be appearing in winter '09 and that is to be called "Rad Boo Horror & The Glory". Any other info on the band is extremely sparse right now; the only website for them is their record company page, there is no wikipedia article, and even Pitchfork Media only seems to have two pieces of news on them (Oh God!). Just bear with Clues. They are going to do great things.

Leaked for your love:
Clues - Perfect Fit
Clues - Rad Boo Horror & The Glory

More info:
Pitchfork article on tour
Record label: Villa Villa Nola

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lee Miller at SFMOMA

Once again, here I am, plugging away for SFMOMA. What can I say? It's my favorite museum in San Francisco and their exhibits are put together with style and class. Not to mention they always seem to snatch up exhibits by some of my favorite artists.

For these reasons, this post is to persuade you to visit SFMOMA some time in the next mont and check out their latest photo exhibit, which has come straight from the Victoria & Albert museum in London. Fancy stuff, I tell you.

This exhibit has but a couple more weeks left but there is still time to catch the photography of one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, not to mention a woman photographer. In a world where even the business of artistic photography seems to rely on what men can produce, Lee Miller's photos are different, interesting, and a long awaited view from a woman's prospective. While many of the photos remain dark or candid, others are simple and depictive of every day life.

Most often described as a surrealist photographer, she was heavily influenced by Man Ray after meeting him. Miller doesn't forget where she came from though either: she modeled for years before being a photographer.

I loved this exhibit because it doesn't just leave out what got her to photography: it's the span of her life. It really is a personal glimpse at her and her work.

The collection is extensive and vast and definitley a must see to comprehend where photography is going and from where it has come.

Like the surreal and candid? It's for you. Just like photography in general? It's definitley for you.
The Art of Lee Miller
Click here for more info
Exhibiton runs till September 14th, 2008
More than 150 photos

I thought I would also take this moment to announce my moving to Vermont. Tonight, I am boarding a plane to head over there. While I will still be back in San Francisco for a good amount of the year, most of my blogging will be from over there and thus mostly reviewing of CDs or bands. Still, you can all count on Blaine and Anna to fill up all the happenings of the Bay, as both are still in residence here.

I will miss SF, but I will be back. Thank you for all the support so far!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Extremely Belated - Fleet Foxes @ BotH 6/26 and Matmos @ GAMH 7/12

Part I: Fleet Foxes

The show got kicked off nicely with two openers: Mist & Mast, and the Dutchess (no typo) & the Duke.

Mist & Mast, a local band, have a widely varied sound in the sense that it's hard to tell what exactly their focus and future musical destinations are; their songs are strong compositionally, but so far there isn't a huge amount of continuity on the level of the overall body of work. From seemingly Nirvana-inspired croons to surf-rock-reminiscent riffs to walking-rhythm folk melodies, Mist & Mast's music is like a crazy agglomerate of everything rock-related that you've ever heard. The medley of genres doesn't quite show in their paltry selection of recordings on myspace, but it is beautifully organized - and it's up to the listener to decide whether they're trying to cover more bases than there are on the field, or whether they're doing a great job experimenting with the sounds that the past has laid out as influence on contemporary developments.

Seattle's the Dutchess & the Duke, on the other hand, are driven by one goal only: fast folk with few instruments and powerful harmony. With the duo on vocals and guitar and a third person on percussion (tambourine, maracas...), the D&D filled the space with rolling wanderer's ballad after rolling wanderer's ballad. The songs are full of contrast - big sound from few things, an up beat with lonely lyrics, the male-female harmony, and so on. While the tone of the music is more somber - the song 'Reservoir Park' sounds like 'House of the Rising Sun' played in double time - it did establish its folk origins, preparing the crowd for the main set by Fleet Foxes.

Fleet Foxes kicked off their set with 'Ragged Wood,' and the concert was filled with nearly every song from their eponymous album that was released earlier this year. Given the genre, it certainly wasn't a wild show, but the group gave their performance a very personal feel, responding even to oddly enthusiastic viewers' comments like "Nice capo!!" The stage was crowded with instruments and mics and people, which created a kind of living-room close ambiance that combined nicely with the cozy mountain feeling radiating from the music. From 'White Winter Hymnal' to 'He Doesn't Know Why,' the crowd was charmed by impeccable instrumental work and bassist Wargo's amazing harmonies. The show was peppered with anecdotes from the tour - people got sick in Europe; London reviewers made mocking remarks on their long hair and the youthful looks of the guy on ukulele (on the far right of the photo; couldn't find his name). All in all, the night transported everyone to a different world - simpler, more comfortable, and very down to earth and woodsy; it was a campfire world with the benefits of electricity, and well worth experiencing in any setting at all.

Part II: Matmos

The Matmos show opened with a performance by the Baltimore-based Wobbly (John Leidecker). Operating several machines and accompanied by another person doing live visual effects that were created by sliding and crumpling various textured items under some sort of projection apparatus, Leidecker shows off his 10+ years of experience with his instrumental techniques by sending out gigantic waves of powerful noise, spontaneous repeating rhythms that seem to vanish as quickly as they appear, and tiny ear-taunting samples. The visual effects enhanced the sound by reflecting what the ear was experiencing in realtime: a soar in the quantity of abrasive noise would be partnered with rough-looking materials being crumpled or shaken, and rotating gentle patterns would be performed (no other word quite fits) when Leidecker played smoother sounds. The projection screen was damned riveting, but if the eye happened to stray, it would be sure to fall upon Leidecker's feet, tapping the machines' pedals under the table and behind a curtain of cords, and his head, bobbing and swaying with new sounds just as he generated them. Somehow the whole arrangement made me conjure up a strange phrase to describe it: "post-apocalyptic show-and-tell;" it was like having a non-voice from the future describe in detail everything that would exist if the world was bombed to wreckage, and you couldn't help but listen.

Matmos' performance began with the group wandering through the audience with little lasers. At first there was silence; then bleeps and scratches emerged; the music began to build and mix. How was it happening? A light-receptive module in the apparatus onstage would emit sound every time a laser hit it, and as the members of Matmos approached and the frequency of laser hits increased, the abrupt sounds became more continuous and metamorphosed into the music. Like Wobbly, Matmos was accompanied by visuals, but these came in the form of previous recordings. Some told a story with the music, such as that of Steve (was that his name?) who goes out to his (?) small backyard pool one sunny afternoon to masturbate. The first video, shown at left, was of a girl speaking slowly with her eyes covered by what may be halves of ping-pong balls. Others were just beautiful, like a grid of swelling black dots on a white background or a field of dots in a circle changing colors, swirling, and turning into spirals. Some noises were new, and others sounded familiar from the group's latest album, "Supreme Balloon;" everything sounded amazing. If you have yet to hear the sounds of the ARP 2600, the musical creations of Matmos are most definitely one of the best ways to first experience it.
Standing right next to a speaker is not highly recommended as a general rule, particularly for extremely loud shows like this, but I defied my better judgment to feel the higher-pitched beams of Matmos' (generally) all-synthesized sound in addition to the low ones that boomed in the floor and made everyone's shirts shake. It was quite a mind-blowing (and ear-popping) experience: every sound seemed more powerful than the next, each demanding the listener's full attention in turn and holding everyone captive in a deep trance that was more akin to a series of smacks up the side of the head than a soft embrace. And yet somehow I felt lulled to sleep, a concept that even now I cannot fully grasp. There's just something so delightful about hearing (and feeling) a plane landing next to you - one of my favorite sounds of the night - that there's no way to describe the way it warms the heart, revs up the ears and mind, and makes you want to jump up and down like a kid, all at the same time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Frida Kahlo at SFMOMA

The above is by far one of my favorite Frida Kahlo paintings.

So I've been interning this summer at SFMOMA, and let me tell you, it has been great. To be surrounded by art 24/7 is fantastic and exactly what I hope to do for the rest of my life.
In any case, as I worked, the Frida Kahlo exhibit opened to the public. I knew this exhibit was going to be big: it contains not only an enormous selection of her paintings, but also photographs, very personal ones, of her life with her husband or family or friends. These photographs are rare and shed a light on Frida we have not seen before. It is a beautifully put together exhibit (it arrived at SFMOMA from MoMA in NYC) and definitley worth your time.

Heres the catch: you need a timed ticket. This exhibit is so big and so popular that it has drawn in the crowds like nothing I've seen before at SFMOMA (besides when Devendra Banhart played there). You buy a ticket, it says a time, and you arrive 10 minutes before (members get express entrance). You may think this is a big ol' load of baloney, but, my friend there have been lines every day stretching out of the galleries in which it's located. Dayum.

Being on staff, I walked through the exhibit on the day the museum was closed (hallelujah, Wednesdays!) and going through the empty rooms with only the paintings and me...I wish it is something you could all experience. Really amazing.

Still, it would seem most of you have to brave the Frida Fanatics. Some people seem to believe they have a special deep connection with Kahlo and have the urge to stand extremely near to the paintings or make sudden movements near priceless works of art.

Hey. I said it was unlike anything you'll have seen before.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Upon listening to Ratatat's latest LP, aptly titled “LP3”, I found the lull in energy, the addition of many natural sounds, the dull repetition of sweet melodies slowly passing me by. I liked the last track, “Black Heroes.” And then Itunes went on and played the first track to “Ratatat,” their first album, and the difference between the two cds was startling. Here was the electric guitar intensity I was looking for. Where was the complex layering of a track like “Breaking Away” on the new album? Where are my heavy electric guitars, damnit? I’m not feeling this new album just yet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Contemporary Jewish Museum, and Islands at Bimbo's 365

Photos by me, the newbie!
Part I: The Contemporary Jewish Museum
Or the CJM, as I affectionately refer to it. The museum opened its doors on the 7th with much fanfare; DAWN 2008, the festival organized for its unveiling, was a huge success - according to local newspapers (after an hour of waiting in line in the freezing wind, it was announced that tickets weren't being sold at the door due to some unforeseen planning snafu... however, this is beside the point).
The current CJM exhibits bring a lot to the table. The William Steig exhibit showcases Steig's work through the years, and those of us brought up on his stories will relive fond memories of childhood as we see individual drawings from old favorites such as Shrek! and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. However, the artist's cartoons from his many years at 'The New Yorker' - he began illustrating for the magazine in 1930 and produced hundreds of drawings, as well as over 100 covers, for it - round out the show and demonstrate Steig's talent with social commentary and his depictions of his own reality. Also of interest are his 'Symbolic Drawings,' which illustrate various states of mind with witty captions; you can see 'Man in a Deep Depression' here for a bittersweet example:
The John Zorn Aleph-Bet Sound Project is quite amazing, but its setup in the museum leaves a little to be desired. The music that the artists produced for the Project is quite the type that one would expect from them; each piece is a unique and thought-provoking interpretation of a letter from the Aleph-Bet and incorporates often industrial, always avant-garde jazz sounds. The space, however, is not ideal for this exhibit - presented in the 'Yud' gallery, located in the eye-catching metal-encased octahedron (I believe) section of the building, the incredible music is played at an underwhelming volume that leaves listeners fantasizing about a mass uprising involving the attack of the hidden schoolmarm holding the volume controller. I stuck around for the first 5 minutes of Erik Friedlander's 50 Gates of Understanding, based on the letter [Nun], then gave up on trying to hear the music over the deafeningly blank walls of the gallery space. Both the music and the room are awe-inspiring - just not in combination. I hope that a CD of this astounding collaboration gets published and is available for purchase later, making it possible to blast the music at high (or at least audible) volume!
The last highlight of the CJM is the presentation of various artists' interpretations of Genesis centering on the story of the Creation. The works range in style from Marc Chagall, to Auguste Rodin, to Tom Marioni, to Trenton Doyle Hancock, covering a wide range of takes on this fundamental passage of religious texts and showing how much we can gain, religious or not, from thinking about this - the artists themselves are creating a new, indirect way through which we can ponder Genesis and other aspects of religion. Each artist seems to bring new views and interpretations to visitors, and with over a dozen artists it certainly wouldn't do any of the work justice to try and describe it all here - it's something you've got to see along with the rest of the museum.

Part II: Islands at Bimbo's 365 with Crayonsmith and Despot

Crayonsmith, a group from Dublin, Ireland, stepped up first with a not-bad set. Initially, my mind turned to thoughts of "I think I like their bass guitarist's Built to Spill shirt more than their music..." but such ideas were proved wrong by their 3rd song, which got the crowd going with a more upbeat and wonderfully synthy sound. Although they have a number of audible influences - a concept justified by the plethora of bands listed under 'Influences' on their myspace page - they are bringing something of their own to their sound and have some definite potential and are worth a good listen. They're like a guitar-shot Notwist, or a higher-strung Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. The songs played were 'Anxious' and 'Scarytale' with 3 or 4 others, and the band closed with 'Lost in the Forest.'
This aside, the band also gets some mad props for having the lead, Ciaran Smith, abandon his guitar mid-song (apologies for not knowing which) for a yellow-plastic-encased fold-up glockenspiel, on which Smith then proceeded to tap out some awesome harmony. And if that wasn't mind-blowing enough, Smith also changed mid-set into a polar bear suit with a Roman helmet. I'm not sure if this is some kind of metaphor for a war on global warming (hehe I'm clever) but it seems to be open for interpretation, since it appears on the cover of their album 'White Wonder' as well. Any suggestions as to what it means are welcome!

Despot, from Brooklyn, came onto the stage shortly after and generally surprised us all with his insane rapping skills and clever lyrics and song titles. From 'Crap Artists' to 'Get Rich or Try Dyin' ' to 'Puppets on a String,' Despot's got booming, instrument-rich bass lines that carry a wide range of genre influences and lyrics that not only have messages different from the ubiquitous sex/drugs/alcohol/anger topics of so much hip-hop and rap, but also bring wit and thought to the music with words like "Look Ma, two hands!" and "Home is where the heart is/That's a coffee cup and a subway token for the heartless."

Despot also has some comedic talent, and didn't fail to omit it from his set - his DJ was/is (?) dubbed 'DJ Princess Harriet,' and about 3/4s of the way through the set a fake DJ (a disguised member of Islands) made his way onto the stage in sunglasses and a green sweatshirt with a "Hello My Name Is [DJ]" sticker on it to have a silent/funny-awk skit confrontation with Despot on the DJ Princess Harriet situation. Not to mention the most-necessary "This club [Bimbo's] was named after all your mothers" joke. And the mini audience-participation aerobics session. And Despot's lip-syncing to the backup vox. All in all, a great performance that definitely revved up the group for...

ISLANDS!! How to put this... The show started off dark, with the fake shrubs in the background of the previous photos glowing red as the only light onstage for the first song, 'In the Rushes.' Shortly into the 2nd song, 'Kids Don't Know Shit,' a huge wave of people shoved forward from the back of the crowd and the show exploded into full intensity - the entire club was jumping to the beat all the way through favorites from "Return to the Sea" and "Arm's Way" alike, like 'Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby,' 'Life in Jail,' and 'Pieces of You,' and the sounds of vocals, guitar, drums, violin, and synth (as well as some ingenious percussion, like dropping chains) all soared out powerfully (without any one overpowering another) over the audience like currents in a sea of dancing people.

The show only got better and better as the night went on despite the fact that I had no idea where my bag, which I had idiotically placed on the floor by my feet, had been kicked to after the mid-2nd-song surge. This aspect of the show - the missing bag part - was refreshed in my memory when, before my very eyes, the copy of The First Word (my latest read) that I'd been carrying with me was lifted into Nick Thorburn's hands during an instrumental! After he flipped through it and showed it off to the crowd (why? I don't know), he lowered it down to someone in the audience. My response was instinctive and effective: "Hey! THAT'S MY BOOK! MOTHERF***!!!" Oh, mysterious brown-jacketed boy who helped me yell for my book, and man with the glasses who got it to me, thank you. You guys rock.

But I digress. Islands was kicking some veritable technical ass with soaring sound that built up and showered us with joy and all-around incredible and overwhelming emotion. "Arm's Way" shows new developments in the band, but Islands isn't afraid to keep the old with the new, and that's part of the show's beauty - everything was there, even at the most literal level. Sounds. Lights. Movement. A group entrancing the crowd with it all, and the crowd entranced. It was everything that a true concert is and should be. Outstanding show.
(For those who may fret about the missing bag, all was good in the end and it was worth it to get my cell phone screen broken in exchange for a legendary story of the Book Held By Nick Thorburn.)
Sorry I don't know how to post up freebies yet... so I'm going to have to let ya down with that bit.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Los Campesinos at Bimbo's 365

All photos by me. Thank you.

If you have listened to Los Campesinos, you'll know it is incredibly impossible to not at least tap your foot or bob your head to their music. This fact manifested itself entirely at the band's show at Bimbo's last night. The entire audience, whether there just for a night out or to see a band they absolutely adored, was a perpetual body of people bouncing to the beat. Even people sitting at the tables, enjoying a nice dinner or after dinner aperitif, couldn't help but move their head in time to the catchy poppy and bouncy music that is Los Campesinos.

The opening band of the night, Parenthetical Girls, is a group you might just have to check out. Intriguing the entire audience as the lead singer, Zac Pennington, descended from the stage and proceeded to sing the whole first song from the floor of the venue, illustrates exactly what the Parenthetical Girls seem to do best: intrigue. While most of the rest of the band stayed highly platonic during the set, Pennington was lively and awake. This sharp contrast added an element of creepiness but also, you guessed it, intrigue.

Instrumentations using glockenspiel and loud guitar chords with smashing drums evokes an almost death-march like tune, yet with so much energy and feeling you'd swear the person for which the march is for is springing back to life. Their songs are definitley full of emotion and you can feel it in the way they all play, but perhaps the most in the vocals of Pennington.

Their music is compared to the likes of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and Xiu Xiu, but I would akin it more to something like a minimalist Animal Collective slowed down or Casiotone with tons of caffeine and helium. Depends on what song they are playing. While I spent most of the set debating whether I liked them or not, I decided at the end that I had thoroughly enjoyed their set. You may be confused as to what you think at first, but I believe Parenthetical Girls will capture you like they did me. Definitley give them a holla. Sidenote: Pennington asked us midway through if we have our name on Google one really responded, but I guessed this means he does, so hey man, I'm tagging your name, in case you read this.

Los Campesinos took the stage with stride. While Bimbo's was full, it was not crowded, and I learned the show had not sold out. So despite all the hype surrounding this little indie pop group, you'll be happy to know they remain easily acessible and down to earth.

Los Campesinos played all the favorites, from "You! Me! Dancing!" to "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives". If there was a song someone wanted to hear, they played it. It's impressive how fully LC can play their songs live. On the record, you might think at some points that one particular song is pratically inachievable live, but no. LC played them all and they sounded just as good, if not better, live. Their handling on their instruments and the domain they hold over their sound shows how rounded they are in their music, and how well they know themselves. LC also covered a Pavement song, rendering it their own but also paying hommage to the original in a wonderful way.

Their stage presence is nothing to be trifled with. With seven people commanding the band, they fill up the stage in a big way and are ever present in each and every instrument, from glockenspiel to guitar to violin to random noise makers. The singer Gareth's incredibly energetic stage presence of running around, throwing his arms and jumping is contrasted to the second singer Aleks' timidness and quiet demeanor; there is a contrast onstage that makes this band unique. Yet all members are obviously invested in their art.

LC haven't lost any personal touch either. They showed us they can make the "SF" symbol with their hand, and used to to apologize for the fact that they think "Frisco" sounds good (a sidenote: it definitley does not). Gareth also explained that they have been rating their audiences. "You're better than Sacramento!" he said. Unfortuanetly, we are only in second place behind Eugene, Oregon. "At least you beat LA!" Gareth exclaimed. True that.

After leaving the stage, LC came on for one more song and then they were gone, almost as quickly as they had taken the stage. I guess the only thing that would show their grown popularity would be that at their GAMH show in November last year, they came out right away after it was over, while at this show there was no sign of them. Their bus has also grown in size immenseley.

Still this is not a problem, as long as LC manages to keep true to their roots, and stay in touch with who loves them. As proven last night, they have.

Los Campesinos: Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks
Los Campesinos: Drop It Doe Eyes
Parenthetical Girls: The Weight She Fell Under

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Haight Ashbury Street Fair this weekend!

This Sunday, June 8th.
This is about to be awesome, so be there or just...suck it.

There are going to be over 50 different booths, chock full of contests, giveaways, free stuff, information, and lots of cool people who need your input, support, name it.
Among some of the booths, please welcome:
Looking Glass Collage
5733 Clothing
Zip Car
Slainte Bags
Haight Ashbury Beat
The Green Cross
Cold Stell
Kai Wai Li
Haight Music Center

...and many many more. For a full list of booths, go here:

Not to mention the food at this festival is about to be delicious. Booths for food are provided by just some of our local favorites: Barrett's Lemonade, Escape From NY Pizza, Diva Dogs, Ti Couz Restaurant, and on and on.

There will be live performances by musical acts and street performers up and down Haight.

The fair stretches from where Stanyan and Haight cross to Masonic, about five blocks long. So from GG Park to Ashbury basically.

Expect many drugs, beatniks, hippies of all ages, and the new wave crowd of youngsters, hipsters, and more. I will be popping in and spending some time checking it all out, getting involved. You know, helping out my neighborhood.

It's gonna be a great day.

Sunday June 8th
11 AM to 5:30 PM

Friday, May 30, 2008

Flight of the Conchords at Davies Symphony Hall

Oh yeah. It was business time last night at Davies Symphony Hall. And Flight of the Conchords were leading bringing it all. I had the beauty of sitting very near the front, dead center, and it was great. A wonderful view of the entire wonderful show.

You know a band has the audience eating out their palm when one of the members of the band laughs a little too loudly and this sends the audience on a two minute laughing spree. They didn't even have to speak. At some points, their deafening silences were enough for the audience to laugh and laugh. And that was the beauty of it.

Ranging from playing songs to merely talking onstage, the Flight of the Conchords two and only members, Bret and Jemaine, put on a wonderful show. The hilarious jokes they entwine so carefully and wonderfully into their songs fully encompasses the feeling of joy they bring to anyone fortunate enough to bear witness. Ranging from lyrics like "You're so could be a part time model!" to "There are angels in the clouds...DOING IT", the night barely missed a musical genre (except maybe metal). Conchords were hitting all the different kinds, from folksy to bedtime story to hip hop to plain rocking out.

The moment of punch lines and jokes came wonderfully too. In their comedic timing, Conchords are perfect. Their ability to improv and make things up as they go along onstage was also quite impressive. Some of these improv moments were almost even more wonderful than the songs themselves, since the improv was completely unseen before. One particular moment of a good laugh: Bret and Jemaine attempting to show us how a whale would have problems dialing 911.

This being a particularly rowdy (and lets say horny) audience was really the whipped cream on the milkshake. At moments it was dead quiet, and Jemaine and Bret would look around quite confused as to what to do and merely say "Maybe if we turned out the lights we could all have a good sleep."

Then there were moments when the cheering was overwhelming, especially in a 1700 seat concert hall. And of course, the inevitable "take off your shirt!" and "I love you!" resounded all around the walls and ceilings, although Bret and Jemaine seemed surprise at the excess of it this particularly evening, like they had never gotten quite as much heckling before. One girl even yelled "I want to touch you!" then preceded to go onstage and...touch them. Rub them actually. Fantastic evening.

The guys kept making jokes about how "intimate" the setting was. I am not sure if they realized it, but the way they behaved and spoke rendered the room actually more intimate than you might expect with two guys onstage and 1700 people watching. The little conversations between themselves and casual manner of handling the audience made it feel not so formal as it might have seemed. At one point, Jemaine turned to us and said "Talk amongst yourselves for a bit...I feel like you guys are just...looking at us."

The Conchords played favorites like "Jenny", "Business Time" (for the ladies), "If You're Into It" (you can imagine the yelling during this one with our special audience), "Albi the Racist Dragon" and "Mutha-Uckers". They also played some new ones, including one about all of Jemaines past loves, in which a new instrument posed quite some problems. They needed to fix it, and stopped twice during the song itself. "I'm sorry," Bret said. "Jemaines exhausted. We've been on the road for four days. It's intense."

After leaving the stage on a standing ovation (which my two friends and I started) they came back on for two encores and thanked the audience profusively, saying they "thought San Francisco was...pretty cool." "I like that you have stairs in your sidewalks," said Bret.

A night of jokes, improptus monologues, crazy panty-throwing (yes, seriously) audience members, music, and two guys with New Zealand accents singing onstage. Seriously? You want more?

PS A nod must be made the Conchord's warm up comic, Aziz Ansari. You may know him as the racist fruit vendor in the "Mutha Uckers" video, or Clell Tickle on YouTube. He is now holding a part on "Human Giant" on MTV. He was hilarious and had me in stitches. Upon stating that Cold Stone Creamery "molests" their ice cream, I was gone. Thank you Aziz.

Sidenote: I went backstage after the show and poked my head in the dressing room. There they were. Bret on a couch, Jemaine reading some papers and pacing. And then this huge security guard, just chilling. "Great show!" I said brightly. They turned, smiled cheerfully, and thanked me. And that was all I needed.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Dodos at Amoeba

That's right. It's The Dodos at Amoeba...FO FREE.
With waffle fries.
And it's Wednesday. So after work, school, illicit drug deals, whatever it is you do day to day, head on over.

Not only do these guys put on a great live show, their music is wonderful and they are, drumroll, San Francisco natives! Bonus! This is a great oppurtunity to check them out if you haven't yet (in which case you are insane). The show may get crowded fast though, so show up a bit before, do some shopping or browsing, then sit back and enjoy the smooth yet rough sounds of The Dodos.

You may see below a review of their show when they performed here at GAMH with Les Savy Fav, a superb show if I may say so.

Wednesday, May 14th
Show starts at 6PM
Should be about forty five minutes or less
At Amoeba in the Haight

Once again, The Dodos are a very good band.
Believe me.

The Dodos - Paint The Rust

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wolf Parade's "At Mount Zoomer"

The album art. Yeah. I have no idea either. To quote how Stereogum put it so wonderfully: "A mountain of zoomers, indeed."

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it is the long awaited sequel to "Apologies to the Queen Mary." I myself have been waiting in quiet agony and anticipation. I have been terrified; terrified because "Apologies" was so fucking good, this album was taking to fucking long, and, Spencer Krug was devoting the fruit of labor all to Sunset Rubdown and it's smash hit, hell-of-an-album 2007 release "Random Spirit Lover."

All those things drove me into a frenzy.
I downloaded At Mount Zoomer the day after it leaked and it sat in my iTunes for another day and then I was ready to listen.
My initial reaction was "What the hell did I just hear?"
After letting it sit in my head, like waiting for alcohol to hit, I was still baffled. What was that?

I listened again.
Nothing hitting me.
The first track intrigued me, as did the closing one, a long epic song sitting at 10:47.
After a bit, I grew to love three of the songs very much, but none of them thrilled me like "Apologies".

This is not to say it's not a good album. This is also not a "Ugh I'm such an elitist Wolf Parade fan, I know everything about them blah blah blah." No. This is an honest to God response to the album.

Because, really, it is a good album. Great in fact. The songs are different, interesting, originally structed; the lyrics are wonderful and there are parts that really draw you in. It is rich in spirit. I can see it being very popular in fact. It's just, it didn't kickstart me. It didn't make me go "Wolf Parade, you have done it again." The alcohol, so to say, just never hit me, even if the drink still tasted great.

I do recommend it, though. Usually I like to end these posts with "You may hate it." or "You may love it." but the truth is I don't know. I do not know anything for certain this time. What "At Mount Zoomer" has produced is new and intriguing, also at once confusing and stunning. All of this at once too, on one album. That has got to be something. Who knows? Maybe after a few more listens, I will fall in love.

And now, a short list of...
What "At Mount Zoomer" sounds like:
-truthful rocking out
-a slightly tired Wolf Parade
-your friends rolling around your room, high
-Spencer Krug forcing Sunset Rubdown in Wolf Parade's face
-the tragic tale of a knight in armor who never reaches his goal
-Wolf Parade experimenting. And thats good.

On attempting to find a copy of this rich deep and different album for my friend, I found none. Well, either you're gonna like to so much you buy it or you wouldn't have bought it anyway, so, please enjoy:
sorry guys...subpop is all over the blogosphere's asses. Subpop, just rest assured, we will buy it or we won't. God damn. Let us tailor it and decide. We are music connoisseurs.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Death Cab For Cutie's Narrow Stairs

After listening to the single Death Cab For Cutie released to bump up the anticipation for their new album even more, I was excited. Very excited. "I Will Possess Your Heart" is a beautifully structured and executed piece of music. At 8:35, it is an epic choice as a single, ambitious and impressive. Whats even more impressive is how well it was received, and how much everyone seems to be enjoying it. The slow escalade to emotional vocals and break outs of music is like the build up to the breaking point in a novel.

Needless to say, we were all waiting to see what other miracles Ben Gibbard and the gang might pull out of their talents for the album. I prayed that Death Cab hadn't, shall we say, "jumped the shark." "I Will Possess Your Heart" gave me hope.

By now, probably mostly the entire blogging community will have downloaded "Narrow Stairs" from one of the many leak links across the blogosphere. I listened to it immediately, all the way through, and all I can say in response is a cheesey expected "Wow."

Combining the jumpy, almost punk-like beats and guitar chords of their older style like on "The Photo Album", then taking the melodic agony and beauty from "Transatlantacism", and finally pushing in some epic aspects of orchestrated like band choreography from "Plans" gives us what "Narrow Stairs" is: a combination of the phases Death Cab has been through as a band together. While this description of the album may make it sound more messy than beautiful, it comes off as more original sounding than ever before.

Already the opener pulls you in. "Bixby Canyon Bridge" is a beautiful song and I swear I have never heard Ben Gibbard sing more intensely before. Going from slow to intense to a little faster and back down to slow, the track is a roller coaster in a slow motion: practically magical.
Part of the appeal of this album is going to be the multiple different types of music Death Cab manages to serve up to us. Up beat tunes like "No Sunlight" are dance worthy, while a track like "Long Division" is faster than others but more in a jump around the room in beat way. Perfect for a live show. On the other side, Death Cab evokes feeling and sentiments (as usual) with more epic tracks of multiple instrument layering and loud strong vocals, like opener "Bixby Canyon Bridge" and "Pity and Fear".

The more "rock back and forth and move your head tunes", like "Cath", with echoey vocals and perfect drum beats, allow you to fall into the album gracefully and with ease. There's also the back to the basics easy going slow tunes of "Talking Bird" and album closer "The Ice Is Getting Thinner". Although I feel "Talking Bird" may be a weak track on the album, the closer is definitley a beautiful haunting tune that leaves you hanging.

The band sounds great; of course the album is very produced, in the fashion of "Plans", but while "Plans" was called "polished", "shiny", or even "waxed" by some, I would call "Narrow Stairs" more refined. Like aged wine, even if the album is brand new. The band hangs tight to its roots using feedback and steady beats, but squeezes in their new bright sounds as well. They are perfectly joined together in a harmony achieved over many years of playing as a band. Ben Gibbard also plays his part very well. His voice is as good as it has ever been, strong and true. Not too much has changed, but I believe this is what has given Death Cab it's indie appeal (no matter what label) over the years. Overall, I think Death Cab sounds wonderful. They've come far up the ladder.

At first listen, you may be slightly dissapointed. You may have expected more after the epic track that was "I Will Possess Your Heart". Theres no doubt that that track is the best on the album; but, this does not mean the rest are less. There are some real gems and moments on this album that will catch you and perhaps seize you for one moment of breathlessness. I have already found many such moments. Join me.

Link from Keeping Time wordpress blog
Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs (2008)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Colin Meloy at The Fillmore

So, one guy, his guitar, sultry lighting, and an accoustic set should equal a passive, relaxed evening of music and ambient sounds, right?
So wrong with Colin Meloy.

Through an hour long set, then fifteen minutes of encores, Meloy had the audience practically eating out of the palm of his hands; hungry for more each time, Meloy pushed his music and talents to a limit that can only be reached in a live setting. His voice carried strong and true, ringing at all points of the large Fillmore auditorium. His guitar's twangy, folksy sounds filled the space. And the celtic and irish feel to his tunes made you want to move to the beat in any way possible, even if it was just by swaying back and forth.

Playing wise, Meloy uses every inch of the guitar and his vocal range, creating a plethora of different noises, sounds, and melodies. Some of the songs Meloy played use the most beautiful keys and chords I have ever heard. Combined with Meloy's smooth, strong voice, the outcome is a range of ear pleasing songs. His guitars are not instruments; only extensions of himself that he uses to create this sound from inside him. His quirky ways, like having to stand on his tippy toes to tune his guitar, bring out his different and yet extremely effective playing style.
Along with superb musicianship, Meloy creates a very personal and intimate relationship with the crowd. Talking directly to us as individuals, and yet addressing everyone at once, Meloy made jokes, responded to questions yelled out, and provided witty and amusing anecdotes to either go with songs or accompany a theme. Every time a certain person near the front yelled something at him, Meloy would respond "Inside voice, man. You could work in show biz."

It was wonderful to see Meloy able to make fun of himself, laugh at himself, and play around with his music. Seeing that he does not take himself too seriously was refreshing and made the night all the more memorable. Meloy had everyone in laughter as he sang "The Perfect Crime #2" and repeated "perfect" about ten more times than he usually does in the song, walking back and forth on the stage between mics humorously.

From singing electric guitar solos himself, getting the audience to do it, or merely saying mid-song "This is the guitar solo part", the overall style and feeling of the concert was unique, different, and wonderful. A powerful accoustic set, rendered intimate and personal, yet still large and maginificent in a musical way.

Meloy mixed it up with a few songs of his own, old and new, a cover of Sam Cooke, and songs from his band The Decemberists. At the end of the set, all of us were screaming and chanting for more, stomping our feet and clapping our hands, until Meloy came back on, finishing with the epic "Mariners Revenge Song". What a way to end. And who knew this song, usually performed with about 7 instruments, could sound so powerful on accoustic guitar?

Maybe it was the antics of frontman Colin Meloy. Maybe it was the audience filling in for other band members singing roles. Maybe it was the entire crowd stomping and clapping like real mariners on deck, in time with the music.

Whatever it was, Meloy brought it out of us in the best way.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Les Savy Fav at The Great American Music Hall

While I was slightly fearing this show because
1) both friends I was supposed to go with bailed on me and
2) my brother had told me horror stories about Les Savy Sav shows
I remained optimistic and excited to get inside the GAMH and get into it.
I was going mostly for, I confess, The Dodos. They are a recent band who have captured my heart and I love them dearly. I was so excited to be going to see them. Les Savy Fav is a band that I have listened to on occasion, but who I definitley know. Not only have they been raised up to a sort of indie Gods status over the years, their live shows are quite frankly the talk of the town. I was greatly anticipating my little date with them.

The Dodos played about a 45 minute set of bliss. They performed extremely well and their songs sounded even more powerful live. The record gives off a sort of folksy, yet amped up and feeling-filled sound, and live these sentiments are still strong. Yet they come off stronger and hit you more directly by many different factors. Firstly, both members of The Dodos, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, are energetic and obviously very much into what they are doing. It's hard not to watch them play and observe their tactics of either rushing back and forth between instruments, pedal pressing, or their smooth transitions between songs (just as smooth as the record. Extremely impressive).
Touring with an extra member who played xylophone, an extra drum, and toy piano, The Dodos filled the stage and entire room with their music and messages. The echoing vocals and twangy notes from the guitar paired with the intense smashing of cymbals and drums is beautiful and intense in a wonderful way.

That being said, if you haven't heard the album, I don't know whats wrong with you.

As soon as The Dodos left the stage, I found myself sort of wanting them to be headlining, yet extremely excited to see Les Savy Fav perform. I have to say that this was the aboslute shortest amount of time I have ever waited between bands when the headliner was about to go on. Really. It was at most twenty minutes.
My brother had told me to go on YouTube and watch videos so I knew what to expect. I didn't. I'm glad I didn't.

What is a Les Savy Fav performance?A way of life.

First off, the band is just plain great. They are awesome musicians with skill and precision despite the rantings and random vocalizing of leading man Tim Harrington. And Harrington there just are no words to describe. He is a mass of energy that fills the entire crowd...quite literally. Harrington came down off of the stage no less than four times to dance and mosh with everyone even while continung a song quite strongly. The entire show held together and the energy did not drop, not even for a moment. Their charisma is amazing.

From forcing people to kiss his toes, to pouring beer all over the crowd, Harrington made things far from boring for the spectators. Being directly in the front, I got to experience many of his antics first hand, including having beer spit all over me and water thrown down my back. All watched in a strange mixture of disgust and admiration as Harrington hacked a loogy into the air and caught it back in his mouth perfectly. Simply stunning.

The music live is something to behold. On CD, these guys are already pretty in your face and rough when it comes to yelling lyrics, smashing guitar riffs, and insane drummings. Live, this all comes off even more intensely, especially paired with Harrington's disgusting yet fascinating escapades of debauchery. The entire room shakes as everyone dances, pushes, shoves, and screams along with deep bass beats, fast guitar solos, loud drums, and the yells and shouts of vocals. I couldn't help but notice that all the instruments were amped up far above what is normally expected (as someone behind me observed before it began and they were sound testing, "Damn, this is gonna be loud").

Les Savy Fav had us yelling and dancing, all crouching on the ground then springing back up at the last moment together, and begging that we might just might get caught in another beer spray.

After an hour set, LSF returned for three encores which Harrington performed in a full body leotard, jiggling around the stage with ferocity. The end was a smash of noise, sweat, and yet pure love for LSF . At the end, as the rest of the band left the stage smiling and waving, I saw Harrington dash to the sound guy and embarassingly pass him a mic he had broken the top off of. "I'm really sorry..." he said sheepishly. This really finalized the evening. On top of it all, no matter how insane they were onstage, look how much they cared...

...for you, for me, for that microphone: they just want you to have a good time.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco is going to rock

I swear, Outside Lands in San Francisco (yeah! hometown cred!) is the festival to be at this year. Coachella dissapointed many...well here is what is going to rescue us all from total festival deprivation (besides Sasquatch! north of us).

The Outside Lands festival announced more lineup bands today, way more past the top three who we have heard repeated over and over.

Now, joining Radiohead (oh heck yeah), Tom Petty, and Jack Johnson (it's okay, I can deal with Radiohead there) are the following incredible bands and artists:

Primus, Beck, Widespread Panic, Wilco, Manu Chao, Cafe Tacvba, Cold War Kids, Devendra Banhart, Regina Spektor, Broken Social Scene, Andrew Bird, M. Ward, Matt Nathanson, Two Gallants, Steve Winwood, Kaki King, Dredg, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and Sean Hayes.

And yes, more are still waiting to be announced! Unebelievable. As Gregg Perloff of Another Planet Entertainment who are presenting the festival said "We can't believe our lineup." WELL US DOWN HERE CAN'T EITHER! Way to cinch Radiohead you sneaky awesome people.

Not only is the lineup fabulous, but the concert will take place in Golden Gate Park...isn't is about time some big happening went down there? Something enormous like this? Nationwide? GG Park, a symbol of San Francisco. Hippies, the 60s, now Outside Lands. It's wonderful.

From the SF Chronicle: "The stages will be spread across adjacent areas of the park - from the massive Polo Fields to the Lindley and Speedway Meadows, where the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival is largely staged. The park will receive a portion of the proceeds."

On top of all of this...the logo art is looking good.

No I am serious. It's a great blend of retro and moderne (french accent)

The festival will take place August 22nd to 24th, 2008
This is the first year this festival is being done
Three day tickets: $225. On sale 10 a.m. Sunday. (415) 421-8497

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The art in San Francisco museums right now is superb

Read the title of this blog.
It is true.
Right now, three of the major museums of San Francisco, the SFMOMA, the de Young, and The Legion of Honor, are running fantastic shows that require your immediate attention. Most of them have just opened and run until May so you have time; but who knows. You might want to go back a couple times. There is much to see.

SFMOMA's is currently showing an exhibit of Lee Friedlander photos. It is filled with nearly 400 photos from the 1950s to the present of this photographer's fine praised artwork. Friedlander is heralded as one of the major and perhaps one of the most significant contemporary artists of our time, gaining an extensive base here in the US and even across seas. His photos depict city scenes, life on the urban front, often including himself by means of reflection or shadow. This exhibit is not to be missed, as it shows some of present day photography's best and finest work. Side note: The Fraenkel Gallery at 49 Geary also is showcasing some wonderful Friedlander work at this moment, his project entitled "America by Car". And bonus, some are for sale! But yeah, who am I kidding. Can't afford that. Oh well. You can always just go see them for the sake of a Friedlander gallery showing: pricesless (for everything else, there's COPYRIGHTED.)
Show website: Click here
Runs Feb 23rd till May 18th

The de Young's current high praised, well rated, critic approved exhibit is that of the artists Gilbert & George. It's hard to put into words what G&G do. The de Young website aptly describes it as eliminating "the distinction between artist and art". This is very true. G&G appear in practically all their work. Some photos of live works they did, some live works before your eyes, and some...recreations of stained glass windows? All around, an enormous expansive and engaging exhibit that will completely capture you the moment you walk in. Even if you hate museums, this is nothing like paintings on a wall, rest assured. Lucky for you, art is changing rapidly. G&G are at the healm of it all.

Show website: Click here
Runs Feb 16th till May 18th

Lastly the Legion of Honor is currently housing an exhibit by the incredible Annie Leibowitz. Leibowitz has been a photographer of icons of pop culture for many many years. If you have not heard the name, definitley you have seen the naked John and Yoko photo, yes? Well it was taken by her. This exhibit presents us with 200 photos of her iconic shots as well as pictures of family and friends...more personal ones. The title of the exhibit, "A Photographer's Life 1990-2005" is a good one because we get to see into her life: her work (the celebrity photos) and her personal life (friends and family). Also thrown into the mix is an array of photos from her many trips across the world. A true perfect mix. Bonus! Her photo she took of George W. Bush in the White House is in this exhibit. And many others, who you will no doubt be more excited about, I'm sure. I am.

Show website: Click here
Runs March 1st till May 25th

Thursday, February 28, 2008

5 essential shows for March 2008

Yes, March is just bursting with concerts for the Bay Area this year. In fact, the entire spring is shaping up to be absolutely incredible. But I've decided to compile a list of the five essential shows for March. If you can, do make it to a concert every night, because there are many many out there you cannot miss.
In the mean time though, make sure to check out these wonderful performers and their stunning live shows, music, originality and all around noble greatness:

1. Why? at The Great American Music Hall on March 6th.
Why? Why? (Aaah I love that). Because we have watched him shoot up in the indie community and become a sort of living legend, something to be marveled at from afar. Except no more! You can see him up close on March 6th, if you are so lucky.

Tickets: $13
Doors @ 8, show @ 9

2. Atlas Sound at Bottom of the Hill on March 8th
The lead singer of Deerhunter's side project, Atlas Sound, could not be hotter right now, or more creatively and artisticly pleasing. The ears have not felt this kind of joy in a long time.

Tickets: $10
Doors @ 8:30, show @ 10

3. Beach House at Bottom of the Hill on March 15th
This dreamy, almost psychedelic duo of magical music makers are trance enducing, gorgeous sounding, and all around pleasing to the ears. At a chill hang out like BOTH, the music could not make a more ambient feeling. Atmospheric and eerie, expect to hear a lot from the new album as well as favorites from their self titled.

Tickets: $10 advance/$12 at the door
Doors @ 8:30, show @ 10

4. Jens Lekman at Bimbo's 365 Club on March 22nd
All I can say is, Lekman's jazzy, Frank Sinatra influenced classy ritzy music will not sound better in any other venue. Bimbo's is ideal in it's art deco furnishings. Not only that, I have heard only positive things about Mr. Lekman and his fantastic shows, how flamboyant they can become, how enganging. Try not to dance. I dare you.

BONUS! The Honeydrips, an incredible emmerging indie group, are opening.

Tickets: $18
Doors @ 8, show @ 9

5. Justice at The Concourse on March 27th
Okay so the venue blows; it cannot stop these guys from putting on an amazing show. Their album, "Cross", made it onto practically every best of 2007 list and there is a reason. And their live show only adds to the entire experience.

Tickets: $35
Doors @ 7, show @ 8

Other shows you should check out!
-The Pillows @ Slim's
-The Boredoms @ The Fillmore
-Born Ruffians @ Bottom of the Hill
-Say Hi @ Bottom of the Hill

And these...if you can get a ticket. They are in high demand.
-Explosions in the Sky @ Great American Music Hall
-Vampire Weekend @ Rickshaw Stop or The Independent

Monday, February 25, 2008

Urban Transformation Exhibit in Hayes Valley

Painting entitled "Pastel Pause" by Mitchell Confer, mixed media, 22" x 28", on linen.

Last Friday, I made my way to the middle of Hayes Valley to see an exhibit at the Hayes Valley Market Gallery called "Ancient City". The exhibit is an extremely interesting one. All the artwork on display explores the art of urban transformation and how it effects us as people living in an urban setting. The tagline on the card for exhibit states "15 Bay Area artists explore time, texture, and construct."

Among the artists showing work there in the exhibit are Ken Berman, Mitchell Confer, Vera Fainshtein, Terri Garland, Yong Han, Barbara Holmes, Kay Kang, Alexandre Koulouris, Grayson Malone, Liz Mamorsky, Alan Mazzetti, Yvonne Mouser, Daniel Newman, Scott Reilly, Charles Trapolin. Quite a bundle, yes. All of the bring something completely unique, new, and intricate to the showcase. Out of all these artists, perhaps my two favorites were the work of Mitchell Confer and Liz Mamorsky. Confer explores the cramped piled up feel of our city while at the same time retaining a peaceful calm atmosphere. Mamorsky creates statues out of found industrial and man made objects. One statue resembles a giraffe, another a robot...they are very original and fun.

Mitchell Confer's cityscape art:
Liz Mamorsky's site:

Do take a look at both these artists.

The exhibit runs till March 1st.

Offical exhibit website:

Location: 580 Hayes (@ Laguna)
Hours: 12 to 7pm

All artworks in this exhibit are on sale.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Across The Universe...literally

Today, NASA did something incredible.

To commemerate their 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the song "Across The Universe" by The Beatles, NASA broadcasted the song all the way to the North Star of Polaris, literally sending it across the galaxy. Apparently, it will take the song 431 years to reach Polaris; Polaris is 2.5 quadrillion miles away. Meh. No biggy. It'll get there eventually.

I quote the article from my city paper: "NASA loaded an MP3 of the song, just under four minutes in its original version, and will transmit it digitally at 7 p.m. EST Monday [today] from its giant antenna in Madrid, Spain. But if you wanted to hear it on Polaris, you would need an antenna and a receiver to convert it back to music, the same way people receive satellite television."

Apparently Paul McCartney was quoted as saying "Give my regards to the aliens". Aaah he is so witty.

Personally, I find this to be incredible, amazing, and wonderful.
I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I feel like technology really can do wonderful things. Yes, so this isn't solving world hunger, curing AIDS, or creating world peace once and for all. But it's a kind gesture. And simple in form. While I'm sure it takes dollars and dollars of technology and planning, the idea of sending a beautiful song into space to travel among the stars is just so simply gorgeous to me. I like to imagine the song echoing throughout the galaxy, over and over, just those beautiful melodies and lyrics...

Nothings gonna change my world.

More info:
Official NASA article: Click here
SFGate article: Click here

Note: I would upload Across the Universe, but I think distributing Beatles songs is punishable by death.
Hm. I wonder if the life forms on Polaris are going to pay royalties.

End sarcasm. Begin your own nostalgic sighing.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dan Deacon at Great American Music Hall

(Photo taken by me)
Thursday night, Dan Deacon played at The Great American Music Hall with opening bands Kit and HEALTH. Directly before his solo set, the video project called "Ultimate Reality" that he collaborated on with Jimmy Joe Roche was shown, along with the accompanying soundtrack written for two drums.

Kit and HEALTH got the beat pumping to set the mood for the show, bringing upbeat quick tempos and ear splicing electronic and industrial noises. Successfully driving the crowd into a frenzy, ready for Dan Deacon, the two bands did what they had come for very efficiently. While I preferred HEALTH over Kit, I see a future for both, and strongly suggest you check out their music the next time you host a house party or huge DJ gathering.

The Ultimate Reality film was an experience you have to see up close to grasp and feel. While two drummers play fast insane rhythms (composed by Dan Deacon), a huge screen behind them projects psychedelic images of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies put together by Jimmy Joe Roche. To quote a more apt explanation on Wikipedia: "The footage was appropriated by Jimmy from Schwarzenegger classics such as Terminator 2 and Total Recall to accompany the composition for Ultimate Reality. Jimmy has transformed the violent struggles of these films into a mesmerizing sequence of fantastic images where popular science fiction icons seep in and out of mirrored layers of kaleidoscopic color."

The result of Jimmy's work is incredibly amazing. I couldn't take my eyes away and the beats were extremely easy to move to. Many people launched into dance, which pleased me immensely.

And finally, the Dan Deacon set. What way to describe it? Dan Deacon did his usual routine of playing just down off the stage while the crowd gathered around him and on the stage. I was either just next to or behind Dan for the whole show and the experience was incredible. Dan had us holding a dance off with a cat walk, all kneeling down on the floor while raising our hands, and even creating a huge bridge with our hands for the entire audience to snake through (in which he used me as a test subject). Strobe lights tripped you out, different colored lights flashed, and the green skull at the front of the audience shown us on into the dancing.

It was not just a concert. It was a lifestyle for an hour and a half.

Photo once again by me.

Overall the experience was incredible, sweaty, tiring, and literally breath taking.
Dan Deacon said he will be back in the spring.
New record anyone? Don't miss this next one.

Photos from the event on Flickr: Click here
More info on Dan Deacon:

For your listening pleasure:
Dan Deacon - Snake Mistakes

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Here Here

I was listening to Live 105’s supposedly indie/local/sort-of-unknown new music show Soundcheck last month and was incredibly happy to discover the song “Poor Sailor” by Here Here flood through the speakers. Finally, some different-sounding music on that radio show. And I haven’t been able to stop visiting Here Here’s myspace page to listen repeatedly ever since. They sound like the Arcade Fire, melding piano and violin, as well as instruments like the banjo and an accordian. There's something about the violin that makes music sound epic, especially when accompanied by flowing vocals. The song subjects are interesting too. One seems to be about Canada, another entitled "All Hail Ye Fellow Sleepwalkers" contains one of the most fitting lyrics for someone with as many final papers to write as I have: a long, drawn out proclamation that "sleep seems so far away."

I’m having difficulty finding anything at all about them except for what’s on their myspace. They have 699 plays on, and I think I heard that they played their first show ever last summer. They’re from San Francisco and recently released “Boy With an Orange EP”, available at Amoeba or through Itunes or Emusic.

You can listen to songs here: