I wonder if performers realize that every show, every gig, every night in dimly lit bars or on collapsible starlit stages, is part of a unique memory for each and every person in attendance.
Julien Baker. Took me back twelve, thirteen years? True Love Cafe and Dan Potthast. Or was it Matt Skiba. Awkward meetups. Capitol Garage and Josh… he was, what? Six years old? Incredible. Rocky Votolato. Mid-week trip to SF with Kiel and the Chris Carrabba experience and the pineapple on my windshield and the belligerent vegan (my first).
I wrote the above several months ago, after first hearing Baker’s full-length debut, Sprained Ankle. I think what impressed me the most – or confounded me, maybe – was how a teenager in 2015 could transport me back to a time and a musical environment that existed before she started learning to write in cursive. How does a kid avoid all the negative associations with the term “emo” that erupted in the mid-aughts? How does she find a voice for her joys and sorrows and frustrations that so eerily takes me to a glimmer of a point in time that most people ignore, forget, or outright berate? Continue reading Julien Baker – Memories of Days Before Emo Was a Bad Word→
On their Twitter homepage, locals The Y Axes explain that they “are not the future of pop music, [they] are pop music from the future.” I’ve seen them live a couple times now, and have enjoyed the hell out of Sunglasses & Solar Flares since its release last year. I’m happy to report, then, that the future’s pop music reminds me a lot of Bay Area rock circa 2003.
Or maybe it’s just the venues.
There was something about those Lookout! and Asian Man shows in the East Bay, in the City, and in San Jose a decade ago. I haven’t listened to some of these bands in years, but I can remember seeing Squirtgun spazzing onstage, The Pattern doing their best Hives impersonation, Pretty Girls Make Graves playing almost an entire set in the dark. It was energized and alive, and, for me, just what I needed while I clawed myself free of a crap time in my life, bouncing between woe-is-me emocore and don’t-give-a-shit punk. Continue reading Time Traveling and the Importance of Loving The Y Axes→
Partisan Records was kind enough to release Sylvan Esso’s new single, “Coffee,” on their Spring Sampler a few weeks ago, and I’ve been abuzz with an electropop caffeine high ever since.
The label’s website says that the track “sparkles and quakes, patiently rising from a muted spell of seasonal affective disorder to a sweet rupture of schoolyard glee. ” Sweet, sweet rupture. The song is fantastic. And so is their live show.
At Bottom of the Hill on February 13th, Amelia Meath gave Valentine’s Day the middle finger with a recitation of Richard Brautigan’s “Love Poem.” Then she and Nick Sanborn finished entrancing the crowd with one of the most energized sets I’ve seen a duo perform in a long time. Love at first beat.
The album comes out in May, and I’m patiently awaiting news of their impending tour stop in town.