On the last Baghdad by the Bay, August 29th at 8pm; Interview with Steel Cranes and The Couches; Guest DJ: 20-Sided Records.

28 08 2013

Steel Cranes
Steel Cranes had a serendipitous birth in January of 2012 when Tracy Shapiro served up some mac & cheese and a beer to Amanda Schukle, who had just ducked into her neighborhood joint for a late night snack. Within a week, the women were practicing in Amanda’s apartment. Within a month, there were several noise complaints and thus the duo upgraded to an official rehearsal space, donned the name Steel Cranes, and started pouring much of their free time and energy into cultivating their sound and their songs.

Steel Cranes is an Oakland based rock duo with Amanda on drums and Tracy on vocals and guitar. Their stripped down, gritty, visceral sound has drawn comparisons to the likes of Hole, PJ Harvey, and Sleater-Kinney. Prior to their convergence, Amanda had played guitar and drums for various rock bands in Southern California while Tracy put in much of her time rambling through New York and Brooklyn with her music and comedy pursuits.

Photo credit: Miakoda Collins.

20 Sided Records
On the DIY level, San Francisco based indie label/collective 20 Sided Records likes to keep it as low key as possible. Working hard to support under the radar bands that are local to the Bay Area and occupy the handsome Western states. The world is a deep dark dungeon, but the adventure shows true light at the end of the journey.

A San Francisco based three piece indie slacker rock band that likes to party. Couches are a heavy touring band, have only been together for 9 months and they are about to play their 60th show. Impressive. Catchy hooks with nice comfortable melodies, their debut single “California” talks about the life and times of living in a corrupt country where your practically told how to think and how to live your life, even in the amazing state of California.

On Baghdad by the Bay, August 22 at 8pm; One Hundred Percent and Upstairs Downstairs

20 08 2013

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One Hundred Percent
Just being loud is only half the story of San Francisco’s One Hundred Percent. In one motion they can conjure up a soaring and hazy shoegaze melody that seamlessly morphs into a searing blitz attack of post-punk percussion, and finally crashes back down to earth with a devastating Sonic Youth-esque freakout. Since early 2012, the band has been not so quietly perfecting their evocative concoction in and around the city. Now, that noise pays off in the form of their debut LP “All Teeth and Nails”, set for release on San Francisco’s increasingly addictive 20 Sided Records. Due this fall, All Teeth And Nails is a different breed of beastly; cleaner production, heavier riffs, an overall step up in sound and a massively listenable collection of songs. A strictly DIY self-recorded and produced album that the three bandmates collaboratively saw from start to finish, it blends the band’s last two years with a host of fresh ideas mixed in. It’s loud, insanely fuzzed, and the perfect introduction to One Hundred Percent.

Upstairs Downstairs
Upstairs Downstairs started as friends and roommates who literally shared the “upstairs” and the “downstairs” portion of a San Francisco house and continued on refining and creating its own brand of dark melodic pop. Independent and self-directed, the band’s new self-titled album was recorded over the course of a few months (and bottles of Bulleit) at Faultline Studios by engineer/producer Kyle McGraw. It will put out by 20 Sided Records in San Francisco on October 1.

On Baghdad by the Bay, August 15th at 8pm; Interview with Midtown Social

15 08 2013

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Midtown Social
San Francisco band, Midtown Social, is hard at work crafting a record of their tightly-grooved, heartfelt, and original soul-stepping anthems.

On Baghdad by the Bay, August 1st at 8pm; Interview with Felsen, Ghost Parade, Guy Fox

31 07 2013

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Oakland-based indie rockers, Felsen, have recently completed their fourth album, ‘I Don’t Know How to Talk Anymore’, slated for national release on September 4, 2013. Songs were written collectively by the band—guitarist Dylan Brock, singer/guitarist Andrew Griffin, bassist Christian Hernandez, and drummer Art McConnell. Felsen took a strictly DIY approach with this new album, recording and mixing it themselves at Hernandez’s house in the East Bay.

{photo credit: Scott Simmons}

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Ghost Parade
Hailing from San Francisco, GHOST PARADE, is ready to take you on a musical journey that may change your life forever. The duo of Justin Bonifacio (Vocals/Guitars) and George Woods (Guitars/Vocals) are both captivating and haunting, as their special brand of rock n’ roll will catch your ears. Just releasing their debut EP in March, titled Foundation, the band is already to release more tracks, and videos into the world. Sharing their first single “Reach,” which had launched on The Vinyl District, GHOST PARADE is on their way to win you over. GHOST PARADE is a name to watch out for in 2013, so open your ears and get ready to listen.

Guy Fox
Guy Fox is an Oakland-based band that effuses dancy highlife vibes, carefree indie vocals and hints of old soul. Combine the energy of alternative rock with big band arrangements and funk breakbeats and you have the rare and impassioned music of Guy Fox. The band is made up of Northeastern transplants drawn to the Bay Area by the romance of San Francisco. They played together throughout college in Maine, jamming at house parties and cultivating the free flow groove that makes their complex arrangements feel effortless.

{photo credit: skeleton key photography}

On Baghdad by the Bay, July 25th at 8pm; Interview with Identity Crisis, The Orange Peels and Acacia

23 07 2013

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Identity Crisis
Identity Crisis is a group of guys that love music. Plain and simple. We love listening to music, we love dancing to music, we love playing music. Our passion for music is why we formed Identity Crisis. There are a few bands out there called Identity Crisis, but we’re the only cover party band found in Northern California who knows what rockin’ the party is all about.

The Orange Peels
When The Orange Peels embarked on recording sessions for their fifth album, Sun Moon (Minty Fresh/Mystery Lawn Music), the band really didn’t have a direction in mind. Afterall, they’d already conquered the indiepop, powerpop and West-Coast rock genres with their critically acclaimed back-catalog, and they didn’t want to fall into the old trap of trying to repeat past successes. What came next was exciting, unexpected and frustrating as the band navigated a new sound it was inventing with each new session. Gathering on Sunday afternoons without a clear idea of what would happen, the band came up with something new every time, and recorded the fresh tracks hours later.

Peels’ bassist and founding member Jill Pries was partly to blame for the shake-up in the band’s process. The band’s main songwriter, Allen Clapp, was busy producing albums for other likeminded bands (Jim Ruiz Set, The Corner Laughers, Alison Faith Levy) and running his new boutique record label, Mystery Lawn Music. Pries wanted to get the Orange Peels back on track, so she started organizing sessions even when Clapp didn’t have anything written for the band to record.

Acacia originated in Orange County, California in the winter of 2003. Founding members Craig MacArthur and Ryan McCaffrey began writing and playing music that focuses on ethereal vocal harmonies and soulful guitar interplay. Inspired by the artistic energy of the Bay Area, the duo relocated to San Francisco in 2004. Over the next several years The Collective grew, incorporating many talented Bay Area musicians. Most notably, they collaborated with bassist, songwriter, producer and Bay Area legend, Bobby Vega. With Vega and guitarist Chris Rossbach producing and Prairie Prince on drums, the Collective released their debut EP, “House of Cards” in the spring of 2009. With the momentum of this release and recent performances opening for Alberta Cross and The Mother Hips, as well as new additions Eric DiBerardino (bass) and Danny Eisenberg (keys), Acacia Collective is poised to deliver its passion for musical expression to the masses.

On Baghdad by the Bay, July 18th at 8pm PT; Interview with Wet Dreams Dry Magic, Cave Clove

17 07 2013

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Wet Dreams Dry Magic
In 2006 he conjured up a mix of mostly instrumental psychedelic pop musings entitled ‘Wet Dreams Dry Magic’, and in the spring of 2012 assembled a cast of accomplished players around that moniker – including Brett Eastman (ex-Girls) and Jerome Steegmans (ex-Sugar & Gold). As a band, Wet Dreams Dry Magic delivers the spectrum of Sweeney’s songs – which span from heart-on-sleeve folk to stream-of-subconscious confessionals to euphoric barn-burners drenched in soulful sweetness – into a magnet of ears who hear something familiar yet mysteriously new, as if plucked from an Earth-like planet just barely detectable on our Doppler.

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Cave Clove
Cave Clove is songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Katie Clover and her band. Inspired by American roots music, Cave Clove’s new EP, Bases of Pyramids, is an Alt-Americana album. Harmonium weaves a steady pulse, while the banjo, guitar, ukulele and lap steel evoke sounds of bluegrass, country, and folk. Clover’s lyrics, full of allegory akin to the bands namesake, are dark and introspective though always within reach of light and laughter. Soulful vocal harmonies and syncopated grooves hark of 50s doo-wop and R&B. Unhinged and whole-hearted, Cave Clove is a contemporary review of our rich musical history and a unique addition to the evolving genre of Americana.

On Baghdad by the Bay, July 11th at 8pm PDT; Interview with Split Screens and Glaciers

11 07 2013

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Split Screens
Split Screens is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Jesse Cafiero. Born out of the inspiring move from the east coast, Split Screens began as Jesse’s creative outlet on the side, slowly taking it’s shape while he was busy making his name in San Francisco as a bass player, sharing the stage at times with the likes of Thao Nguyen, John Vanderslice and Sean Hayes. Influenced by the subtle psychedelia of Pink Floyd and raw emotion of Sea Change-era Beck, Split Screens delves into the fever dream aesthetic, blending between moments of drone infused reflection and cacophonous intensity. Recently the band has finished their second west coast tour and are currently completing their debut LP, set to be released in early 2013.

GLACIERS is a four-piece, instrumental post-rock band from San Francisco and Oakland, California. Over the past five years, the band has worked hard to develop a strong following with their loud, climatic live performances and their first album. Three or the four members of GLACIERS previously played in very loud hardcore bands when they were younger. But with this Bay Area quartet, they have achieved a much more varied approach to music.

In the Fall of 2009, the band released their debut ‘And the Sea Won the Battle’ on their own label, Sound of Glaciers. The album includes six songs and clocks in at just over forty minutes. Recorded in Oakland, California with Jeremy Goody at Megasonic Sound, the album was self-produced and focuses on the best elements of their live show: loud guitars, reverb, space echo, tape loops, pounding drums, and throbbing bass. A lot of reviews of the record have compared the band to the likes of Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, but more of the band’s roots can be found in local Bay Area artists Neurosis. Much of the material was written on late cold nights while the fog was settling and this aesthetic strangely finds its way into their sound.

Shortly after the release of their first album, the band started working on writing songs for the next. And after three years of writing and recording, GLACIERS will be self-releasing their much anticipated follow up album ‘Mirrored Through the Ancients’ on July 30th, 2013. The album represents a heavier, more mature sound for the band as they continue to experiment and expand into new musical directions.

On Baghdad by the Bay, June 27th at 8pm PDT; Interview with Tall Sheep and Guest DJ Abatis

27 06 2013

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Tall Sheep
Tall Sheep is a noise pop band formed in 2011 by original members Laura Dean (vocals, guitar) and Jeremy Anderson (keys). Chris Palmer on bass and guitar joined soon after in 2012 followed by Richard Stuverud on drums in 2013, after Tall Sheep struggled to find the right drummer for almost a year. Tall Sheep’s first show in 2012 included only the founding duo, but little over a year later the group released a six song EP as a full band, with Brad Harbidge filling in on drums at the time.

Following the enthusiastic reception of their self titled debut EP, Abatis spent several months performing throughout the Bay Area with nationally touring bands such as Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Lionize, Pierced Arrows, Radio Moscow, and Nico Vega. Though the stage time was invigorating and invaluable, Abatis promptly decided to record their first full-length album, and made the bold choice to do so independently. The result: Electric Dead. The album moved away from the bluesy sound of their first EP into more raw, contemporary, fearless rock territory.

Audiences praised their dynamic energy and devotees demanded more. In early 2012 the band went back to the studio to begin work on their follow-up EP, Now You’re Paying for Sleep. Following its completion, Abatis returned to the stage circuit with dozens of shows in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as a Southwest US tour. They have just completed their second full length album Doors in the Desert which will be released on July 5th, 2013.

On Baghdad by the Bay, June 13 at 8pm PDT; Interview with M. Lockwood Porter and SunRunners, Guest DJ 8th Grader

13 06 2013



M. Lockwood Porter
Dark with a whimsical streak, M. Lockwood Porter muses of hope lost, found, and forgotten. Somewhere between Americana and indie rock, M. Lockwood Porter has a serious case of bittersweet melancholia reminiscent of Elliott Smith or a young Jeff Tweedy. That M. was raised on a farm in Oklahoma isn’t surprising, given the hint of twang in his voice. That he studied poetry in college isn’t, either, once you study his contemplative, eloquent lyrics.

8th Grader
With his luscious tenor and seductive lyrics, San Francisco singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist 8th Grader (AKA, Jayson Martinovich) injects a unique and fresh R&B sensibility to his singular brand of nu-soul. His decadent vocals caress Afro-Cuban polyrhythms, Rhodes piano, and elements of Chillwave. With nods to Prince, Frank Ocean, George Michael and Janet Jackson, 8th Grader fills a nameless void somewhere in between pop and R&B. Currently creating a stir amongst the music blogs, 8th Grader has been gaining acclaim from fans and critics alike with his signature R&B meets Nu-Soul flare.

The mixture of indie rock songwriting, dreamy lyrics, and heavy elements of rock and pop rhythms has long been a staple in the alt-rock world, and Sunrunners delivers on all counts. A California-based quintet led by singer and primary songwriter Stephen Loase (Low-C), Sunrunners have largely managed to avoid the usual rock clichés, injecting a uniquely rock-influenced sound and laid back San Francisco style.  Ramona Downey (owner/booker of Bottom of the Hill) has called Sunrunners
“One of the best new bands that have played Bottom of the Hill this year.  They opened for Deep Sea Diver + Wild Belle and everyone who saw their set seemed to agree that they are a force to be reckoned with.”

On Baghdad by the Bay, June 6th at 8pm PDT; Interview with Gamelan X, Guest DJ VELA Eyes

6 06 2013

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Gamelan X
Drawing its inspiration from the clove and incense scented air of Bali, Indonesia, Gamelan X, “The Bay Area’s own Funkadelic of ethnomusicology” (SF Guardian), explores the sonic landscape of contemporary beleganjur gamelan to offer a wildly unique expression of both East and West. From the resonating sound of the gongs to the explosive drum beats and interlocking cymbals, Gamelan X remixes the ritual of a Balinese procession with a decidedly west coast twist. The ebb and flow of the energy of a performance will transport you on a journey that will take you from dancing ecstatically, through moments of reflection and wonder.

With a patchwork of influences (Siouxie and the Banshees, Echo & the Bunnymen, Sonic Youth, Led Zeppelin, New Order, My Bloody Valentine) and by fusing elements (Post Punk, Shoegaze, Psych Rock) Vela Eyes produces an ethereal and aggressive soundscape. The band began as a side project between guitarist Ian Zazueta (Delle Vellum, Paradise Boys) and front woman Florie Maschmeyer. Bassist Nate Higley (The Snake the Cross the Crown) and Julia Johari (second keyboard player/guitarist/background vocalist) were quickly added to the fold. The four then wrote a batch of songs and by September 2012 had landed Jef Pauly (New Diplomat, Dan the Automator) on drums. Vela Eyes will be joined by local favorites French Cassettes, The Trims, DJ Omar (Popscene) and Jacob Fury (Leisure SF) to round out the evening.