This week on Baghdad by the Bay on Pirate Cat Radio, tune in to 87.9 in SF or LA or listen online starting at 8pm:
Phil and the Osophers
Phil and the Osophers are from Brooklyn by way of San Francisco. We started out as just one person, but now we are a fancy 3 piece suit. Phil plays the guitar and then he taught his bud from high school Kevin how to play the drums. Things started getting a lot of fun and our other high school buddy Gus didn’t want to miss out so Phil taught him how to play the bass. This equates to a unique and sometimes irreverent artsy indie-pop sound that has been described as “foreign americana”. The band has, in different forms, released 5 full length albums and played shows with ace bands such as Les Savy Fav, the Dodos, and King Khan and BBQ show.
Monsters of Shamisen
“Monsters of Shamisen” was formed in the spring of 2006 when California-based Tsugaru shamisen performers Kevin Kmetz and Mike Penny, both shamisen players for the cross pollinated gypsy group Fishtank Ensemble, joined forces with Japan-based shamisen virtuoso and 2x tournament champion Masahiro Nitta. Monsters of Shamisen offers audiences the most exciting and innovative examples of modern Tsugaru shamisen in the world! Pooling their respective musical backgrounds, the Monsters draw inspiration from a wide variety of musical styles including baroque/classical, Balkan gypsy, American bluegrass, Irish folk music, and even modern rock/pop. To see this ensemble live is to experience one of the most unforgettable fusions of not only east and west but of past and future, good and evil!
Loosely speaking, French Miami is a rock band. Using rock music as a starting point, French Miami use its structures as the glue holding together more abstract musical ideas: dizzying, jagged guitar riffs anchored around pulsing synths, harmo- nized finger-tapping accenting tightly wound grooves, precise stop-start timing. And although part of a lineage of a number of great bands from the Touch and Go/Southern golden era, Jason Heiselmann’s melodic, memorable vocals weave the bands more technical ideas into a unique realm which may too gritty for pop, yet too hooky not to be.