On Baghdad by the Bay, March 1st: Interview with Stages of Sleep, Hungry Hungry Ghost, Tomihira

29 02 2012

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Stages of Sleep
The Stages of Sleep is best described as experimental/alternative gypsy rock. Heavily influenced by such bands as Radiohead, The Gipsy Kings, Emily Wells, 2 foot yard to name a few, the end result of their eclectic sound could be characterized as “world music.” The band members, however, prefer to say that their music encompasses and defines a “cross-genre” style of music. It must be experienced live to be fully appreciated. The music is smart and witty with elements of flamenco, rock, jazz, classical acoustic and electric guitars, bass, violin, drums, percussion, sax and much more. Don’t miss your opportunity to see them live. The Stages of Sleep just recorded another EP at Tiny Telephone Recording studios which will be released April 2012.

Hungry, Hungry Ghost
Hungry, Hungry Ghost is the brain kin of native Floridian Alex Haager. It began while living in Berlin, Germany and eventually made its way to San Francisco by way of Brooklyn, New York, completing its glorious West Coast format with the help of fellow wanderers Logan Barrier, Heather Logsdon, Wagemann Pappe and Katie Schlesinger.

One full length album and one EP of their satirically-coined post-indie transcendentalist punk songs were released in 2009 on Brooklyn record label Infinite Best Recordings (home to New York darlings Twin Sister and Ava Luna), followed in 2010 and 2011 by a smattering of self-released digital offerings. A second full-length is currently in the works, albeit rather slowly.

Tomihira started playing live in and around the San Francisco bay area in early ’05. Playing for the remainder of the year culminated in the release of the debut full-length, Play Dead which was quick to receive praise from local press as well as catching the eye of some hefty blogspots nationally. Play Dead is the first full-length release from Tomihira, an indie space-pop band based in San Francisco. The band is named after Dean’s grandfather, who died at the age of 22 fighting on the side of the Japanese in WWII.

On Baghdad by the Bay, February 23: Interview with Vir, Geographer and Carlos Forster

23 02 2012

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Vir are a post punk, noise pop trio based in the SF Bay Area, comprised of Sam Sloane (Vox, Guitar) Natasha Arens (Bass) and Jeff Paul (Drums). Vir experiment with elements of post punk, psychedelic noise and shoegaze to conjure up a glacial, dark and dynamic sound. Based in Oakland, CA but with roots in Christchurch New Zealand, Vir has a binding affinity with many Kiwi post-punk trios such as the Gordons, Bailter Space and HDU. Vir released their 1st full Length “Shadow of a Mountain” in 2008. 2nd lp “Gillespie” appeared on Vibraphone records in July 2010 along with several elaborate DIY music videos. The band has just finished their 3rd lp “Engineers” with a tentative release date in May 2012. While keeping busy with local and out of town shows, Vir we’re Invited to play Noise Pop 20, opening for Bob Mould.

Their debut LP Innocent Ghosts captures these feelings of loss and loneliness, but also manages to bring out a sense of hope and exuberance. The marriage of Deni’s lush falsetto, Blaz’s romantically textured cello and Ostreicher’s pulsing rhythms exude a maturity of craft and cohesion often found in bands that have been playing together far longer. The self-released record immediately caught the attention of local and national critics, prompting SPIN Magazine to dub the trio “One of the Three Bands You Should Hear Now.”

In 2010, the band released the Animal Shapes EP along with a 7” single for the song Kites. The EP merges Geographer’s aptitude for crafting beautiful, haunting melodies with a knack for ethereal, layered sounds, marking an evolution of their distinct style. The EP garnered considerable praise, landing on several ‘Best Of’ lists including the SF Weekly’s ‘Best Local Version of Radiohead’ nod.

Amidst the flurry of live performances, the band took a break only to hit the studio to record the collection of songs that were to embody their next full-length album: Myth. The album proves that the band is taking their sonic exploration to new levels. Utilizing each member’s multi-instrumental backgrounds, the record finds Geographer creating distinctive sounds through varied instrumentation. Dynamic head-bobbers such as ‘The Myth of Youth’ and ‘Lover’s Game’ highlight the band’s ability to weave driving rock anthems with romantic nostalgia. “I wonder if I’m here for nothing. I wonder if I’m here at all. I wonder if I’ll ever love you for who you are,” Deni laments on Lover’s Game. Songs like ‘Kaleidoscope’ and ‘The Boulder’ showcase a darker, sexier approach to groove that brings a more intimate element to the record.

With Myth, Geographer continues to navigate new territory, leaving us in anticipation of what will be revealed next. With such a bold album and an electric live show that breathes even more intensity into the songs, the journey seems to have only just begun.

Carlos Forster
It started out as a way of simply getting together. Old college friends, Carlos Forster and Matt Ward began looking for opportunities to connect on weekends. Scattered over several years going all the way back to 2003, Forster spent a number of weekends in the Pacific Northwest with Ward, hiking and swimming in destinations like The Columbia Gorge and Sandy River, between leisurely recording Forster’s songs.

No stranger to recording, Forster contributed backing vocals to Ward’s debut album Duet for Guitars #2, released in 1998. More notably, he helmed the San Francisco band for Stars from the late nineties to 2002, producing three acclaimed albums for the independent label Future Farmer (also home to early M. Ward recordings). In the wake of the band’s dissolution Forster went on to study and then practice psychoanalytic theory and psychotherapy. He now works in private practice and community metal health in San Francisco.

On Baghdad by the Bay, February 16th: Interview with Donovan Quin

16 02 2012

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Donovan Quinn
donovanquinn.bandcamp.com | Northern Spy Records
Donovan Quinn has been surrounded by music all of his life. Quinn is the son of Dave Carter, bassist and vocalist for legendary 60’s psychedelic group Country Weather, and has been writing songs from an early age. In 2001 Quinn entered CDR cult consciousness as ½ of the San Franciscan duo The Skygreen Leopards. Since then he’s released several records with the SGL’s and a few home recorded affairs from his youth (under the Verdure banner), but had refrained from issuing any of his stockpile of solo material. The self-imposed silence finally ended in late ‘07 when Soft Abuse, via sub-label Puissant, excavated October Lanterns, a mini album of dark, woodsy, melancholia recorded and shelved five years prior (for reasons long since forgotten).

On Baghdad by the Bay, Feb 9th at 8pm; Live Performance by Bhi Bhiman, Interviews with Loquat and Your Cannons

8 02 2012


Bhi Bhiman
Bhi Bhiman is an American original, and yet he seems transported from an era when songs were more important than the pretty faces that delivered them. His rich, bellowing tenor can soothe or explode at a moment’s notice. His lived-in, knowing delivery belies his years. His songwriting, too, is quick to captivate. Bhi’s mix of humor and deep empathy puts him in the company of distinguished (and much older) lifelong songsmiths like John Prine, Nick Lowe and Randy Newman. And Bhiman’s technical, emotive guitar playing rises to the challenge that his striking voice presents.

Chronicles of train terrorism, space expeditions, criminal infamy, and monsters under the bed are just a few of the themes you’ll hear on Loquat’s third full-length album, We Could Be Arsonists (Nacional Records, April 24, 2012). Through dangerously evocative lyrics and ultra-melodic songs, the San Francisco/Bay Area’s Loquat has captivated fans from as far as Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, and Kraków, and has infiltrated electromagnetic waves through shows such as MTV’s “Teen Mom,” “P. Diddy’s Making His Band,” and CW’s “One Tree Hill.” The band has played SXSW, CMJ, Noise Pop, and Treasure Island Music Festival, and has shared the stage with the likes of Goldfrapp, Miike Snow, TV on the Radio, The Cardigans, and Liz Phair.

Your Cannons
Your Cannons are a rock band from San Francisco. Most of them met in the kitchen at an ugly sweater party, when they got into an eggnog infused conversation about the reformation of The Verve. It was a love in from then on.  In 2008 they released their debut recording, The Dustbowl EP, followed in 2010 by their second EP simply titled, EP2. With members from England, Sweden, Colorado and the Bay Area, they pool their diverse influences to build songs around a dynamic three guitar attack, tight rhythm and layered melody. It’s been said that they have, “an otherworldly sound, like, a slow-motion mosh in a room filled with red strobe lights.” They’re recoding their first album at Studio SQ in the Outer Mission, and plan to release it in early summer 2012.

On Baghdad by the Bay, February 2nd: Interview with Foxtails Brigade, Super Adventure Club, Excuses for Skipping

2 02 2012

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Foxtails Brigade
Laura started Foxtails Brigade in 2006 with her friend, violinist Sivan Sadeh. She moved to San Francisco a year later, playing every club and street corner and she could find. It wasn’t long before the city started to notice. She quit her day job as a substitute teacher in 2009 and has been a full-time performer ever since, sharing stages with Jane Birkin,  Laura Veirs,  Zee Avi, Stornoway, Faun Fables, and Chris Garneau amongst others. She has collaborated with a number of talented musicians in Foxtails Brigade, including cellists Jen Grady (Emily Jane WhiteAdam Stevens), Lewis Patzner (Mates of State, Tim Kasher), Joe Lewis (Os Beaches, F-Pod B-Pod), and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Pollock (CitayBob Saggeth). Her most recent musical partner is violinist and arranger Anton Patzner of Bright Eyes and Judgement Day.

Super Adventure Club
San Francisco experimental pop duo Super Adventure Club was convened in 2007 by producer Michael Winger (Kronos Quartet, The Shins) and session drummer Jake Wood (Diego’s Umbrella, Nya Jade) to explore pop music beyond the boundaries of genre. On their debut 2009 LP Ontz for Freshmaker Records, Wood plays drums, keyboards and sings simultaneously, while Winger plays keyboards, bass guitar and handles lead vocals. Singing in four languages, the duo shifts from Talking Heads-like indie rock to electronic
dance music and beyond. Along with tours of the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest, Super Adventure Club also tours Spain, while writing and recording a second album.

Excuses for Skipping
Excuses for Skipping is a post-punk quintet from San Francisco, California. Linda Moody’s soaring vocals play out against her own distinct style of sheet metal and bike frame percussion and rhythm guitar riffs. Tammy Fortin’s lead guitar stabs and Wendy Brents’ heavy bass melodies combine to create a compelling texture that commands the room within the first note.