On Baghdad by the Bay, Thursday, October 25th at 8pm; Guest DJ: Callow; Interviews with Yellow Red Sparks and Prize

24 10 2012

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Guest DJing
Red Moses and Sami Knowles met at a San Francisco house party in the fall of 2006, but it wasn’t until three years later, when they got an RV and hit the road, that their musical life became priority. The two, which make up the indie duo Callow, have been living in the bay and touring the West ever since. The simplicity and challenge of life in a tiny space has no doubt influenced their sound– a hauntingly minimal, meaty, introspective and transcendental kind of art rock, conceptualized on their debut album Orb Weaver (released May 3, NxNW Records). Red’s raw contralto is reminiscent of Vice Chestnut, while Sami creates a dark, primordial landscape with the simultaneous use of keyboard and percussion.

Yellow Red Sparks
Growing up in Yellow Pine, Idaho and eventually relocating to Southern California, songwriter Joshua Hanson began writing and performing under the solo acoustic moniker, Yellow Red Sparks. He quickly grew a passionate local following and self released an EP on iTunes entitled, “Simply Put ME In YOUR Place”. Since then he has added Goldy (drums and vocals) and Sara Lynn (upright bass, piano, vocals and banjo) as full time members and together, they take Hanson’s songs of heartache and make us want to fall in love.

The band has recently completed their first full-length record which was produced by Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, Flogging Molly), mixed by Grammy award winner, Ryan Hewitt (Avett Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, We Are Scientists), and mastered by multi-Grammy award winner, Brian Lucey (The Shins, Sigur Rós, The Black Keys). On record, the trio successfully weaves the bare roots of songwriting, the rich harmonies of choir and the symphonic arrangements of old film to create a cinematic texture of their own.

Sophia Santulli is singer/songwriter/producer at the helm of Prize. This explosive siren ignited as she ran from the hills of her operatic training into the clubs of San Francisco. Prize is full-bore drama embedded in gems of electro-pop. With a Masters in Vocal Performance from San Francisco Conservatory and the release of The Split EP under her belt, as well as stints as a backup singer for The Dodos, John Vanderslice, and Third Eye Blind and classical appearances locally and abroad, she finally found time to self-produce her album Surprize Box! due out November 1st. “Prize’s emotional urgency makes for a thrilling live show” (MVRemix), theatrical and unpredictable, with a “dash of Victorian cabaret” (Emily Savage, SFBG).

On Baghdad by the Bay, Thursday, October 18 at 8pm; Interview with Spider Heart, Terese Taylor, Wymond Miles

17 10 2012

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Spider Heart
Spider Heart is a four piece garage rock band hailing from Oakland, CA. With a sound and feel of a runaway freight train with squeaky brakes slamming head on into a glitter factory Spider Heart delivers its blues driven rock n roll through reverb soaked guitar riffs, pounding rhythm section and dark, devious lyrics wrapped up in sweet yet sinister melodies. The band has sourced The Stooges, The Kills, Nick Cave, The White Stripes, Patti Smith, The Cramps and Tom Waits as some of their major influences.

Formed in late 2011 based on a mutual love of vintage sounds, dive bars, juke boxes and questionable evenings followed by puzzling mornings, Spider Heart has spent the last year honing in on their grinding sound and electrifying, smokey live shows. They released their DIY LP entitled Voodoo in October 2012 and are currently in the studio working on their first EP entitled Under the Gun due for release in January, 2013.

Terese Taylor
The stripped down, acoustic production of Terese Taylor’s “Ghost” seems neither ironic nor fortuitous by intent, but straightforward and real as the singer songwriter herself. She is fearless, tackling a subject as raw as the fugue state… something familiar in rare moments, yet certainly brushed away when defense mechanisms kick in: One does not wish to remain invisible. Taylor’s lyrics manage to be curative in their very utterance: “I’ve been a ghost for days/ I drift from home to home/ I never will be seen/ As I vanish through your walls.” Yet, in the end, the ghost transcends that invisible situation: “Watch as I pass out of sight.” The song is punctuated by Taylor’s haunting guitar solos, sympathetic snares, and the whistling effects of a child’s whirly-tube toy. The result is less dramatic, however, than it is an ethereal sound of dignity. Fittingly, the song was aired on NPR’s “This American Life,” a righteous choice by host Ira Glass.

credit – James Cromwell Holden

Wymond Miles
Wymond’s previous EP, Earth Has Doors was about intangible and esoteric concepts; the music drifted beautifully in somewhat of an oceanic, boundless state. For the LP it was very important for him to make the songs be felt somatically. In his own words, “I wanted it to hit the body, I wanted it carnal.” Whereas the EP had been a drawn out labor of love he worked on and then shelved for several years, most songs on Under the Pale Moon developed quickly last winter. He describes them as being effortless to write, short songs with stripped down arrangements; recorded straight away as soon as they came to him. Feeling very raw and alive, he wrote the basic structure for most of the record within a few weeks.

On Baghdad by the Bay, October 11th at 8pm; Interview with City of Women and Dreamdate

9 10 2012

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City of Women
Circa 2007…Nero and Alwyn, whose respective bands barbarasteele and Boshuda shared many a bill in San Francisco venues, were band-less, and talked about finally putting something together…but just “for fun”, as the sting from the demises of their previous bands was still fresh. Around the same time, Charlie, after doing a year at the Los Angeles Music Academy and giving a good run with the local music scene, ran from Los Angeles and ended up in San Francisco. He met Nero while working at Amoeba Music, and in time joined Alwyn and Nero in a band “just for fun”.

Toying with punk, soul, art rock, and tripped out jam sessions, and gigging here and there- After a few back-up singers and bassists later, they exorcised the ghosts of their past musical lives and moved forward into the sound they have today: old-fashioned futuristic rock-n-roll, inspired by their love for the grandiose bombast and shimmery swing of our rock and alternative forefathers and mothers, the style and swagger of Hollywood’s ages past, Barbary Coast folklore, and love…lust…longing. They are the band (and state of mind) that is “City Of Women”

Dreamdate get right to their business of brightening our day with their short, snappy tunes. The overall sound of Dreamdate can readily be spoken of in the same breath as early ’90s crushworthy indie pop a la Lois, cub and Tiger Trap. As the unaffected and uneffected electric guitars strum away happily and the drums keep things simple with an uncluttered beat, you might find yourself hummin’ along with these gals’ warm, smooth female vocals. —Nice. Aquarius Records April 2007.

Although their tunes are reminiscent of, say, the riot grrl and Seattle/Portland-based garage movements, they still could only exist in present times. Their songs are, for the most part, up-tempo odes to not-so-simple pleasures and guilt and sometimes feel emotionally ambivalent…This is truly the kind of music you’d want on a Walkman when traversing long distances in the suburbs. —California Aggie August 2006.