Deejay OM – “Blood From My Soul” Parts 1 & 2

 Here’s a special V Day gift for all of you.

I was cleaning out my hard drive over the week, and I found these dynamite rare soul mixes that San Francisco-based Deejay OM made a while back for the always excellent San Francisco Disco/Boogie/Funk blog The Beat Electric. Both of them were done the old-fashioned way: a box of 45s and two turntables. Neither have track lists, but trust, these are definitely the goods.

Enjoy!  (right click & “save as” to download)

Blood From My Soul: Music for Heartbreak

Blood From My Soul Part 2: Time Heals All Wound

November Shoegazing

There’s something about this time of year just really brings out the troubled indie kid in me— the crisp air, the alarmingly short amount of daylight (it’s already dark when I get off from work), the imminent encounter with family looming large—all of it ads up to me feeling like one mopey teenage lad.

It’s probably unsurprising that given this I tend to gravitate musically toward a particular shall we say, flavor—usually something atmospheric and vaguely sorrowful, with soft jangly melodies and melancholic lyrics. So shoegaze (the derisive name for a genre of bands so adverse to performing that members would rather look at their shoes than at the crowd) is one of the ideal genres to slake my anhedonic proclivities.

Now I’m not at all an authority on this style, so it’s fortunate that I discovered these two new bands (well new to me, both have actually been around for awhile), and that they’ve both put out solid records in 2014. Neither is exactly pushing new territory, but both Nothing and Whirr execute the formula—twee whispered vocals and multifaceted guitar layering, with a heavy helping of distortion-driven feedback—pretty expertly.

NOTHING   

This Pennsylvania-based  quartet was founded by Dominic Palermo, a veteran of the Philadelphia punk and hardcore scenes, who apparently became fed up with the violence surrounding the music. He formed the band back in 2011 and after a few EPs, they signed to Relapse Records, releasing the single “Dig” which also happens to be on this year’s LP Guilty of Everything.

Stream and download the rest of the album over at the band’s Bandcamp Page 

WHIRR

Hailing from San Francisco, Whirr began its life in 2010 as Whirl, but was forced to change names after a copyright dispute with another artist. Guitarist and founding member Nick Bassett has also played with the much-vaunted San Francisco shoegaze/metal hybrid Deafheaven. They released their latest album Sway back in September via Savanna, Georgia-based imprint Graveface Records.

Grab a physical copy or the digital download over at Bandcamp.

. . .

Oh, and interestingly enough as it turns there’s a side project featuring members from both of these bands called Death of Lovers, who self-released an eponymous EP that sounds kind of like Joy Division making a shoegaze record— surprisingly good stuff really, although it’s not particularly cheerful in case wasn’t abundantly clear already.

http://deathoflovers.bandcamp.com/releases

Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

L.A. based ’60s era rock revivalists Foxygen released their latest effort We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic January 22nd via Jagjaguwar. The duo bends their brand of vibed out, guitar driven pop around a form of psychedelic nostalgia that feels borrowed if not rooted in another time while somehow remaining current.

Sample a couple standouts and videos below and then do yourself a favor and buy the album here.

Foxygen – San Francisco 

Foxygen – Shuggie

R.I.P. Jesse Morris, the Johnny Cash of punk rock

So we normally don’t do this kind of thing, but I feel this is necessary, because I knew this guy and he was great, and this is really sad.

Affectionately known around these parts as  punk rock Johnny Cash because of his attire and his voice which  bore an  an uncanny resemblance to the man in black, beloved street performer Jesse Morris hanged himself this weekend on his 27th birthday.

Since his untimely passing,  there’s near unanimity that he was the best street musician in the city. Even the Examiner jumped on the train.

I’m not going to pretend that I was super close to him, but I did speak with him a few days before he died.  Morris was battling some pretty severe demons, and I hope he’s found some peace now.

R.I.P.

Punk Rock Johnny Cash

“Sunday Morning Coming Down” cover at 24 Street Bart Station

Jesse liked to do punk covers of country songs, and country covers of punk songs. Here’s him covering Black Flags’ “Six Pack”

Here’s a documentary I found about street performers, that’s basically all Jesse

For anyone who might be interested, there’s a benefit for his memorial going on tonight at The Uptown in Oakland.

“Cracker Blues”

 

Edit: Should have posted this.  It’s a portion of an unfinished country album, now available for purchase. (Proceeds go to his fiance)

Tamaryn

So I went to the Outside Lands festival this past weekend, and the experience was pretty rad —  I went as press, so I got to attend the whole three day event for nothing!  Not everything was to my liking, some of the bands seemed in poor taste (Phish for instance) but the third day was fucking unreal. In one day I saw Charles Bradley, Tune-yards, Latyrx, Ty Segall,  Wye Oak, Little Dragon, The Decemberists, Beirut and the Arcade Fire (by the way kudos to whoever decided to have Beirut perform just as the sun set followed by 90 minutes of  Arcade Fire).

Over the course of the weekend, I couldn’t help but notice was how well Bay Area artists held up against all the visiting acts. One of the very best things I saw for instance was this band Tamaryn, who I absolutely love.

Their hauntingly beautiful guitar-heavy mix of murky atmosphere and ethereal melody, anchored by vocalist Tamaryn’s hypnotic Mazzy Star-esque croon, transferred unbelievably well in the cold and foggy “summer” weather.

The weather heightened every aspect of the band’s sound – the inherent enveloping quality of the music became a blurry sea of noise in which wave after wave of guitar washed over the audience,  and Tamaryn’s other-worldly vocals spread out across the ambiance like fog across the city.

When producer/guitarist Rex John Shelverton expertly bent his chords, as he frequently did, it had a profoundly hallucinatory effect, like he was bending reality.

Tamaryn’s debut The Waves, was easily one of last year’s best records.  A shimmering masterpiece of pristine melody and gauzy layers of noise stretched over humming bedrock of guitar fuzz, which to my ears embodies word shoegaze. It’s total headphone music that you can just lose yourself in.   But don’t take my word for it:

Ty Segall – “Goodbye Bread”

In keeping with my prior resolution, I’ll acknowledge that I’m a big fan of this guy.  He has a salt-of-the earth approach to songwriting that is totally refreshing: no gimmicks just noisy rock ‘n’ roll and sweet, sweet hooks.  It’s raucous “turn the amp up to 11” garage music that makes no apologies for its lack of refinement.  You’d be hard pressed to find a better example of what’s in vogue at the moment in San Francisco, at least as far as rock music goes.

That being said, Segall’s latest offering, Goodbye Bread, released in June on Drag City, is a slight departure from the sound he’s come to be associated with. “Departure” is probably the wrong word, it’s more of a modification, a broadening of his raison d’etre as it were.

It’s still plenty raw and in your face, it’s just that there are some quieter moments on this record as well. The added dynamics actually work out really nicely for Segall.  The louder moments are rendered all the more ear-splitting when there’s some time inbetween to recover from them.

This alteration also serves to better highlight the various musical persuasions of this 23-year-old Southern California transplant.  The blues influence is immediately recognizable, even if it’s often buried under a heap of distortion.  The imprint of Northwest ‘90s rock is also pretty clear, especially in the vocals – not just the tone and delivery, but in the lyrical content as well.  There’s also a pretty healthy dose of twangy West Coast surf-music, and a general ‘60s-ish garage pop thing going on.

Though the album isn’t as earth-shakingly loud as last year’s Melted, there remains little in the way of nuance. But when you do something well, why change the recipe.

Here’s some video of Segall performing the title track (one of the records quieter moments) for the record release party at The Independent.

And here’s a podcast put together by the good folks at The Bay Bridgedwhich is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs.

Fifteen great songs by Ty Segall Podcast 

Tracklist is as follows:
1. “You Make The Sun Fry” (from Goodbye Bread)
2. “Girlfriend” (from Melted)
3. “Skin” (from Live in Aisle Five)
4. “It #1″ (from Lemons)
5. “The Drag” (from Ty Segall)
6. “Hey Big Mouth” (from In A Cloud – New Sounds from San Francisco)
7. “Can’t Talk” (from Lemons)
8. “Imaginary Person” (from Melted)
9. “SWAG” (from Ty Segall/Black Time Split)
10. “I Wear Black” (from Reverse Shark Attack with Mikal Cronin)
11. “I Don’t Know My Name” (from Horn the Unicorn)
12. “Caesar” (from Melted)
13. “The Slider” (from Ty Rex)
14. “California Commercial” (from Live in Aisle Five)
15. “Pretty Baby (You’re So Ugly)” (from Ty Segall)

Phono del Sol and my appalling lack of gratitude for local flavor

So I went to this thing last weekend, because it looked like a real nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon – great food courtesy of Off The Grid food trucks, and complimentary sounds courtesy of some Bay Area musicians like Aesop Rock and Mirah.  Now the thing is, I wasn’t familiar with all the acts on the bill, but the lineup was curated by The Bay Bridged and Tiny Telephone Studios, so I felt pretty confident it’d be a quality affair.

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Blackbird Blackbird – “Little Respect Mixtape”

I found out about this guy the organic way (IRL not from the Internetz) sometime last year. He played an excellent show at a small venue for like a couple of $$.

Only later was it discovered that he was being lumped in with the burgeoning, yet unfortunately named “chill wave” scene.

This mixtape – anchored by an Aretha Franklin-sampling title track – came out awhile back, but it’s ideal summertime listening, so I thought I’d post it up.

DOWNLOAD

If you likey the sound, look out for his latest album, which he’s sellin’ on a “name your own price”  basis over at Bandcamp.