Sunday, July 29, 2012

charo for san francisco bay guardian

Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza. Charo. Cha-rrr-o (roll those Rs). The name brings to mind glittering sequined bodysuits, impossibly high hair, flashes of iconic moments sitting across from Johnny Carson or arms hooked with Dean Martin in the 1970s, and the perplexing catchphrase that made it into our shared lexicon: cuchi-cuchi.

Passionate, skilled flamenco guitar is the other thing that should be there in your conscious when you dream of Charo. The comedian-actress-drag icon has been playing guitar since before she hit puberty, back in '50s Murcia, Spain [...]

jewish music documentaries for san francisco bay guardian

SF Jewish Film Festival music docs examine violin wunderkinds, Orthodox hip-hop artists, and Ben Lee

"All greatness comes from pain." The simple statement comes from Raoul Felder, brother of legendary R&B songwriter Doc Pomus, in the beautiful, crushing mediation on his brother's life, A.K.A. Doc Pomus, the closing-night film of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
Doc wrote some of the greatest music of a generation: R&B and early rock'n'roll standards such as "This Magic Moment," "A Teenager in Love," "Save the Last Dance For Me," and "Viva Las Vegas" — songs made famous by the likes of Dion, the Drifters, and Elvis Presley. Jewish, debilitated by polio, and vastly overweight, Doc defied expectations while struggling with a lifetime of outsider status and physical pain [...]

grass widow for san francisco bay guardian

Grass Widow looked to the cosmos — and inward to San Francisco — for inspiration on its new record Internal Logic

Grass Widow nicknamed the city it calls home "Planet San Francisco." As in, the city is removed from elsewhere, it has its own humming, insular ecosystem. An inhabitable planet all its own that happens to be attached to the rest of the state and country.

The post-punk trio — bassist Hannah Lew, guitarist Raven Mahon, and drummer Lillian Maring — with lush harmonies and no frontperson used both this foggy city of ours and the unknown planets in the sky above as fodder for the electrifying new full-length, Internal Logic [...]

churches for san francisco bay guardian

Caleb Nichols is impatient. Long part of the Bay Area music scene in bands such as Port O'Brien and his own Grand Lake, he's perhaps forgotten that his new project with Rogue Wave drummer Pat Spurgeon and bassist Dominic East, Churches, is still in its infancy.

That restless feeling might come from the initial burst of interest in the act when its first song, chilling power-pop anthem “Save Me,” went up on Bandcamp. Recorded with close Nichols pal Van Pierszalowski of Port O'Brien and Waters at Tiny Telephone, the song was just the seedling of a new project Nichols came up with while on tour with Waters. [...]

mornin' old sport for san francisco bay guardian

Americana act Mornin' Old Sport moves out West to release its debut LP

In Jimmie Rodgers' 1930s-era song "The One Rose," the country music pioneer wistfully croons "So blue, so lonesome too, but still true/Rosie haunts me, makes me think of you/You're the one rose that's left in my heart."

Midway through Mornin' Old Sport's surreptitiously upbeat, plucky country-folk ditty "Katie" — off the contemporary band's debut self-titled full-length, released July 10 on Misery Loves Co. — singer-guitarist Scott Nanos harmonizes with fiance-bandmate Kate Smeal about their complex love story. "The shadows are calling my number/I know I'm just waiting in line/but I'll sing my vows as I'm pulled underground/I'm Katie's and Katie is mine" [...]

advance base for san francisco bay guardian

Owen Ashworth has this way of making you feel like you've long known him personally. The singer-songwriter-keys aficionado seems an open book, his gold-tipped pages filled with relatable angst, longform stories, and witty musings. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – the project he started in his 20s in the Bay Area and retired some 13 years later in Chicago, 2010 – was something you wanted to curl up with and have a good melancholy moment, a tête-à-tête with the sound in the machine [...]

jd mcpherson for san francisco bay guardian

JD McPherson ushers in a welcome return to rock'n'roll roots

A few musicians with slick hair and black-frame glasses are seen setting up their equipment in Chicago's Hi-Style Studio: amps, a mustard Telecaster, glittering gold drums, a huge stand-up bass, and vintage condenser microphones. What year is this?

The drum hits crack and the bass strings ripple with heavy plucks. The finger-snapping beat is unavoidable, almost cloying in its blitheness. Potent vocals reminiscent of Little Richard suddenly overpower it all. It's Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's JD McPherson — singing so hard a craggy vein in his otherwise smooth forehead bulges — in the video for the single that has brought him this far: "North Side Gal" [...]

post-everything cover story for san francisco bay guardian

Using darkwave, gangster-punk, and '90s house throwbacks, experimental party curators dig deep in the grooves

Long black hair and ripped jean vests in the crowd, billowy hooded capes on the stage, DJs in jersey tanks and caps, and sea of flickering blue lit cell phones; there's something spooky happening out there in Club Land, San Francisco. It's almost as though the dark arts kids have discovered dance music.

Roll your eyes. Of course, that's reductive. Goths and punks have long been venturing into dance clubs. Acts like Gang of Four, Liquid Liquid, and Siouxsie and the Banshees harnessed the power of beats, shooting rhythm directly into the noise decades ago. And then there was the dance-punk revival of the early 2000s, with LCD Soundsystem and its emblematic label DFA out front, and Black Eyes and Liars leading the weirder charge [...]

undercover sabbath for san francisco bay guardian

Fifty local musicians expand the tracks off 'Paranoid' in a one-off performance

MUSIC It's pouring outside and the roads are slick with rain. In a warm red room bordered by the soundproof walls of Faultline Studios, a musician stands at a microphone, arching his back and throat singing for a background track to be incorporated in an exhaustive 16-minute cover of "Electric Funeral" off Black Sabbath's magnum opus, Paranoid (1970). [...]

waters for san francisco bay guardian

San Francisco's Van Pierszalowski picks up where Port O'Brien left off

MUSIC Van Pierszalowski's story writes itself: musician finds love in picturesque European city, swims in fjords, writes a fuzzy grunge-inflected record about it and his travels, and calls the band WATERS (appearing Thu/10 at the Fillmore). "I met a girl," he says from the road. "And I just wanted to get back over there. It was a place to work on songs, refocus."

Even his story before the present wrote itself: young man travels to Alaska to fish with his father and creates chilly, acoustic folk soundscapes, names the band Port O'Brien after an Alaskan Bay. [...]

off for san francisco bay guardian

Punk supergroup OFF! sets off musicians from Circle Jerks, Burning Brides, Hot Snakes, and more

MUSIC Burning Brides guitarist Dimitri Coats was in Keith Morris' tip-of-Los Feliz living room one afternoon when he turned to Morris — Black Flag co-founder and longtime Circle Jerks vocalist — and asked: "Keith, if you were going to start a new band, who would you play with?"

It was a pretty short list. Bassist? Keith wanted Steven McDonald of Redd Kross. And for drums he listed former pro skater Mario Rubalcaba of Hot Snakes, Earthless, and Rocket From The Crypt fame. All the men were game, and, thus, a supergroup was born. Since its late 2009 formation the band, OFF!, has slowly spawned a reputation for an aggressive punk return to form and wildly entertaining, chaotic live shows [...]

sam mcpheeters for san francisco bay guardian

Sam McPheeters has a way with words, and that has translated from lyrics to journalism to his first official solo novel, The Loom of Ruin (Mugger Books, 2012).

The former frontperson to a trilogy of exciting punk and experimental acts (Born Against, Men's Recovery Project, Wrangler Brutes) has long written columns for the likes of VICE Magazine and more, along with his own fanzines. But his first published output came at age 12, Travelers' Tales – a patched-together local legends book assembled with a neighborhood teen [...]

vegan and gluten-free indulgences for san francisco bay guardian

FEAST: Superlative eats for limited diet, charcuterie to quesadillas

True, at first glance a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle sounds like a joke from Portlandia's Allergy Pride Parade. Wave those flags high, besmirched friends. But here's a non-snarky thought: for some people, it's just life. They have actual allergies to gluten and/or dairy.

Or, there are those who simply eat delectable vegan meals for personal reasons and have best friends, family, or partners with high risks of Celiac disease. Either way, any way, whatever way, with all the delicious, forward-thinking offerings in the Bay Area, it ain't so bad. In fact, it's really, really good. Don't hate, just taste. [...]