Sam Beam, like Alexander, can survey his kingdom and weep for lack of further worlds to conquer. At this point in his career, under the sobriquet of Iron and Wine, the folk singer has mastered every art form he’s attempted. He’s directed short films and videos, written screenplays, painted or designed almost every album cover in his catalog, and – while he was first setting his Rimbaud-evocative poetry to music over a decade ago – taught film and cinematography classes at a Florida university. He plans to helm a feature-length movie in the near future. Read More
Unlike their predecessors Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash, the Avett Brothers of North Carolina don’t write songs about characters in faraway places. Seth and Scott Avett stick to songs about themselves.
There’s little third-person storytelling, and everything is true. Read More
“This album should be played loud,” read the line notes of “Small Fires,” the new third outing from Bay Area blues-rockers The Stone Foxes. And rightly so. The disc – anchored in the gravelly vocals of frontman Spence Koehler and fiery harmonica of his drumming brother Shannon Koehler) crackles with Willie Dixon fervor, from the sinewy “Everybody Knows” to a stomping “Ulysses Jones,” a gravelly “Cotto,” and the forlorn “Goodnight Moon,” sung from the perspective of a homeless man. Read More
Electronic music is having the Year of the Monkey.
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based downtempo producer Bonobo brings his spectacular 15-piece live band and light show — as well as iconic singer Erykah Badu — to the sold-out Warfield on Friday.
The band and Badu perform a reconstructed version of Bonobo’s (aka Simon Green’s) hit new record, “The North Borders,” as well as cuts from his killer back catalog.
It’s a psychic homecoming of sorts for the U.K.-raised maker of relaxed, organic tracks. Read More
Hayley Williams — the next twang-friendly Taylor Swift?
It could have happened, says the frontvixen for pop-punkers Paramore, whose self-titled fourth album just debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Read More
British synth-pop perfectionist Little Boots had a specific mood in mind for her new sophomore effort, “Nocturnes,” and its New Order-ish percolators such as “Motorway,” “Broken Record” and “Beat Beat” with its telltale line “Every night that you’re sleeping/I stay awake until dawn.”
“It’s got a real nocturnal feel,” says the keyboardist, born Victoria Hesketh. “But even though it’s dark, there are still fun songs like ‘Beat Beat,’ where you’re getting ready to go out. So it’s really more of a full-spectrum experience of the night.” Read More
Program 3 features Beethoven’s late masterpiece "Missa Solemnis" — with Fabiano, soprano Laura Claycomb, mezzo Sasha Cooke and bass Shenyang — and excerpts from Palestrina’s 1562 "Mass for Pope Marcellus II."
Why are two dozen of his works in the current San Francisco Symphony schedule? Read More
Lovable English eccentric Robyn Hitchcock often finds himself in remarkable situations, from 2008’s expedition to Greenland to study climate change to co-starring in Jonathan Demme films "The Manchurian Candidate," "Rachel Getting Married" and the concert documentary "Storefront Hitchcock." A few months ago, while visiting his daughter Maisie in Berlin, he unexpectedly went with her and Michael Stipe to Yoko Ono’s birthday party, where he and Stipe ended up singing "Give Peace a Chance" onstage. Read More
Future Twin frontwoman Jean Yaste likes to start things.
Not just the leader of the San Francisco garage, lo-fi rock band, she also opposes condominium development in The City, is involved with the group that took over land in Albany and converted it to a guerilla farm, and is co-founder of an all-female moped gang. Read More
Singer-instrumentalist Francoise Cactus of the eclectic French-German duo Stereo Total may not be Mother Goose, but she’s got her share of enchanting tales.
Given the last name La Hove at birth, the performer says her adopted surname has a fabular origin: her obsessive-gardener mother, who brought outdoor plants in for the winter.
“She always put all the cactus in my room. I was really afraid when I was small, thinking, ‘Oh, no. If I move in my dream, I’ll be stabbed by all this cactus!’” she says in a charming Burgundy accent. Read More