British upright bassist Oliver Steadman still recalls the help wanted ad like it was yesterday, on a webite in Oxford where people look for musical instruments for sale. But this one said “seeking a bassist for alternative-pop band.” Being only 17, he didn’t know what that oxymoron meant, so he went to meet them. “They” were keyboardist Jon Quin and singer-guitarist Brian Briggs, who went on to form the quirky folk-rock ensemble Stornoway with Steadman and his percussionist kid brother Rob, then 15. They had no choice, with Steadman being the only bassist who responded. Read More
The siren song of the Caribbean calls to San Francisco dub producer Roommate, who road-tests a set of original, reggae-inflected electronic tracks at the Elbo Room on Sunday.
It’s not clear how much longer Justin McCauley, the Richmond district resident of seven years, has left in the Bay, he says.
“S.F. has been good to me over the years, but I’m getting the itch to move back out of the country and get some more culture shock in my life,” he says. “I’ve never lived on an island and I’ve always wanted to try being isolated, seeing what it would do to me as an artist.” Read More
LL Cool J may be one of the elder statesmen of rap, rhyming since his 1985 platinum debut, but he has been out of the game recently, focusing on acting, starring in films and on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” and hosting the Grammy Awards.
He has no intention of giving up either pursuit.
“I just didn’t want to abandon my music,” the rapper-actor says. “If I didn’t do it now, I may have never gotten to it.” Read More
Members of the decade-old Swedish quintet Shout Out Louds have plenty of outside pursuits to keep them busy.
Bassist Ted Malmros makes videos, short films and TV commercials in his spare time, and bandleader Adam Olenius and guitarist Carl von Arbin do freelance graphic-design work that often includes the group’s cutting-edge posters, T-shirts and album covers.
“But I think our biggest interest when we’re on tour — after music — is food,” Olenius says. “We’re obsessed with finding the best local place to eat, and just finding good food on the road, in general.” Read More
It is no exaggeration to call 2013 the “Era of Lera” in contemporary art.
Lera Auerbach, the New Century Chamber Orchestra’s featured composer this week, is also a virtuoso pianist, poet, novelist (in English, Russian and German) and painter; her operas and ballets are being produced internationally; and she is an active member of the Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum. Read More
“Love Lust Faith + Dreams,” the new fourth recording from Jared Leto’s alt-rock outfit 30 Seconds to Mars, is nothing if not apocalyptic.
It opens with deceptively jazzy horns of “Birth,” but downshifts into Wagnerian epics like the fallen-empire study “Conquistador,” the morbid piano dirge “End of All Days,” the rattlesnake-percussion “Northern Lights,” and the majestic single “Up in the Air,” with the brooding lyric “Is this the end I feel, up in the air, f****d up on life?”
Reflecting on the magnum opus, the singer laughs. Read More
Unabashedly intellectual San Francisco producer Kastle hears a huge “Boom!” from somewhere close to his Dolores Park apartment.“That was big,” he says. “I thought this was a nice neighborhood.” Read More
Cutting-edge neo-soul stylist Janelle Monáe, who dreamed of having an entire orchestra as the wind beneath her futuristic songwriting wings, is overjoyed to be performing with the San Francisco Symphony Thursday night. The concert will feature intricate, Fritz Lang-inspired tracks from her records “Metropolis: Suite 1 (The Chase)” and “The ArchAndroid,” and perhaps an upcoming third, “The Electric Lady” (already known for the new single “Q.U.E.E.N.” featuring Erykah Badu). Monáe, who typically wears a dress suit, will be perfectly attired for the occasion. Read More
For Daryl Hall and millions of others, living with Lyme disease is serious business. But the mood was lighthearted as the pop singer, minus partner John Oates, blasted through his hits at a benefit for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation at a gorgeous Portola Valley estate.
About 300 people attended the fun and lavish dinner bash Sunday at the home of Laird and Sherry Cagan. Sherry Cagan, one of several founders of the foundation, also has Lyme disease. Read More
Listeners don’t need to know the narrative behind her new fourth effort, “Once I Was an Eagle,” to fully appreciate it, according to English neo-folk chanteuse Laura Marling. But she’s happy to recount it. Read More