The cover of Chelsea Wolfe’s new album, “Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs,” is a Cindy Sherman-esque shot of the mysterious gothic-folk artist reclining on a rickety bed, her face hidden. The photograph, by her longtime associate Kristen Cofer, actually was taken in the Bay Area at an abandoned cliffside hotel and former brothel. Wolfe won’t specify its exact location. “But it was next to a legendary biker bar and is said to be haunted,” she says of the inn where she spent a night. “I didn’t write any songs there — just took a lot of photos and explored. Read More
Looking back on his last Los Angeles alt-rock outfit, Iglu & Hartly, vocalist Sam Martin — who now fronts Youngblood Hawke, with its omnipresent single “We Come Running” — sees the Faustian bargain quite clearly.
Sensing rabid interest from British labels, the band pitted the companies against each other to see how much money it could get, says Martin, who opens for Keane at the Warfield on Friday as part of Youngblood Hawke. Read More
Readers of The San Francisco Examiner’s entertainment pages already have been introduced to some of 2013’s soon-to-be-huge pop music artists, from the whimsical brother-sister duo Wild Belle to the stylish rockabilly-techno hybrid Willy Moon.
Next week comes the most remarkable new talent of the year, teenage U.K. folk-rocker Jake Bugg (yes, that’s his real name, not a hipster alias).
But there are more — many more.
Some folks dawdle over New Year’s resolutions, but not Dan Layus.
The Augustana bandleader, who plays in The City next week, has set his 2013 vows to himself, his wife and three children in stone: to make every career moment count, forgive himself for past mistakes and eventually triumph over current adversity.
Because when he lost his contract with Epic Records recently, after three solid albums, he lost the rest of his group, too. Read More
Musically, 2012 wasn’t easy to pigeonhole. There were no sweeping musical trends, save the gradual ascension of electronic trailblazers such as Skrillex and Deadmau5. Or the ubiquity of the latest carefully incubated Simon Cowell boy band, One Direction. No post-Adele flurry of dazzling divas — just singles. Lots of memorable smash hits like “Gangnam Style.” Read More
Fans may know David Lowery as a solo artist, Cracker frontman or anchor of his self-proclaimed “unwieldy, chaotic, barely stable collective” Camper Van Beethoven, which has a new album, “La Costa Perdida,” and celebrates its 30th anniversary next year.
But to his students at the University of Georgia, he is a math genius who helps demystify the increasingly complicated modern music industry. Read More
Churches frontman Caleb Nichols’ early childhood in Los Osos was tolerable, but when he entered middle school, his life became a living hell. Maybe it was the geeky “Lion King” T-shirt he wore, his ear piercing or the Breeders patch on his backpack. But his classmates bullied him, Nichols says, “and had all these superfluous reasons that I was gay, which turned out to be true later. Read More
Since his 2001 breakthrough — the Chelsea Hotel-inspired sophomore CD “Poses” — Canadian crooner Rufus Wainwright has projected an air of cavalier, slightly decadent dandyism.
But things have changed dramatically for the once-insouciant singer.
“Over the past three years, I’ve had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at me,” he says. “On one hand, it’s been very, very difficult and arduous, and on the other, there’s been a certain sweetness to those human experiences that I hope has made me a better person.” Read More
In junior high, rhythm and blues singer Aaron Neville chose an unusual location from which to launch a career — the boys’ lavatory. But that’s where he and his first teenage doo-wop group hid to practice their intricate harmonies. Read More
It was a far-fetched plan that English folk-rocker Mike Rosenberg devised five years ago when his quintet Passenger splintered after one critically acclaimed album, “Wicked Man’s Rest.”
“Plus, my manager at the time quit, my girlfriend and I broke up, and I had to leave my house,” says the singer-guitarist, who appears today in The City. “It was just one of those bleak moments in life where everything around you just collapses, you know?” Read More
On the road promoting his introductory, self-titled EP, 23-year-old Willy Moon has been meeting immature folks who puzzle him — “people who are supposedly adults, who still haven’t really allowed themselves to grow up and become responsible for themselves as individuals,” says the New Zealand-born, London-based techno-rockabilly cat whose song “Yeah Yeah” was snapped up by Apple for its new iPod commercial. Then again, maybe it’s just him, he adds, “because I became responsible for myself as an individual at a very early age.” The sharp-suited kid has a full-length album on the way. Read More
The band name itself is an in-joke because the Chris Robinson Brotherhood features keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Mark Dutton, drummer George Sluppick, guitarist Neal Casal and, of course, Chris Robinson on guitar and vocals — but not his brother and longtime Black Crowes bandmate, Rich Robinson. Read More
In 12 years of touring, Toronto-bred, honky-tonk kitten Lindi Ortega discovered a universal travel truth, couched in a Far East metaphor: “You can read about China all you want, but it’s not until you visit it that you get a real understanding for it,” she says.
It explains her sudden move last December to Nashville, birthplace of the vintage country music she grew up idolizing, and echoing, on 2011’s “Little Red Boots” and her new Music-Row-tracked “Cigarettes & Truckstops.” Read More
With its upcoming seventh CD, “Heartthrob,” Canadian twin-sister act Tegan and Sara might have composed the ultimate breakup album.
They did it in an unusually startling style by setting aside their acoustic guitars for new wave-school synthesizers on Greg Kurstin/Mike Elizondo-helmed tearjerkers such as “Goodbye, Goodbye,” “I Was a Fool,” “I’m Not Your Hero” and “How Come You Don’t Want me.”
But there’s just one little aesthetic problem, according to Sara Quin: “We didn’t actually break up!” Read More
There’s a method to her creative madness, says former Bay Area resident Meshell Ndegeocello, whose projects range from covering work by Prince and Gil Scott-Heron to the new album “Pour une Ame Souveraine (For a Sovereign Soul) — A Dedication to Nina Simone.” It’s all about casual confidence. “I don’t want to be this jazz musician who thinks everything I fart out is super-special,” says the bassist. “And I don’t want to be a pop musician, where how you dress and everything about you is on display. Read More