At first, chuckles Charlie Reid, he and his twin brother, Craig, thought it was a prank. But the phone call the Scottish duo — also known as folk rockers The Proclaimers — received in 2002 from playwright Stephen Greenhorn was on the level.
The writer told them he had a concept for a musical using The Proclaimers’ songs, including the enduring hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” Read More
Members hail from Sweden, dress in hooded cloaks, are led by a skeleton-masked frontman named Papa Emeritus II and, on their new sophomore CD, “Infestissumam,” they offer goth-metal dirges such as “Idolatrime,” “Monstrance Clocks” and “Body in Blood.” What’s not to love about the theatrical juggernaut called Ghost B.C.? Bandmates are not atheists, insists one of the perpetually anonymous members known as Nameless Ghoul. “But aesthetically, the younger me wants there to be a physical devil because he’s cool!” he says. Read More
When London teens Chilli Jesson and Sam Fryer met by chance at Britain’s Reading Festival a few years ago, neither had a clue how to write a song.
So they chose a quirkier path into showbiz: They formed their own talent agency, Thursday’s Children, named for the day they got paid at their straight jobs. Read More
As a kid, Julie Edwards constantly had her grammar corrected by her talk-show-host father Steve Edwards, who now anchors “Good Day L.A.”
“I couldn’t say, ‘Everyone has their own thing.’ It had to be, ‘Everyone has his — or her — own thing,’” says the drummer, who rebelled by dubbing her new duo, with guitarist-vocalist Lindsey Troy, Deap Vally.
“But one day, someone told me the theory that every form of communication works,” she adds. “It doesn’t have to be proper. So spelling and grammar are for elitists — the world belongs to the common people!” Read More
French-born, London-based art rocker Jehnny Beth isn’t content with her new, all-girl, quasi-goth combo Savages, nor her sidelined duo with longtime beau Johnny Hostile, John & Jehn, nor the record label they run together, Pop Noire — about to issue the Savages’ debut recording, “Silence Yourself.” She knows it sounds corny, but the singer, who also acts, really wants to direct feature-length films. Read More
Country-rock kingpin and part-time thespian Steve Earle truly delights in the depravity of his character in David Burris’ upcoming film, “The World Made Straight.”
“I’m the villain, a hillbilly drug dealer, and I love that guy,” he says from the movie’s North Carolina set. “I’ve played the bad guy in this other movie that Tim Blake-Nelson made, ‘Leaves of Grass,’ but that was a comedy. This is not a comedy.” Read More
When Natasha Khan – who records under the name Bat for Lashes – finished touring the world behind her 2009 sophomore CD “Two Suns,” she was mentally and physically exhausted.
Having just endured a romantic breakup as well, she returned to her seaside English retreat in Brighton and drew the brakes on her fast-paced existence. Read More
When Aussie singer Clairy Browne hits San Francisco this week with her R&B-rockabilly band the Bangin’ Rackettes — touting their steamy debut, “Baby Caught the Bus,” with its single “Love Letter,” featured in a Heineken ad — it won’t be the first time she has appeared in town. She was here on vacation a decade ago, crooning karaoke in the Castro. Clubs warned her she could only perform one song, she says, on the phone from a South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. “So I’d take a bunch of wigs and do as many songs as I could in as many wigs as I had.” But security caught her. Read More
When Dead Can Dance co-founder Brendan Perry is strumming onstage next to his otherworldly voiced bandmate Lisa Gerrard, he hardly notices the soft play of violet and aquamarine lights flickering over him. Singing with his eyes shut, he isn’t overly conscious of what happens around him, and is in a “very special place” by the end of the set. With no distractions, he makes every intricate note count, like the group does on its ethereal new live recording, “In Concert.” The group plays Davies Symphony Hall this week. Never seen them? Read More
Karpathos is a minuscule Greek island in the south Aegean sea, 24 hours away from Athens by boat with roughly 6,000 inhabitants in 10 villages. With a population of 761, its dinky waystation of Olympos is even more remote, says Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis, who returned to his birthplace to compose portions of his U.K. band’s third outing, “Holy Fire.” Read More
Amanda Warner would love to recount optimistic stories of her post-college years living in the Bay Area from 2003 to 2009, before she moved to New York and — with producer-partner Peter Wade — re-created herself as the brainy synth-popper MNDR.
But she doesn’t have any.
Retaining a publishing deal after her band Triangle failed, Warner became a hot Big Apple songwriter. An early effort there was “Bang Bang Bang,” a collaboration with Mark Ronson and the first hit single on the album “Record Collection.” Read More
Ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr titled his debut solo CD “The Messenger” for good reason. He’s on a mission to make records that make people feel good in the daytime for four minutes. He says he has always admired people who wrote songs “that made you feel good on the way to school, or good coming home from school or work. And as a writer, to do that is the challenge.” A winner of NME’s Godlike Genius Award in February, the guitarist is comfortably stepping into the spotlight again after years working with The Cribs, The The, Bryan Ferry, Modest Mouse and Bernard Sumner. Read More
Rachel Davies, dark-minded frontwoman for British gothic trio Esben and the Witch, doesn’t have rose-colored ruminations when she’s traveling from concert to concert.
“You spend a lot of time thinking about things, a lot of time just looking out van windows and questioning yourself,” says the singer, who appears today with her band in The City, playing songs from “Wash the Sins Not Only the Face,” their second CD. Read More
Looks are deceiving when it comes to BottleRock Napa Valley, the four-day music, comedy, food and wine festival in May that was suddenly announced in January.
Co-producer Gabe Meyers, 42 — who conceived the 60-band, 12-comedian event with longtime real estate partner Bob Vogt (who turned Napa’s languishing Uptown Theater into a popular concert hall) — admits that although they had been planning it for a long time, they were working under the radar and so the event seems like it “came out of nowhere.” When people inquire how long, he’s ready with the same witty response Read More
It always felt awkward to Jamie Lidell, trying to capture his huge, thumping techno-soul ideas in a cramped British flat. After years of what he calls “flaccid bedroom recording,” worrying about neighbors and “tiptoeing around like a bloody idiot,” the singer moved to Nashville, Tenn. He conceived his new, self-titled fifth album (featuring synth-based R&B standouts such as “Big Love” and “Why_Ya_Why”) in a house in a part of the city populated by hard-partying college kids, who never complained about the sound.
Why move to Nashville? Read More