It sounds like a pitch for a new Amy Sedaris sitcom: To get over a recent divorce, a former punk rocker and art school student from the late 1970s returns to college to finish her bachelor of arts degree. And hilarity ensues.
But San Francisco’s Penelope Houston experienced the scenario. And the only way she could promote her new eight-years-in-the-making solo effort “On Market Street” — plus a reissue of her eponymous 1983 debut with the Avengers — was by taking the current semester off from San Francisco State University. Read More
Before she formed her Arcade Fire-quirky sextet Of Monsters and Men (its ebullient debut “My Head Is an Animal” comes out next month), Icelandic folk-rocker Nanna Hilmarsdottir was a kindergarten teacher, which perfectly complemented her songwriting. “Being around kids had a real impact on me, so I was learning from them, as well,” she says. Read More
Two years ago, British duo the Ting Tings — drummer Jules De Martino and guitarist-vocalist Katie White — huddled around a laptop in their San Francisco hotel to preview top-secret tracks from their sophomore album, soon set to follow their platinum, Grammy-nominated 2008 debut, “We Started Nothing.” They beamed over bouncy glam-rockers such as “Guggenheim,” a logical successor to the then-just-released flagship single “Hands.” The team, it seemed, was back to reclaim chart turf it staked out with irresistible hits such as “That’s Not My Name.” And then: nothing. Read More
He’s not 20 yet, but Minneapolis rocker Jordan Gatesmith already has done time in more than 40 failed local groups, with quirky monikers like Tits, Dark Lord, Gay Animals and the A-Cups. Read More
Early in his award-winning, three-decade career, Aussie folk-rocker Paul Kelly enjoyed going to Swan Oyster Depot when he visited San Francisco. “We didn’t have a place quite like that where I lived, so at the time it was really new for me,” says the Adelaide native, 57. Read More
Before the models hit the catwalk at the Marchesa fall-winter 2012 show at New York’s Fashion Week last month, heads were turning: Who was the dignified young blonde in a posh black lace evening dress, there at the invite of designer Georgina Chapman and hanging with Stacy Keibler, Bar Refaeli and Petra Nemcova? It was 18-year-old rocker and ex-“Gossip Girl” actress Taylor Momsen, more typically seen in Gothic attire: black leather jackets, microminis, thigh-high fishnets and 5-inch platform heels. Read More
Speaking with Genesis P-Orridge – founder of industrial outfits Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV and the subject of an unusually heartwarming new documentary “The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye ” – time seems to fly. Recently in San Francisco with French film director Marie Losier to promote the movie, the brainy bohemian’s amulets, worn over a billowy Psychic TV T-shirt, initiated a fascinating 15-minute dissertation. Read More
Even for a Brit, Rebecca Taylor’s sense of humor is exceptionally droll. Assessing her accomplishments to date, she says with a sigh, “Well, I’m 25 now. I guess I should probably get married and have a baby or something and give up this career of drumming, because it’s not really getting me anywhere!” But Slow Club, the Sheffield duo in which she sings and performs with guitarist and co-vocalist Charles Watson, is finally catching on — part of England’s recent neo-folk movement. Read More
Johnny Lloyd never had a Machiavellian plan in mind when he formed his chart-topping U.K. outfit Tribes three years ago; the Londoner merely studied his native club-dotted Camden district to see what was lacking. “Camden was really saturated with post-Libertines guitar bands, and they’d changed the scene into jingly-jangly soft rock,” he says. “But we wanted to make a heavier band, maybe influenced by ’70s retro stuff like the Stones and Led Zeppelin, as well as more ’90s groups like R.E.M. and Blur. We just wanted to make music that was simple and fun.” Read More
It’s been an incredibly busy year for Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz.
He presented his first (co-written) stage drama, “Black Sun” at the Ojai Playwrights Conference. He launched his own vanity label, Tyrannosaurus Records. He helped produce, and co-stars in, the twisted new film comedy “Freeloaders” with the Broken Lizard troupe. Read More
Ever since he blasted onto the rock scene with his symphonic metal masterpiece “I Get Wet” a decade ago, Andrew W.K. has been living the charmed life of a big kid in a candy store. Any zany impulse that hit him, he acted on. Wanting to take his album’s uplifting energy further, he became a lecture-circuit motivational speaker and also doled out advice on MTV2’s “Your Friend, Andrew W.K.” Read More
It’s been five years since former Semisonic bandleader Dan Wilson released his self-produced “Free Life” debut for Rick Rubin’s American Records.Though in no rush to release a second album, he is working on new material. Read More
Rohnert Park proto-punkers Ceremony may have left the Bridge 9 indie imprint for big-time Matador with their new, more post-punk effort “Zoo.” But there are no regrets. The band has gotten some grief for the move, says guitarist Anthony Anzaldo, 25. “But no matter what we did, people were going to say negative things — if we signed another two-album contract with Bridge 9, people would have said, ‘When are these guys gonna grow up?’ So in the end, you have to make decisions for you and not worry what anyone will think.” Read More
Scottish-bred, Zambian-descended keyboardist Emeli Sandé isn’t easily pigeonholed.
Her upcoming debut recording, “Our Version of Events,” is all over the stylistic map, from the rollicking roadhouse stomp of “Next To You” to a dubstep-symphonic “Heaven” and the skeletal piano exercises “River” and “Breaking the Law.”
The performer also boasts a bachelor’s degree in clinical neuroscience from Glasgow University, the backing of Alicia Keys (who co-penned the cut “Hope” with her) and the biggest blond mohawk since the punk-rock heyday of Bow Wow Wow and The Plasmatics. Read More
In his New York apartment, guitarist Derek Miller found curious objects to photograph for the CD booklet of “Reign of Terror,” the new sophomore salvo from his dissonant duo Sleigh Bells — items such as his paratrooper grandfather’s Purple Heart and bullet-holed World War II canteen. But only one was such a striking image it had to be the cover: Blood-spattered tennis shoes belonging to Sleigh Bells’ frontwoman Alexis Krauss, from an onstage tour mishap in Atlanta, where he accidentally clocked her with his sharp-necked Jackson-model ax. Read More