Courtesy photoIndie label: These days

Renegade Carina Round hits the Palace of Fine Arts

She knows it sounds corny. But since moving from her native Wolverhampton to Hollywood six years ago, British alt-rocker Carina Round does, indeed, get by with a little help from her friends.

On her bluesy new single “The Last Time,” for instance, her longtime chum Sierra Swan chimes in, while newer acquaintances — Maynard James Keenan’s inventive Tool spinoff Puscifer — handle remix honors on the B-side, “Girl and the Ghost.”

Both cuts will be featured on her as-yet-untitled early-2012 album, along with “Got to Go (The L.A. Song),” featuring another big booster, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, on guitar.

The music business has changed dramatically since Round first bowed in the U.S. with her sophomore recording “The Disconnection” in 2003 via Interscope.

“I got signed to a major label right when it was not a good time to do that,” says the singer/guitarist, who will open for — then perform with — Puscifer at the Palace of Fine Arts on Wednesday.

“Then everything moved over to indies and the Internet, and that change has been incredibly beneficial to me. Now I can have a one-to-one relationship, so to speak, with my fans — people who are really interested in my music,” she says.

Only a few years ago, Round, 32, had to meet with dozens of label execs before the simplest collaboration could be authorized. But now, inked to a smaller imprint?

“It’s just much easier,” she says. “It’s about you meeting someone, you like each other, you respect each other, and you go ‘Why don’t we do this?’ And then you do it. It’s more music for music’s sake.”

Round watched Swan begin self-producing and issuing her own post-major material.  

“Then the realization hit — Sierra wasn’t on a big label anymore, and she was much happier that way,” she says. “And since she has one of the coolest voices on the planet, we just decided to do something together, and ‘The Last Time’ is what happened. No fancy story.”

Initially, Round thought Corgan was joking when he asked to add some fiery fretwork to “Got to Go.” He wasn’t. Similarly, when she received a call inviting her to audition for the female vocal spot in Puscifer, her response was an incredulous ‘What the hell is a Puscifer?’ Soon she was in the studio with Keenan, tracking their “Conditions of My Parole,” and touring with him, as well.

Round’s new renegade stance continues with Early Winters, a side project she formed with three musicians she simply enjoyed working with. Their eponymous debut hits in January.

“We’re going to put that out because we can, and because we love it,” Round says. “That’s what it’s all about — good friends and organic connections.”


Carina Round, with Puscifer

Where: Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Tickets: $55

Contact: (800) 745-3000;

artsBilly CorganentertainmentmusicPop Music & Jazz

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