Vancouver Sleep Clinic – “All of the sinners, all of the saints, All of the beauty, all of the pain, In the loss, in the gain, I’m not afraid”: Bottom of the Hill in SF (April 17, 2017

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Vancouver Sleep Clinic‘s first show in SF at the Rickshaw Stop back in December had us begging for their return, especially with the release of their highly anticipated debut album, ‘Revival.’ A revival is surely what they spurred on last night at Bottom of the Hill. I could not help but watch everyone on the audience be lifted up by Tim’s angelic vocals and haunting howls as they stared up at him with eager eyes. Star struck by his fine, fierce falsetto, there was a sense of disbelief shared by the entire room. It’s hard to believe that he wrote his first song (‘Vapour‘) when he was only 17 yrs old, a song about realizing how short life is and how “you must find light and joy in the situations we’re put in.” Well we certainly find light and joy in the musical medicine he revives us with, one “rebirth” at a time. Tracks that had every hair raised on my body were Flaws, Lung, Living Water, Killing me to love you, and Someone to Stay, which was written about homelessness and homesickness when temporarily living in LA:

“You were alone, left out in the cold
Clinging to the ruin of your broken home
Too lost and hurting to carry your load
We all need someone to hold”   (SLAYED).

 Arguably my favorite Vancouver Sleep Clinic track released this year.

By the time the epic encore of Empire came around, I was completely lathered in chills. Empire stood alone with definitive power and command, keeping us on our toes as the capricious crescendos amplified our attention and wet our appetites. I’m already hungry for more and can’t wait until they return for summer festivals (best way to avoid winter in OZ!) All I know is that Vancouver Sleep Clinic won’t be frequenting small stages much longer. Recently on tour with the delightful Daughter, they are making a global footprint and hailing new fans far and wide. In fact, the kid standing next to me had flown all of the way from Phoenix just for the show! It won’t be long before this Aussie quintet will be headlining the legendary Fillmore. SF wants you back!

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So happy to have met Tim Bettinson of Vancouver Sleep Clinic this week at the Rickshaw Stop. After wrapping up tour with Daughter the night before in Vancouver (yes, he says it’s everything he’s dreamed it to be), these Aussies (Brisbane) decided to sneak a two extra shows in SF and LA before heading out (and boy are we thankful for!). I remember first seeing Vancouver Sleep Clinic at Green Man music festival (Wales, UK) in 2014 and being completely taken back by their beauty and talent. For those lovers of Bon Iver, Volcano Choir, James Vincent McMorrow (who he’s a I’ve fan of and whom he saw for the first time in LA 3 years ago), RYX, Matt Corby, Sohn, Youth Lagoon, Alex Vargas, and Jack Garratt, Tim is your man!

 

*Check out more videos on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

Geographer – “You’ve been staring at the ocean, Like it’s a language you could learn”: The Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz (April 16, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Nothing better to lift dem spirits than rocking out to your favorite SF band (Geographer) on a random Tuesday night (especially after a long, long day). Glad to have shared this experience with other diehards (new friend named Janette) who also knew the words to every song and had no shame shouting them out loud with you. Turns out we were both at the same Geographer show back in Jan too! What a treat it was for Mike to be extra active on our side of the stage (e.g sticking his guitar out in front of our face!) and even letting Janette push the button on his synthesizer to start ‘Original Sin‘! I also really enjoyed Mike and Duncan’s dueling guitar action at the end of ‘I’m ready’ (I’m ready for a replay!) The woodblocks in ‘Verona‘ and saxophone in ‘Walk on the Moon‘ are always consistent crowd-pleasers, and in case the crowd wasn’t pleased enough, Mike jumped right into his sea of fans to show them his love up close and personal.  Getting to hear their 2 new, unreleased tracks (‘Read My Mind‘ and ‘Something’s Missing‘) def has us anxiously awaiting the new album (scheduled to be out in the Fall). CAN’T WAIT! 🤗 I’m also stoked to check out Duncan’s other band (DONCAT) this Saturday (5/20) at Amnesia in SF. Thank gosh for musical medicine!<3

 

 

Previous reviews of Geographer at the Rickshaw Stop in Jan 2017 and way back in the day at the Independent in March 2012. This is my 9th time seeing them!

*Check out more videos on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

When Things Fall Apart (Playlist: July 5, 2016)

When Things Fall Apart

Compiled Jul 5, 2016

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SUPER STOKED to SHARE this BEAST OF A PLAYLIST (80 songs, 5 1/2 hrs, >35 artists) that I’ve been distilling for over 2 months now.

It features bands I’ve recently seen in SF/Bay Area — Frightened Rabbit, Idlewild, Day Wave, Harriet, Beat Connection, Radical Face, Ben Abraham, Damien Jurado, Zach Winters, Holly Arrowsmith, Givers, The Temper Trap, Explosions in the Sky, Matt Corby, Mac Demarco, Andrew Bird, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Covet, Little Tybee — as well as at BottleRock NapaCold War Kids, San Fermin, WATERS, The Joy Formidable, Robert DeLong, Misterwives, Ivan & Alyosha, Machineheart, Walk the Moon, Nothing But Thieves, Kaleo, Panic is Perfect.

It also features AWESOME NEW DISCOVERIES that I haven’t yet seen in the flesh (Fuente and Waterstrider), as well as NEW RELEASE from some of my FAVORITE BANDS: Highasakite, Max Frost, Ben Sollee, Mumford & Sons, DOPE LEMON (Angus Stone‘s new side project), I am Machi, Holy Fuck, and MOST OF ALL… Augustines!   😀
(It was almost two years ago that I poured my heart and soul into a blog post about this band and how their music changed my life: https://beatsthatsetmypulse.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/augustines-to-rise-up-from-some-dirty-ashes/)

I could have chosen MANY songs to be the TITLE TRACK of this playlist, but I chose Augustine‘s ‘When Things Fall Apart (off their new album, This is Your Life) because of the hopeful message (“We go someplace, to get a new start, you gotta move on when things fall apart”) it radiates to those wandering  WANDERLUSTS this summer who are in search of a new inspiration and new sun in these summertime skies. It also –along with Mumford & Son‘s new album (Johannesburg) and new song, ‘There Will Be Time,’  — featured strong influences of African music, SETTING ME UP for my BIG TRIP TO AFRICA (Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa) this month!

Hopefully this new playlist will keep everyone FIRED UP from those 4th of July fireworks last night. Cheers to the SOUNDS OF SUMMER!

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When Things Fall Apart- Augustines
My Name Is Liar- Highasakite
First- Cold War Kids     
Woke up Hurting- Frightened Rabbit 
American English- Idlewild
Jackrabbit- San Fermin   
Got to My Head- WATERS
The Water- Fuente
May You Keep Well (feat. Pape & Cheikh)- Augustines
Someone Who’ll Get It- Highasakite
Midnight Moon- Waterstrider
The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade- The Joy Formidable   
Death Dream- Frightened Rabbit   
Ceremony- Day Wave   
Never Going Back – Caveman
Mine Is Yours- Cold War Kids   
Running in Place (feat. Pape & Cheikh)- Augustines
El Capitan – Idlewild
Long Way Down- Robert DeLong    
Constellation- Waterstrider
Keep That Letter Safe- Highasakite
Mystery- Fuente
Life Or Just Living- Caveman
Forgotten- Ben Sollee   
Hold Me Loneliness- Augustines
Bring Me When You Go- Harriet
Emily- San Fermin   
Let Them Stare- Waterstrider
Human- Caveman
It’s All Just Pretend- Ivan & Alyosha   
Mexico- Fuente
Pretend- Ben Sollee   
Get Out- Frightened Rabbit   
In The City- Caveman
The Mute- Radical Face   
Shut Up and Dance- Walk The Moon  
Speak- Ben Abraham   
Ad Space- Beat Connection   
These Are the Days- Zach Winters   
Sure Thang- Givers
Diamonds- Holly Arrowsmith   
The Road To Nowhere- Radical Face   
Fall Together- The Temper Trap   
Break- Frightened Rabbit  
Disintegration Anxiety- Explosions In The Sky   
Come Home Now- Day Wave   
Summer Skeletons-  Radical Face   
Vagabond- Misterwives
Monday- Matt Corby   
Salad Days- Mac DeMarco   
Wolves and Moons- Holly Arrowsmith   
You Are Who You Are- Day Wave  
Alive- The Temper Trap   
Pulaski – Andrew Bird   
President- Max Frost   
Cholla- The Joy Formidable   
Itch- Nothing But Thieves   
Reflections- Misterwives
There Will Be Time (With Baaba Maal)-  Mumford & Sons  
Logic Of A Dream- Explosions In The Sky   
Capsized- Andrew Bird       
Maw Maw Song- The Joy Formidable  
Why Dream- Matt Corby    
More Like Jason- Little Tybee  
Wona (With Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg)- Mumford & Sons   
Exit 353 – Damien Jurado   
Circles- Machineheart (& Vanic)
I’m Not Fooling Anyone (Bonus Track)- Ivan & Alyosha   
Sea Dragon- Covet  
I Can’t Go On Without You- Kaleo
Echo- Panic Is Perfect 
Shakedown Street – Unknown Mortal Orchestra   
Uptown Folks –  DOPE LEMON   (Angus Stone‘s new side project)
Are You Serious- Andrew Bird   
Hydra- Covet
Go Go Go- Panic Is Perfect     
Lon Bella- Damien Jurado   
Don’t Quit Your Day Job- Little Tybee   
Xed Eyes- Holy Fuck   
Jawbreaker- I Am Machi      

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Lyrics on Lockdown:

“We go someplace, to get a new start, you gotta move on when things fall apart.”  -When Things Fall Apart

“You were looking at pictures in the distance
Hoping to see, the future in your pictures
Of the distance, hoping to see
The future looking at pictures in the distance.” -El Capitan

“You’ll find what you find, 
When you find there’s nothing.” -American English

“All we ever need is energy…We brighten up…we raise a cup…we wash the wounds that leave us numb.” -Constellationn

“It doesn’t make all cloudy days worthwhile
It doesn’t make much sense to walk that extra mile
To assign you properties that are not real.”  -Keep That Letter Safe

“At least half of what I’ve done
Maybe more of who I am
Will be forgotten
Won’t be remembered
Like all the stories never told
The digital lives scattered in code
All of the footsteps that will never be traced
The forgotten ways of an ancient race.” -Forgotten

“And if you find yourself somewhere between dark and belief

Remember, remember to think on your knees…
Never trust that man who’s been smiling on his life
His fears will catch up in the end.”  -It’s All Just Pretend
“Some people say money, and others say plans
but I’m hungry for freedom that never changes hand.” -These Are the Days
“No man can know the length of his days…
Not here by chance but purposefully made
Don’t you know that our debt has already been paid
…we don’t have to be slaves to a world that promises much.” -Diamonds

“Raise your voice cause it’s now or never… And if we have to fall then we’ll fall together.” -Fall Together

“People always say, “Get out of your head
You’ve been there too long
Pretty soon, you’ll be dead”
Then I thought, oh, I’ve been thinking too hard
I should come down now to get out of my head.” -Come Home Now

“Vagabond is you,
Ran the mile no shoes
If the sun goes down too soon
Embrace the starry-eyed moon

Vagabond is you,
Swam the sea at the darkest blue
You made it, made it through.” -Vagabond

“So open up my eyes to a new light
I wandered ’round your darkened land all night
But I lift up my eyes to a new high
And indeed there will be time.” -There Will Be Time

“If you’re looking for a diamond
You gotta sift through the gold
If you’re searching for a way out
you gotta take the new road
If you don’t keep the motion moving
it can all feel the same
In the heart of the city
where the streets are the veins.” -Circle

 

Ben Abraham – “You’re hiding like a memory… Calling to the weakness in my soul”: The Independent (May 19, 2016)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I am very surprised that I never stumbled upon Ben Abraham when I was living in Melbourne last year (Jan – May), as I would have surely stopped in my tracks if I heard ‘Speak‘ as I passed by the usual buskers on Melbourne’s famous Bourke Street (wonder if he ever busked there). Speak is surely one of the standout tracks (in my opinion) on his debut album, Sirens (Secret Canadian).

A son of two Indonesian rockstars (both parents in a successful 70’s pop group called Pahama), Ben had music in his blood, and his relentless urge to “SPEAK” would eventually manifest into a musical masterpiece that would speak to more than Melbourne. “I never wanted to be a musician… I always wanted to be a filmmaker, and although I never quite made it down that path, that desire I had to tell stories still came with me,” Ben said to the crowd that night at The Independent as the opening act for the fantastic Damien Jurado (see review here). Ben’s desire to tell stories soon became a regular routine at his day job entertaining children in hospitals in Melbourne; Eight years later, he honed this craft into the beautiful album (Sirens) that has been sending SIRENS across international boundaries (esp. the UK, US and Canada). This album was recorded with a rotating cast of friends and collaborators including Gotye and Tim Shiel, as well as longtime friend Sara Bareilles (‘This is on Me‘).

Previously having played at Holwer in Melbourne (where I last saw Harrison Storm and Daniel Champagne) and the Servants Jazz Quarters in London (where I last saw Samantha Crain, Ben was eager to announce that tonight was his “first time in San Fran, and actually the first ever tour in the states.” Sporting a right red Hawaiian shirt and big grin, Ben (who usually is “not a fan of doing covers”), was all amped up and feeling “beachy enough” to cover what he thinks is “one of the greatest songs ever written,”Hyper Ballad‘ by Bjork. (He should definitely apply to play Iceland Airwaves… it was one of my favorite festivals of all time!)

 

As if that didn’t raise enough hairs on our arms, he followed with a gorgeous track called  ‘Home‘, and then with the epic encore of ‘Speak.’ Speak is a gorgeous song that just builds and builds with awesome anticipation, and by the end you might find yourself wiping tears off your face. The honest, timid lyrics about ‘wanting to communicate with others but somehow being pushed away’ is definitely a shared struggle most of us face, especially with the recent explosion of social media, and I hope we can all take Ben’s song as a call to humanity for deeper human connection. If the emotive, echoing effects of his vocals in the mic towards the end don’t “SPEAK” to you, then I’m not sure what will. Be sure to grab a copy of the album!

Damien Jurado – “My name is Damien Jurado, not Damien “Jutebox”: The Independent in SF (May 19, 2016)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

A former pre-school teacher in the days before his budding music career, Damien Jurado (Secretly Canadian record label) was well equipped to handle the crazy “kids” (all grown adults that were probably “secretly Canadian”) that were shouting out requests for their favorite songs. “My name is Damien ‘Jurado’… not Damien ‘Jutebox’…I’ll play what I want to play at my show” (see video footage below) he says in response with a snarky smile and perfect wit. He followed that up with an antidote about how he just “doesn’t do covers,” and how he was asked both in Germany and in the UK (by a respectable musician name Benn Watt, nonetheless) to play some cover songs while on tour. He said that the only cover songs he probably would know are punk-rock songs from bands like Minor Threat that he listened to WAY BACK in the day. When the the crowd cheered in agreement, he laughs and says, “How do you go from listening to Minor Threat to ME?…haha…Maybe you drank more?..” He follows this by saying that he actually has influences from all “over the map” that he hopes to “funnel into one thing” and that he “doesn’t want to be put in a box” or be known for “just one genre.” He mentions that while he “used to the solo thing,” he enjoys evolving musically, aka …“My albums keep getting weirder and weirder.” Personally, I hear similarities to Mark Kozelek, Kurt Vile, and Jose Gonzalez, but was later told by Damien that he respects those artists but actually doesn’t draw from them musically. He mentioned someone obscure (a foreign name that I can’t recall), and I only smiled imaging how big this world is and how many incredibly diverse music style there are out there. 🙂

“You like to talk, don’t you? I feel like I’m having a conversation but I don’t know who with and where you are,” Damien belts out after the chatty crowd continues to shout comments his way. There was one fan in particular, “Mohammad from Egypt,” that Damien actually paused his song for because of Mohammad’s LOUD SIGH that indicated a potential “heart attack.” Damien was baffled by this fan’s adoration (waving his arms up in the air all goofy like a star-struck teenager), and implied being a bit overwhelmed with Mohammad yelling out that he would be “seeing him again in Minnesota” and “CAN’T WAIT.”

Although Damien seemed to be surprised by all of the attention, he surely showed his appreciation. He mentioned being super excited for the San Francisco show, recalling the exact moment (en route on a train from Barcelona to Amsterdam) when he has this very thought (“I love playing SF”). He said that he also loves playing Spain and Greece, possibly because the people there are very expressive, a stark contrast from the “Seattle-ites” that sport stolid facial expressions and movements even when the are excited (we all really enjoyed his demonstration of this on stage!). Haha.

He also joked that if anyone wanted to get married that evening, his bassist could marry them, as he just got done marrying a couple in the back.

 

If anything, I think we were all married to the fact that Damien is a  awesome, admirable musician who one should only be so lucky enough enough to have an intimate “show and tell” with, especially tracks performed from the ace new album, Visions of Us on Land. We look forward to your return, but we expect as least ONE COVER! 😛
(I tease, I tease…)  ❤

(see below for videos from the show)

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Owl Paws: “I know there’s a reason wild and true…why I had to hurt you” – Bottom of the Hill (March 25, 2016)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I first discovered Owls Paws when they opened for Samantha Crain at Amnesia back in January, and then of course made sure to SEE THEM AGAIN when they headlined Bottom of the Hill a few months later. The are SO GOOD. This talented folk trio has been playing together for nearly 5 years — not long after Derek Schultz (guitar/vocals) decided to extend his solo project to include fellow San Francisco State school buddies Timothy Vickers (upright bass) and Lucas Siobal (drums/percussion), and later Wayne Mills (guitar). Their haunting harmonies, alluring acoustics, and restless rhythms truly epitomize the appeal of the beautiful city in which we reside! Just like San Francisco, their sound is distinctive and captivating, and they draw influences from a variety of elements (including some of my favorite indie/folk bands like Local Natives and the Head and the Heart.

Owl Paws released their first full-length album, Reservoir, last summer, and it’s DEFINITELY worth checking out. In fact, you are bound to be keep checking out that bad boy over and OVER. You can even download it here FOR FREE! (although donations are suggested and well deserved): https://owlpaws.bandcamp.com

Standout tracks for me are: Bring Me Back (my FAVORITE), Coils of Spring, Eyes of the Prey, The Things I Forgot, The Fields, and Jagged Grin.

Having gone on several small West Coast tours an SXSW last year, and I really think THIS SUMMER is their TIME TO SHINE. Don’t miss their UPCOMING SHOW at Brick and Mortar tomorrow night. You’ll thank me later!

(see below for videos from their previous SF shows)

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Radical Face: “So, collect your scars and wear ’em well, Your blood’s a good an ink as any” – The Chapel (May 12, 2016)

The Chapel, San Francisco
Written by Erica Andreozzi

I first saw Radical Face back in Nov 2014 at Iceland Airwaves music festival, thanks to a girl standing next to me up front who said I MUST stay for his set (and boy was I glad I did). Not having known anything about him, I was quickly taken back by the clever tales that he strung into dark (yet witty) songs — tales backed by sweeping strings (my favorite, the cello!) and piercing percussion. I later learned that Radical Face – the moniker of multifaceted musician Ben Cooper — has “always wanted to write a book,” and so it makes sense that his songs are literally book chapters COME TO LIFE. At the early age of 19, Ben wrote two books that tragically were lost in a hard drive crash; but instead of giving up, he turned to music. “I thought: why not do them as records? There could be a set of people, and we follow their bloodlines,” he says, “and instead of passing down genetic traits, we could pass down melodic patterns that mutate with each generation.”

Taking flight with this idea, Ben began working on a series of records (recorded in the tool-shed behind my family’s house nonetheless) collectively called ‘The Family Tree.’ He explains the 8-year journey here: “It all began from a desire to write my own family saga, only in music form instead of a novel. So I started a series of albums that were all interconnected, beginning with The Roots, onto The Branches and finally The Leaves which I just released. Along the way, there were enough songs that didn’t fit within the length of each album, which I collected into a series called The Bastards. All of the songs are related to the others in some way or another, and this website was designed as a guide to help you discover all the different connections… A great place to start is ‘Family Portrait‘ which is the beginning of the Family Tree, all songs and stories stem from this one.”

This TREE-O of records (Bear Machine Records, Nettwerk Music Group) collectively garnered a strong fan base for Ben both in Europe (especially) and the States, and Ben was able to secure two nights back-to-back at the Chapel, the first of which was SOLD OUT. A down-to-earth Jacksonville native, Ben was shocked to see that all these people came to see him play some “sad bastard music” on a weeknight, and warned them of going “down the bummed rabbit hole.” Although some of his songs are indeed “dark” — ‘Ghost Town‘ (about a guy that ends up on the road cause he murders alot), ‘Black Eyes‘ (about domestic abuse), ‘The Mute‘ (about a kid who can’t hear) — he adds lots of levity in between with his dry humor and hilarious commentary. Standouts for me were Black Eyes, We’re on our way (with some intense hand-clapping that Ben joked was really a way to torture his band mates), Welcome Home (awesome “anthem-ic” sing-a-long by the crowd), and OF COURSE Always Gold (where Ben teased his drummer Nick about messing up the keyboard intro, haha). The encore of The Mute and Wrapped in Piano Strings (an oldie but goodie) were awesome as well, and we all perked up with a smile when Ben muttered “Don’t tempt me” in response to a fan requesting that he “Take his shirt off.” The only thing I left bummed about was not hearing ‘The Crooked Kind,’ as this is my absolute FAVORITE Radical Face song, and I was hoping to sing-a-long to the verse that still slays me every time: “So, collect your scars and wear ’em well, Your blood’s a good an ink as any.” For those of you on the East Coast, you can catch him next in Philly, NYC, and the Newport Folk Fest. A radical Radical Face that you definitely don’t want to miss!

(see below for videos and more detail from the show)

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