SF Show of the Week // GO4FREE to George Clanton at Rickshaw Stop 1/25 (FRI)

George ClantonPhoto by Mark Benjamin // Written by Molly Kish //

George Clanton with S U R F I N G, Satin Sheets, ESPRIT 空想, Aaron Shadrow //
Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco
January 25th, 2019 //

An early pioneer in the sample-based subgenre vaporwave, George Clanton originally started his career under the moniker ESPRIT 空想 in 2011 and gained traction through the release of his debut album virtua.zip.

Departing from his pseudonym and experimenting with a pop album in 2015, Clanton rejuvenated his image with one of Gorilla vs. Bear’s 10 best albums of the year in 100% Electronica and hasn’t looked back.

The next year, he opened for SOPHIE and Charli XCX at their South by Southwest showcase, which garnered plenty of praise from critics, and formed a record label he also named 100% Electronica with his girlfriend. Since then, he has toured among the ranks of internet-based, vaporwave sensations. His 2018 LP Slide sold out all of its copies during the pre-order phase, earning favorable reviews from a number of major media outlets such as Pitchfork.

This Friday, Clanton will perform a headlining set at Rickshaw Stop and revive his ESPRIT 空想 project while also receiving support from S U R F I N G, Satin Sheets and Aaron Shadrow. Tickets are available for $15, or you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

Chrome Sparks: January 24th (THUR) @ The Chapel
Gardens & Villa: January 25th (FRI) @ August Hall
Anika: January 27th (SUN) @ Rickshaw Stop
Juan Wauters: January 27th (SUN) @ Swedish American Hall


Win-2-Tickets

Enter your name (First and Last) along with your email below. If you win a contest, you’ll be notified on the day the contest ends (details above). Must be 18+.

CONTEST CLOSED.

Like Showbams on Facebook, follow Showbams on Twitter and follow Showbams on Instagram. Subscribe to our social channels for a better chance to win!

SF Show of the Week // GO4FREE to We Were Promised Jetpacks at GAMH 11/19 (THUR)

We Were Promised JetpacksWritten by Nik Crossman //

We Were Promised Jetpacks with SEOUL //
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
November 19th, 2015 //

Succeeding with their first gig at Edinburgh High School’s “Battle of the Bands” in 2003, We Were Promised Jetpacks didn’t feel like a proper band until they moved to Glasgow to play “proper gigs at proper venues.” As their sound matured, their music also became strongly influenced by Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad, two Scottish groups who shared the same label FatCat Records.

Releasing their debut album These Four Walls in 2009, these four lads from Scotland gained fame as the LP reached No. 27 on U.S. Billboard Heatseekers chart following the popularity of three singles, including “Quiet Little Voices”. In 2014, multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan joined the group and helped with WWPJ’s latest record Unravelling. More than a year after the release of their third full-length album, they continue to tour with 24 U.S. dates lined up for November and December.

This Thursday, these Scottish indie rockers are heading to Great American Music Hall with mysterious Montreal outfit SEOUL opening the show. Tickets are available for $25, or you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

Low: November 18th (WED) at Great American Music Hall
Corosion of Conformity: November 18th (WED) at Slim’s
Fever the Ghost: November 18th (WED) at Brick & Mortar Music Hall
Gardens & Villa: November 20th (FRI) at The Independent


Win-2-Tickets

Enter your name (First and Last) along with your email below. If you win a contest, you’ll be notified on the day the contest ends (details above).

Like Showbams on Facebook, follow Showbams on Twitter and follow Showbams on Instagram. Subscribe to our social channels for a better chance to win!

CONTEST CLOSED.

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Tycho take a big step forward in LA

TychoBy Josh Herwitt //

Tycho with Gardens & Villa //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
May 7th, 2014 //

It wasn’t that long ago that I stumbled upon Scott Hansen and his musical project Tycho.

At the time, I had heard good things about the San Francisco-based act, but I had yet to take the time to find out for myself.

So, when I learned last spring that Tycho was tabbed as the opening act for a Sound Tribe Sector 9 show I had already been scheduled to cover, I knew I had to make the most of my opportunity.

And boy, am I glad that I did.

Tycho

Because since that night more than a year ago, I have come to realize that Hansen’s foray into music deserves just as much praise as the photography and design work he produces under his ISO50 moniker. In fact, when I saw Tycho perform just a few months later at the boutique festival Lightning in a Bottle, it only validated those initial feelings I had at the Hollywood Palladium.

Fast forward to this month, and Tycho’s appeal has only continued to grow among the masses. With the release of its fourth full-length album Awake in March, the four-piece band — Hansen (guitar, bass, synthesizers, programming, visuals), Zac Brown (bass, guitar), Rory O’Connor (drums) and newest member Joe Davancens (bass, guitar, keyboards, synthesizers) — packed The Fonda Theatre for two sold-out performances, showcasing both new and old material after Santa Barbara’s Gardens & Villa warmed up the crowd with its unique brand of indie-synth rock.

But what may be most impressive about Tycho is the way Hansen continues to captivate electronic-leaning audiences without any of the EDM flare that so many big-name DJs abuse these days.

Tycho

After all, Hansen’s music is not to be confused with the EDM tsunami that’s taken the music industry by storm over the last five years. Rather, these are ambient soundscapes rooted in techno, with dashes of IDM and downtempo sprinkled throughout. Unlike the deep thud of house, trap or dubstep, these are moments of introspection and inspiration metamorphosed into rich, sonic layers and textures.

It’s fitting, then, that Hansen’s visuals — from sweeping, majestic landscape shots of nature to more traditional geometric shapes — pair perfectly with the mood his music affords listeners.

This is nothing new for Hansen, though. He’s been working at his craft for over 10 years, starting with his self-produced EP The Science of Patterns back in 2002. But a lot changed for Hansen in 2008 when he left Merck Records and signed a deal with Ghostly International, paving the way for 2011’s Dive, which garnered critical acclaim while drawing comparisons to chillwave artists like Washed Out and Toro Y Moi.

Tycho

As its successor, Awake feels very much like an extension of Dive, and we were treated to a majority of the eight-track LP at The Fonda, along with a few cuts from 2006’s Past Is Prologue.

Of course, if there were any grievances to air, it was that Hansen and his sidekicks didn’t play quite long enough. For an hour and 15 minutes, they hypnotized a room full of fans with one ambient groove after another, taking us on a short vacation from Planet Earth in the process. As we would later find out when the house lights came back on, the only problem with that was it had to eventually end.

New Music Tuesday: Bombay Bicycle Club • Broken Bells • Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang • Gardens & Villa

Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks, album highlights, lowlights and important takeaways for select albums.


Bombay Bicycle ClubSo Long, See You Tomorrow

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Feel”
“So Long, See You Tomorrow”
“Carry Me”

Album Highlights: Bombay Bicycle Club’s fourth full length finds the English indie group dabbling with a wider sphere of world music influences, yet the output is still pretty damn catchy. The big strength with So Long, See You Tomorrow is how it thrives on pop arrangements that are both diverse and understated. Earnest without being overbearing, it’s an album that’s bombastic in its spectrum of sound yet relatively subtle lyrically. The world music influence in “Feel” does wonders, helping to build a song that does a good job following through on it’s title. More of the record could have benefitted by following style and vibe of this track. Final track “So Long, See You Tomorrow” ends the album with a fitting big opus, a song that shines as bright as any on the record.

Album Lowlight: The first half of the album takes a while to gain steam — it doesn’t really pick up until the second half. “Whenever, Wherever” sounds interesting and slightly innovative at first, but upon repeat listens, it turns into some kind of twisted Millennial anthem. Also “It’s Alright Now” is an angst-filled slow-builder without the bite. Where’s the fun in that?

Takeaway: Demonstrating a greater focus on world music influences and female vocals has benefitted Bombay Bicycle Club nicely. The production is anything but formulaic, and So Long, See You Tomorrow flourishes the further it plays out — maybe it’s intentional sequencing, but the album certainly peaks on a high note. For many, it might also take half an album’s worth of listening to adapt to Bombay Bicycle Club’s understated, yet catchy, tunes.

-Mike Frash


Broken BellsAfter the Disco

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Perfect World”
“Medicine”
“Control”

Album Highlights: James Mercer and Danger Mouse follow up their 2010 collaborative debut as Broken Bells with an ambitious and divergent sophomore effort in After the Disco. Their signature sound remains imbedded in the group’s funky basslines, audio production and Mercer’s incomparable talent as one of this decade’s most distinguishable singer songwriters. Yet, it’s their expansion into larger soundscapes with the inclusion of orchestral and big band elements, that sets this album apart from its predecessor in a positively encompassing manner. Branching out from their stylistically simplistic debut, the group incorporates hard hitting disco rudiments, space rock synths and jazzy lounge percussion components that give the record a vintage appeal while remaining on point with current modern pop trends.

Album Lowlight: A generally mid-tempo album, the pace of the record remains consistent except for the final tracks which unfortunately close out the otherwise dance worthy compilation awkwardly. Both songs are beautiful in their own right, but unfortunately don’t get the attention they deserve due to their arrangement on the record. Instead of ending on a high note, the band closes out a predominately new wave and disco themed track list with their two most dramatic songs back to back. Which may have been a premeditated move creatively, but ultimately falls flat against the alternatively up beat album structure.

Takeaway: Following suit with the current thematic shift in pop music, Broken Bells embraces the best aspects of late seventies disco, capturing the final moments of the genre’s crossover into early eighties nu-wave, while maintaining a modern flair. With both members bringing their equally influential tastes to the table, James Mercer and Danger Mouse devise an intriguing tribute to an era of music that achieves effortless resuscitation through their unique integration of modern production and musical skillsets.

~Molly Kish


Les Claypool’s Duo De TwangFour Foot Shack

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Man in the Box”
“Pipe Line”
“Boonville Stomp”

Album Highlights: Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang make their studio debut with a stompin’ album that pays homage to a variety of classic tunes and puts a new spin on some Claypool staples. Consisting of Les Claypool on vocals and acoustic bass and Bryan Kehoe on guitar, Four Foot Shack offers stripped-down versions of songs that span Claypool’s career such as “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” and “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver.” As wonderful as these Claypool classics are, it is the covers on this album that really shine. Of the 6 cover tracks, the Twang interpretation of Alice in Chain’s “Man in a Box” alone is worth the price of admission. The Duo de Twang also tackle the Bee Gees disco anthem “Stayin’ Alive” and the surf rock masterpiece “Pipe Line” originally by The Chantays. Like every song the Duo De Twang covers, they put their own magic into it.

Album Lowlight: It’s tough to say anything bad about this album. Four Foot Shack has a very live feel to it, and was likely recorded in single takes with mild overdubbing of vocals and other effects. I really would’ve loved to have gotten an album full of covers. The Claypool originals are great, but not much new ground is broken with the Duo De Twang version. The covers are just so unique and interesting that an entire album of them would not disappoint me. Tough to complain about anything though, this album features vintage Claypool at his finest.

Takeaway: Four Foot Shack has a very distinct sound to it. Claypools signature slap and tap of the bass, albeit acoustic, mixed with his whacky vocal delivery and the twangy guitar of Bryan Kehoe make this album a foot-stomper. The sounds and rhythm Les Claypool creates with his bass are astounding and nothing is lost despite trading in the electric bass for an acoustic. If you’ve ever been a fan of anything Claypool has been apart of you will be much obliged to listen to this record.

-Kevin Raos


Gardens & VillaDunes

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Domino”
“Chrysanthemums”
“Echosassy”

Album Highlights: With the help of DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy, Gardens & Villa have crafted an enjoyable slice of synth-rock while establishing their own sound on this sophomore release. This Santa Barbara-bred act burst onto the scene with an impressive debut with some seriously catchy numbers, and have followed it up with a slightly more sonically in-depth batch of varied sounding songs.

The pace and tempo of Dunes is one of it’s strong suits as Gardens & Villa expand beyond the more upbeat/tempo songs which open the album. Tracks like “Chrysanthemums” slow things down nicely with a piano-driven ballad with just the right amount of minimal effects to allow the songwriting, and Chris Lynch’s vocals, to shine through. On the other hand, the next track “Echosassy” shifts the band’s sound towards a contemporized New Wave breakdown. Fans of Miike Snow are sure to gobble up this batch of poppy dance-rock songs full of hooks, post-punk beats and swirling synths.

Album Lowlights: Similar to their previous self-titled release, Dunes is a solid release. They are not earth-shattering or breaking much new ground, unfortunately. Gardens & Villa do squarely have command of their sound and style, but there are times when a little more is desired from them. “Bullet Train” was oddly one of the first announced singles off of Dunes, and is a bit of a muddled mess of falsetto singing, flute effects and slightly cheesy 80’s synth flourishes which simply don’t add up to anything you need to play on repeat.

Takeaway: Fan’s of Gardens & Villa’s first release are sure to eat up this grouping of new tracks and play this album well through the warm summer months. Dunes does lack a bit of the ‘star fire power’ of their self-titled album, but solidifies their unique style of layered dance-rock that has launched similar acts like Cut Copy, who has been produced by Goldsworthy. There is a flavor for all current music fans to find enjoyable in this release, it’s just a matter of how memorable that taste turns out to be for each individual.

-Kevin Quandt