St. Vincent (Brooklyn)

Most positively the next biggest talent to rise into center stage is an unquestionably mesmerizing singer-songwriter and 4ad recording artist living in Brooklyn, New York, named Annie Clark. She goes by her stage and recording artist name as St. Vincent and she is fast becoming the biggest buzz in the music industry. PLUG Independent Music Awards named her Female Artist of the Year 2008.

She was also nominated for New Artist of the Year and Music Video of the Year. Rolling Stones named her one of the five discoveries at this year's SXSW and a rehearsal video she recorded there made a tremendous buzz on YouTube. Get ready for this talent because she will surely take international audiences into deep hypnosis with her charm and wall of sound.

St. Vincent is an absolutely amazing multi-instrumentalist. Her first feature length album release, Marry Me (Beggars Banquet 2007) is filled with heart wrenching material, although the music spreads across a spectrum of intensity, from the piano ballad Marry Me to the quirkyMy Lips Are Red, all the while keeping a slight of soul to them all. Her new single release track, Actor Out Of Work, take on an even bigger sound, filling halls with more guitar power and driving harmonies.

She describes herself as reminiscent of Feist and Bjork but humbly said "i'm not as strange as Bjork, but, I sound similar some of the time" on a blog post in 2007 prior to her first album release, although she did boast that "I play pretty much every instrument under the sun on my debut album Marry Me" confidently.

Her highly anticipated album, Actor, is set for release on May 5 on 4AD and NPR.ORG will be streaming the full album online for two weeks prior beginning April 20. Her music video promo for her first single release, Actor Out Of Work, is now available online.

The momentum she is moving can only mean one thing: a definite boom into the international music arena. This is one artist-musician who won't be out of work anytime soon.

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Posted by Joselito at 12:34 PM | 0 comments read on


Yeah Yeah Yeahs (New York City)

The highly anticipated record release of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new album, It's Blitz, is finally out and ready for download much earlier than planned, a move caused by an internet leak. But, instead of holding back, YYYs is now "blitzing" through and making it possible for everyone to acquire their new record sooner than expected. For loyal fans and new ones alike, it couldn't have happened any sooner! The record is outstandingly fresh and infectiously groovy as everyone would expect from them.

Singer, Karen O, lights up the night sky with her Siouxsie-esque appeal and their new video for their single release, "Zero," hints at a deluge of superb music still coming our way. The video was shot entirely in San Francisco's various eclectic neighborhoods and gives off an interesting twist on the meaning of stage performance--a must see!

Their third album release was originally scheduled for a US release in April but can now be purchased as a digital download directly from their site and iTunes. CD versions are available for shipping at the end of March and vinyl by mid April. A blitz through Europe will kick off in April with (sold out) shows in Manchester and London. For more tour information, visit their blog or Myspace profile for details.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs is one of my ever most favorite US rock band, defying genre and generation that I believe deserve continuous recognition for their unique artistry and pure energy.

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Posted by Joselito at 1:07 PM | 0 comments read on


Thunderheist (Montreal)

One of my favorite electro-rap groups came through San Francisco last month and gave a tremendously powerful show, proving to the SF masses that they live up to their name, without a doubt, that they are superior to any other dj/mc duo out there now and ready to steal the show. THUNDERHEIST is a North American duo from Montreal, Canada, with an international appeal. I had the chance to meet them backstage after learning that we have close mutual friends and their promoter host, BLASTHAUS (San Francisco's premiere art/technology/breakbeat party throwers led by Monika Bernstein) was more than accommodating.

I met Isis, the front-person and golden rapper, and the man behind the beats, Grahm Zilla. While Isis cheered on and danced to the opening act with drink in hand, Grahm was chillin' like a villain and seemed quiet before their performance. But, as soon as they hit the stage, both of them exploded with so much energy that you wouldn't have been able to discern it was the same person. Isis kept the crowd cheering with her hotness and wordsmith abilities while Grahm threw down beats from a wide spectrum of influences including electro, hip hop, ghetto tech, house, and breakbeats. Isis' rap skills are undeniably fresh and clear while Grahm's production abilities roar with infectious grooves! It was an amazing show and these two are headed for international recognition. They are now posted to tour Japan and the UK in April. Their show is not to be missed! THUNDERHEIST is about to steal thunder near you!

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Posted by Joselito at 10:20 AM | 0 comments read on


Public (San Francisco/Los Angeles)

Once in a while, I find a needle in a haystack, sort of speak, among the myriad of young electronic artists and up and coming producers in the DJ and club scene here in San Francisco. There are many who ride the wave of DJ Superstar mentality but rarely give more than the music everyone is already familiar with. Sometimes, they may surprise everyone with a remix, but rarely, it's any better than the original track.

One night, I was introduced to young blonde cat named Nick Marsh before another show at our local performance venue, The Rickshaw Stop. My friend, Jefrodisiac, a national DJ artist and local promoter phenomenon, had his ultra-sassy debauchery party, BLOW UP, and the line outside was reminiscent of the Studio 54 days of the 70's, with a line that stretched around the block and scores of colorful club goers all claiming to be on the list with the security selectively choosing only the best looking to come in. My new friend walked me in as it turned out he was headlining that night.

When he came on, I was simply amazed at the energy of the place! It completely lit up the dance floor in a way that got everyone writhing and jumping like a sea with turbulent waves. I got the chance to step on stage behind the young hotties that were dancing in front of him, covering him, and stealing the spotlight. On stage, he had all his live electronic gear and not a turntable in sight. He was playing every beat, synth line, vocal stabs, and effects all in real-time and the music was big!

Eventually, I got the chance to talk to him in a bit deeper, in daylight, to find out what that was all about.

[JS] How old are you and where did you grow up?
[NM] I'm 23, I grew up in the Bay Area, but I really "grew" as an individual living in San Francisco and before that Boston. I moved there to study at Berklee College of Music but my experience there was traumatic and I dropped out early to pursue my dreams of being a professional producer/musician in my own fashion, at my own pace. Music schools can be strange; some things are easy to teach (like theory or even ear training), but teaching how to write a good song with fresh ideas and heart, is a different story. You can't teach heart.

{JS] Berklee? Wow. Any regrets with dropping out?
[NM] Oh, absolutely not. But, maybe ask me in 4 years? Haha.

[JS] How did you get your start?
[NM] My Dad put me in guitar lessons when I was 11, I hated it, I think I only really cared about Sonic The Hedgehog and Manchester United. It all changed when I was 13, a family friend let me borrow his 4 track tape recorder. I would record myself playing these awful songs on my guitar and then warp my poorly recorded vocals to sound like Barry White, it got my attention then. Once I was able to write and record music, everything fell into place.

[JS] Who were your main inspirations?
[NM] Musically; Daft Punk, David Bowie, New Order, Earth Wind & Fire, lots of funk & boogie stuff. My Dad is English and brought a lot of great music with him when he moved here. When I was a little kid he would play his records in our living room at full volume. I vaguely remember hearing a lot of Bowie, The Jam, and Bronski beat, haha.

[JS] Who are your corporate sponsors and how did you hook that up?
[NM] MOOG, D16 Group, Major Hype Clothing. I had an old email of a friend that worked at Moog and it was an idea from another friend to contact them. I had my manager write the old email and it turned out my old friend didn't work there anymore but he gave us another contact. It went from person to person until finally they heard the stuff. The rest was off my hands, until the equipment came, of course. Haha.

[JS] What is your live electronic setup?
[NM] It's constantly changing, and it depends on what type of event I'm scheduled to play. I've played alongside a live drummer while manipulating a Mutator, and a Sherman Filterbank 2; but then I've had stripped down sets as well, sometimes just my laptop, a couple midi controllers and a Kaoss pad.

[JS] Most memorable show?
[NM] Opening for the Crystal Method at the Vanguard in Hollywood was unbelievable, they are pros at this, and great people. I was hit up by Scott of Crystal Method and they have a great radio show in LA. They played my stuff and they liked it so they asked me to open for them. I was nervous but I played all original material in front of 2000 people and they all responded so well, the energy was amazing.

[JS] Describe your music in a few words. What does everyone else say?
[NM] I really like to mix it up. I tell people I make Pop music, because "Pop" is a very vague genre to me. Making "Pop" music gives me the ability to jump around different themes, while still keeping it all relatively catchy and easy to understand after a listen or two. Other people describe my music as house, disco, electro, funk, and even techno at times. Listen to a recent original track I put out, "Fit Girls".

[JS] How are people responding to your live shows? What direction is it taking you?
[NM] The response has been great. It's always a little nerve wracking playing alongside DJ's who have hundreds of other artists music to play, while I only have my music and my remixes to play, but I've consistently felt great energy in the clubs I've played at, and that is what counts.

[JS] What motivates you to do what you do now?
[NM] Hmm...mainly to get better at what I do. Also, to gain appreciation for it and respect among other top artist-producers. I guess you could say I crave approval.

[JS] What's next for you?
[NM] I will be releasing and EP in Holland and remixes in LA under a label called Synth City.


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Posted by Joselito at 10:35 AM | 0 comments read on


Santogold (New York City)

Heralding out of the New York City new wave hipster scene representing the changes and the face of new talent here in the US is non other than former front person of the famed punk band, Stiffed, who is now widely known by her nickname in the 80’s, SANTOGOLD. Santo White, a remarkable stage performer and recording artist, grew up in Philadelphia and attended Wesleyan University where she studied Music and African-American Studies. Being the only person of color in her school, it was a great challenge for her to fit in, until she managed to become a representative figure in their small but concrete punk scene as a “bully.” Winning her bragging rights, she went on to graduate and work for Epic Records as an A&R representative until her jump into the music scene as a producer for the well accepted How I Do by artist RES.

White began singing for the punk outfit, Stiffed, in 2003 and quickly developed a big following and landing them the support of Bad Brains’s legendary bassist, Darryl Jenifer, who produced their two album releases, Sex Sells (2003) and Burned Again (2005). She then went on her own to pursue a solo career that earned her comparison to other top international acts such as M.I.A. and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs while garnering the attention of Rolling Stones and other media outlets as the artist to look out for in 2008. Her recent release of music videos for her new wave infused songs such as Lights Out, L.E.S. Artistes, and the dub styled The Creation are for sure indicators that her talent and cross genre appeal is tried and true. Not only does she encapsulate the power of musical transparency but she also offers a strong representation of how to defy stereotypes in this day and age.

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Posted by Joselito at 12:42 PM | 0 comments read on


Love Like Fire (San Francisco)

I recently discovered a “new” indie band during a live show at The Rickshaw, SF’s premiere indie rock venue, that turned out to be from our own beloved city. The band is called Love Like Fire, signed to an indie UK label (Heist or Hit), and they just got back from touring the states with a successful outcome. Their live show was energetic and the music was very progressive! The audience was a mix of loyal followers and new listeners but everyone was so enthralled and mesmerized that I just have to write about them.

The pleasure in meeting their lead vocalist and guitarist front-woman, Ann Yu, proved to extend beyond a simple greeting. Her demeanor is friendly and pleasant off the stage with an unwavering talent for performance on stage. She gave me an interview and this is what she had to say:

[JS] At the show last Friday, i caught up with two fans outside who commented on the difference between the way LLF sounded before and how you sound now. They mentioned that, whereas it was more melancholy and “shoegaze” before, LLF has become more rock and progressive. How would you describe the progression of the band’s sound from the first two albums to now?

[AY] I think there has always been an element of melancholy and bittersweet in the music but it’s taken shape in various forms that is different than some of the older material. There are several songs on the new album which are dreamy and awash with guitars as well, we just didn’t feel this was the only aspect of us musically. We tried to capture the different sides of LLF, there is always an underlying melancholic element even in some of our more upbeat songs, it’s always an underlying theme, something that inspires me in the creative process. And also, our live sets are always changing and sometimes can be more high energy and upbeat than other times depending on what suits our mood.

[JS] Other fans mentioned that being signed might’ve had an effect in the style of the band’s music, hinting that a producer or the label influenced the direction of the band. In what ways have being signed to a UK indie label affected the band’s attitude and music?

[AY] Our label has been very supportive of our music and allowed us to express ourselves creatively with complete freedom, an amazing thing in the current state of the music industry. I would say if our fans are hearing any change in direction, it might be mainly that sometimes we like to play some songs and not others during a set, the upcoming album contains a lot of songs we have yet to play live, that people haven’t heard yet, so I’d be curious as to what they were referencing?

[JS] As for the indie rock culture in San Francisco, could you comment on the current state of live band performances/venues and any remarkable difference you might’ve found while on the road? Any particular vignettes to share?

[AY] I think San Francisco, has an abundance of great medium size indie venues which was not true in a lot of other cities. In SF, you can go see a number of great shows on any given night, which usually means there’s always tough competition for attendance to shows, It seems the proportion of bands and live music venues to actual music fans is pretty big in SF. Being in SF, we have a very unique microcosm of a music scene, you can see a huge array of different acts all the time and it’s no indication of what is popular elsewhere in the country really.

[JS] What are LLF’s near future plans?

[AY] Our album is coming out in 2009 and then more touring, lots more shows…
Posted by Joselito at 1:03 PM | 0 comments read on


Lilofee (San Francisco)

I’ve been following a certain local talent for a number of years now here in San Francisco. She’s a German implant and goes by the name of Kimi. She is a tremendous front woman with a booming voice and a deeply sweet temperament that resonate through her performance showmanship. Anyone who’s seen and heard her in her past stage manifestations (local indie-electro live band The Invisibles and the ghetto rap trailer trash trio No Condom, Whatever!) would know that she only knows maximum performance when given the microphone and never lets the crowd down. Because of her beautiful voice and approachability off stage, she’s garnered a loyal following of like-vibe subculture fashionistas as well as general live music appreciators. Then she disappeared to New York City and we didn’t hear of her again.

About a year or two later, she returned to San Francisco and joined forces with an electronic musician and producer, Rob (keys/guitars). After several smooth recording sessions, they linked up with two other important players in the hipster subculture, Dan (drums) from Every Move A Picture and Cyrus (bass), an established party promoter and entrepreuner. The four immediately hit the live circuit playing venues such as Popscene, a decade long Brit-Pop institution in San Francisco, and Mezzanine SF, to name a few. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and everyone welcomes her newest manifestation as her best yet and the band most solid. This is definitely the ticket and the momentum has already begun. Look forward to hearing more of Lilofee for sure.

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Posted by Joselito at 1:05 PM | 0 comments read on

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Location: SF, CA