Thee Oh Sees demolish at Phono Del Sol

I was lucky enough to be the artist relations guy all day at The Bay Bridged’s big summer festival, Pono Del Sol. The highlight of the day, besides all the bands being totally chill and easy to work with (a first in my experience), was when Thee Oh Sees invited the whole crowd up onto the stage for their closer, “Dead Energy.” Bouncing around on stage with these guys prompted me to pick up a copy of their latest record, Floating Coffin, which not only made me an unequivocal fan of the band after all these years, but is easily one of the top contenders for Album of the Year, in my opinion. And it all started right here:

The Oh Sees – “Dead Energy” – live at Phono del Sol 2013 from The Bay Bridged on Vimeo.

The real face of gun ownership in this country

Can we please quit pretending like the gun debate has anything to do with “responsible gun owners” and their rights?

If you want to see the real face of gun ownership in this country—by which I mean the visible gun owners, the ones making the most noise, the driving force behind the anti-gun regulation bitchfest—watch this video of an idiot redneck road raging on a bunch of teenagers, starting shit he couldn’t finish, and then pulling a gun out like the chickenshit he is:

(h/t Daily Kos)

Thao Nguyen’s new promo video is brilliant

I love this video, great promo for Thao & The Get Down Stay Down‘s new album. But the best part is that it stars a friend of mine, Caelan Wallace, the 12-year-old critic who wrecks Thao’s life with his scathing review: “Thao’s music is what would happen if elevator music and a dial tone had a sober one night stand.” I hope to some day write that good of a line in a review.

My “Best of Bay Area local music” list

I wrote this post for TheBayBridged.com.

Well, 2012 was a pretty stellar year for music (both from the Bay Area and from the rest of the world), and I just want to call out a few of my local favorites from the year. I’m restricting myself because I’m not going to mention how Pussy Riot inspired the whole planet with their punk prayer protesting the repressive Russian regime, or how I literally did not stop playing GrimesVisions for about 6 months after it came out. Nope, not even going to go there.

Best Local Show by a Local Band

My favorite local show of the year was one I didn’t even see: Tartufi at Rock Make, the annual art and music street fest thrown by The Bay Bridged along with The Bold Italic and the members of Tartufi themselves.

I was stage managing at the other end of the fest during Tartufi’s set, so I didn’t get to watch it, but I gave my trusty handheld recorder to a friend to record for my “Bay Area Live” podcast on BreakThruRadio.com (BTR). When I went back and listened to the set in order to edit it for use on my show, it completely blew me away. This is one of the few shows I’ve done for BTR that I went back to and listened to many, many times after spending the initial time editing and mastering. Pure post-rock bliss from the local band of the decade, Tartufi.

Here’s my year-end podcast of the best sets I played on my show in 2012, which, of course, features Tartufi prominently, right at the beginning:

Best Local Show by a Non-Local Band

Wye Oak completely killed it at The Independent as part of Noise Pop 2012, way back in February. Their set has stood the test of time and is definitely the single show that stands out to me as the best I saw in the Bay Area in 2012 by a traveling band. If you just watch them covering Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” (above), you’ll get what I’m saying. I don’t think there’s anything else I need to add.

Best Album by a Local Band

High on Fire never disappoints, but their new one – De Vermis Mysteriis – is richly deserving of the title of best album released by a Bay Area band in 2012. Singer/guitarist Matt Pike is pretty much a full-on metal god, and he probably would be even if the relatively short career of Sleep was the only credit to his name. But over a much longer career with High on Fire, he has continued to put out some of the heaviest, sludgiest riffs ever to grace the ears of us mere mortals. Check out “King of Days”, my favorite track from the new album, and realize you can’t even argue with me here:

FreemadeSF is alive!

I’m stoked to finally announce the launch of FreemadeSF, the publishing company I’m starting with my good buddy Mark Pantoja. Our first release will be Mark’s book of short stories, Other Possibilities, coming out early next year (most likely February). Check out FreemadeSF.com for updates.

We put together an audio book version of “Buck,” one of the stories from Other Possibilities, and commissioned a series of original illustrations by my pal Bryan Reyna. It will be available as a podcast and as a YouTube video, which will include the illustrations. (If you want audio only, go here).