Shura shares millennial insecurities, that Nothing’s Real

...dz N Stuff”), really sparkle on a debut album that glitters. That, or the influence of Madonna has permeated through the generations. Nothing’s Real is bissected with two lo-fi breakers: “(i)” and “(ii),” the latter of which features a recording of dialogue between a young girl and an older male figure. They set the tone simply as hazy and a little ungrounded, but in familiar sounds and feelings. She’s recorded as wanting to appear unexpected,...

Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood is just “too good”

...s and glitchy vocal samples, tracks like “Fools” and “Youth” are reminiscent of Flume, SOHN, or ODESZA, all of whom have carved a niche in the EDM genre through their experimental yet infectious sounds. Furthermore, the many features by fellow Oceanic artists like Broods, Betty Who, Tkay Maizda, and Alex Hope help the album truly capture the unique qualities of the rising Australian pop landscape. Though parts of the album deal with...

Interview: Out for tea with Japanese Breakfast

...far? It’s been great, really relaxing. The drives are still pretty short. I’m living in Philly now so I don’t feel like I’m on tour yet because I’m going back to pick up a bunch of stuff I forgot. You’ve had some pretty big features lately, like for Rolling Stones and NPR. At what point did it dawn on you that Japanese Breakfast is becoming huge and that you felt that you’ve made it? It was probably when I played at SXSW (South by Southwest)....

Mitski slays happiness with guitars on Puberty 2

...x and leaves just as fleetingly. “Happy” begins on a clipping electronic drum sample, introducing Mitski’s lower registered, drowned-in-reverb vocals that evoke the image of her singing to ghosts in haunted theater. The song features the record’s only prominent horn section that allows the song to build and finally break halfway through, backed by a marching beat that brings the song triumphantly to Mitski’s eventual conclusion: “ If you’re...

Down a rabbit hole: the state of critique

...uated from Yale, then UC Berkeley with degrees in music. The New York Times’ Ben Ratliff is going on 20 years and teaches journalism at NYU. What critique looks like, however, has shifted. It ranges from short blurbs to long features, crowdsourcing to monopolistic musings. Critique is choosing to review (and in turn, publicize) certain art and neglecting others. In the past five semesters, our writers have consistently named friends, digital...

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Mitski at Starline Social Club Oakland

If you missed Mitski on Upper Sproul this semester, you’re in luck. We’re giving away a pair of tickets to her all-ages show at the Starline Social Club in Oakland on Friday, July 8, which also features San Francisco-based Jay Som and the stunning, Philadelphia-born Michelle Zauner as Japanese Breakfast. Mitski has an impressive array of work, spanning four albums over five years. With singles like “Your Best American...
Andrew Bird - Are You Serious

Andrew Bird delivers expected consistency on Are You Serious

...as he distills his very unique sound. There are some notable highlights; the title track contains one of the strongest, most memorable melodies Bird has deployed. “Roma Fade” bounces along at an impressively quick tempo and features thicker violin arrangements than we’ve seen before, and “Valleys of the Young” moves into the big, sentimental ballad territory typical of Bird’s album closers, but this time with some additional force behind it as...

Ta-ku breaks things up, gets emotional with Songs To Make Up To

...gs To Make Up To, on June 12 via Fools Gold Records / Future Classic. This EP is the complementary piece to his previous Songs To Break Up To (2013). On the new record, Ta-ku dives deeper into defined vocals and lyrics as he features accompanying vocalists Atu, Jordan Rakei, and Sunni Colon. Both musically and thematically, the EP seems to evoke a sense of progression and advocate working through tensions, starting with lead single “Love...

Interview: Guantanamo Baywatch talk Burger Boogaloo 2015

...tly released their album Darling… It’s Too Late (2015) via Suicide Squeeze Records and are playing Burger Records’ Burger Boogaloo festival in Oakland once again. The festival returns for its sixth year and features multiple artists from the Burger Records roster with a mix of legendary garage rock heroes. As Guantanamo Baywatch finished up the end of their Canada dates, I caught up with the band’s guitarist Jason Powell...

EZTV debut with Calling Out on Captured Tracks

...while attempting to write his own solo album and after a few local shows, an unsuccessful Spiritualized touring audition, and several demo recordings, the band settled down and got in touch with Captured Tracks. Calling Out features familiar classic rock melodies and guitar riffs crossed with beachy vibes and rolling bass. When you close your eyes and hear songs like “Dust in the Sky,” images of The Beatles singing over the music...

Preview: Porches and Japanese Breakfast Take Berkeley Campus

...mortalize other people because that’s how I find meaning in my life, and my mom wasn’t one who did that for herself.” Standout single “Everybody Wants to Love You” is filled to the brim with chiming guitar melodies and features backing vocals from Sam Cook-Parrott of Radiator Hospital (a.k.a. the favorite indie rock band of all your favorite indie rock bands). She’s fresh off an expansive tour with Mitski and Jay Som that made a triumphant...

Q&A: Darryl Holter to perform early Radio Songs by Woody Guthrie Sunday

...ulture across the nation. The two-year stint serves as the foundation of musician, historian, and activist Darryl Holter’s recent Radio Songs: Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles 1937–1939, out last month via 213 Music. Radio Songs features ten renditions of original Guthrie material as collected, curated, and performed by Holter. A sort of aural history text, Ben Wendel’s production and Holter’s arrangements are clean and concise; as a glimpse into...

Gacha explores melody, paints a comfortable haze with debut LP

...onsistent, insofar as it is without destination, ending anticlimactically as each harmony drifts away into the distance. If that doesn’t float your boat, there’s lyrical material like “Waterfall.” The lead single features soft female vocals from Beridze, calmly describing a serene apocalypse: “blue and grey / sunset in waves / the world’s ending.” Again, there is little sense of urgency in this six-minute movement of pleasant synth...

RATATAT return triumphant, Magnifique after five years

...d stops, Magnifique also reinforces RATATAT’s retro influences, which (musically) span blues rock, early millennium hip hop, and classical music. The melodies, original through “Primetime,” are joyous as ever, and the record features a cover of Phil Cordell’s 1971 hit, “I Will Return.” We suspect RATATAT purists will rejoice over Magnifique’s return to RATATAT’s roots. Instead of feeling like a regression or a departure, RATATAT have made, after...

It’s time to get silly with Hungry Skinny at Elbo Room

...sco local outfit Hungry Skinny is gearing up to throw one hell of a party at this historic site on Saturday in anticipation of the release of their self-titled debut. Highlights from the album include single “Hot Dang” which features a ridiculously whimsical and entertaining music video and the equally unique “John Wayne’s Teeth.” Hungry Skinny presents a contemporary interpretation of classic rock and roll with a sound that lights a fire under...