Reviews

January 15, 2018
Jawbreaker / Composite / Neutrals at Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

Neutrals were good, really dug them. 1990’s punkish indie rock played by three guys who looked like they were teens in that era. From what I could make out of the lyrics, it sounded like at least a couple of their songs were about California. At one point in their set, they made a joke about the show being a "punk rock parents date night" and asked people to raise their hands if that was true of them. A fair amount of the audience did so...

By Brooke
MG (Martin Gore) – MG
January 26, 2016
MG (Martin Gore) – MG

Martin Gore (the brainchild behind the lion's share of Depeche Mode's catalog, and my personal all-time favorite songwriter) released an instrumental record. The songs are fully fleshed out, and much more full musically than his previous instrumental project, VCMG (a duo-project with Vince Clarke). Sonically these tracks could very well be the music for Depeche Mode songs – they're dynamic, well structured and arranged. They don't need vocals – the tracks stand on their own, though I do wonder what they'd sound like with DM vocals over the top (and have caught myself trying to imagine what the vocals would sound like if they existed). That's not a slight to the songs – just the opposite. This album stands well on its own, it makes great background “while working” music yet is also intelligent enough for active listening.

Verdict: Buy it
Highlights: Pinking, Europa Hymn, Southerly, Featherlight
For fans of: Depeche Mode, VCMG, Kraftwerk

Lamb of God - VII: Strum Und Drang
January 25, 2016
Lamb of God - VII: Strum Und Drang

Lamb of God continue making records better than many of their peers, this one is no exception. The album is full of the typical highlights that make Lamb of God great -- epically creepy intros, amazing guitar arrangements that combine blues and trash metal influences. Several songs have big choruses bordering on pop in their catchiness -- "512" in particular. "Erase This" has one of the best choruses of any 2015 metal songs. "Overlord" shows the band puttting the blues influence much more up front, turning the volume down, and Randy Blythe singing (i.e. not screaming) thru the whole song, giving another great example of how Lamb of God are head and shoulders above their peers. The "Deluxe" version of the album includes 2 bonus tracks ("Wine & Piss" and "Nightmare Seeker") that are both more on the typical side of the band's sound -- worth hearing but there are enough break-out tracks on the standard edition to make it worth the the money if deluxe editions aren't your thing.

Verdict: Buy it
Highlights: Erase This, 512, Embers, Overlord

Disclosure - Caracal
January 5, 2016
Disclosure - Caracal

Disclosure grabs me more than many other electronic acts do. “Settle” was one of my favorite albums of 2014. It was so good, it somehow made other electronic albums I'd previously dismissed sound better and worthy of further listens. Seriously. “Caracal” is good, it has it's moments that grab me, but not nearly as often as “Settle” does. There are more guest appearances, and at times they overshadow the great work at the core of the Disclosure music happening. Friends of mine that don't listen to EDM find this to be a good thing, as they like the more accessible nature of the songs. That makes sense – which just further leaves me on the fence about this album. Credit where credit is due: the track featuring Lorde is stellar.

Verdict: Stream it
Highlights: Magnets, Nocturnal

March 11, 2015
7 Seconds / The Interrupters at The Catalyst, Santa Cruz (March 8, 2015)

In which we visit The Catalyst for the first time ever to watch 7 Seconds, and discovered The Interrupters...an amazingly rad bad in their own right.

April 11, 2014
Six Months with the Fractal Audio Axe Fx II

Kevin Collins from Too Much Fiction did a complete rebuild of his guitar rig. Replacing approximately 985 stomp boxes with the Fractal Audio Axe Fx II. He wrote up some nice thoughts on his experience with it, we lagged on getting those posted, so he wrote up some additional thoughts and we finally remembered to post it all here. Enjoy.

April 5, 2014
Race to the Bottom, Hero's Last Mission, Once An Empire at Powerhouse Pub, April 4 2013

Whoever has been complaining about the Sacramento Music Scene being dead is clearly living with some kind of blinders on. Last night at Powerhouse Pub, there was a packed house enjoying a high energy show from beginning to end.  And it was delivered by 3 of the hardest working bands coming out of Sacramento.

By Nolan
September 7, 2013
Filmage: The Story of Descendents/ALL

My mini-review of last night's screening of Filmage: The story of The Descendents/All consists of two words: see it.

It's showing tonight in SF and tomorrow in Oakland, then heading to various parts of Canada, then Dallas, and finally NYC. (Dates are on the website below, along with the trailer.)

 

By Tony Cervo
July 29, 2013
Bad Rabbits = Great Monday Night

"You're the center of attention just trying to get involved. Can't help but mention how fly you are. You damn sure ain't a strobe light, you're the Real McCoy. I just wanna make some mistakes."

April 19, 2010
Public Image Ltd, at The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, April 17, 2010

Full disclaimer: I've become more and more of a PIL fan-boy in the last few years, and 2 days after, I still feel like I'm buzzing from how good this show was. So this is probably not the most objective of reviews...