LIVE REVIEW: Brown Shoe @ Hotel Utah 3/3

Charming alternative rock quintet, ‘Brown Shoe’ smoothly combines popular indie rock with a more mature atmospheric sound – think Band of Horses meets Of Monsters And Men.

At first glance, local Folsom lads appear pretty fresh faced. However, the four brothers have already knocked out three commercially successful LPs and a number of North American tours

by Cameron Marling 

Hotel Utah is best known for showcasing some of the Bay Area’s ‘best kept secrets’; bands that are on the cusp of breaking through. It is always a little frustrating to see an awesome band play to such a small crowd and unfortunately this was the case on Saturday night.

Dressed sharply in denim shirts, the four brothers (and cousin on keys), adopted a no nonsense approach to their set and wasted no time playing through their first four songs, including the infectiously catchy tracks ‘All of Your Ghosts’ and ‘Colt Rider’ from their recently released album ‘The Gift Horse.’

Guitarist, Aaron and bassist Bryson bore no illusion to their experience playing together. The extremely tight wispy sound added a new element of emotion, which I didn’t previously grasp whilst listening to them through my computer speakers. Charismatic front man, Ryan’s rustic voice suits the alternative rock bands style to a tee adding an atmospheric nature to the songs. At various points through the set I felt like an extra on a movie set, particularly though the single ‘Aquarium’, from the album Jackalope (listen below).

Brown Shoe is currently on tour promoting ‘The Gift Horse.’ As the band flirts with various indie sub genres so fans of Band of Horses, Death Cab For Cutie, Sigur Ros, Fun., The Lonely Forrest should definitely check them out!

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Tour dates below..


 San Diego, CA, US
The Ruby Room

Mar 08

Santa Monica, CA, US

Mar 09

Las Vegas, NV, US

Mar 10

Flagstaff, AZ, US

Mar 11

Albuquerque, NM, US

Mar 12

Dallas, TX, US

Mar 14

Austin, TX, US

Mar 15

Austin, TX, US

Mar 19

Houston, TX, US

Mar 20

Shreveport, LA, US

Mar 21

Nashville, TN, US

Mar 23

Pawleys Island, SC, US

Mar 24

Baltimore, MD, US

Mar 25

Washington, DC, US

Mar 27

Philadelphia, PA, US

Mar 28

New York, NY, US

Mar 29

Brooklyn, NY, US

Mar 30

Pittsburgh, PA, US

Mar 31

Bloomington, IN, US

Apr 03

Saint Louis, MO, US

Apr 05

Denver, CO, US

Apr 07

Spokane, WA, US

Apr 08

Seattle, WA, US

LIVE REVIEW: Sad Baby Wolf 2/20/12 @ Bottom of the Hill

‘As one door closes, another door opens.’ This saying rings true to the last two years of Marty Crandall’s life and the unlikely formation of Sad Baby Wolf.

After being ‘let go’ from The Shins in 2010, Crandall returned home to Alberquerque to lick his wounds. Later that year, Crandall formed Sad Baby Wolf with fellow-former Shins guitarist, Neil Langford.

Since SBW’s ‘homecoming’ formation the five-piece rock/folk band have released two singles – ‘8th Level’ and ‘Survival Guide,’ both premiered on Under The Radar – listen below

by Cameron Marling 


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In addition to their early commercial success, the Alberquerque locals have gained 22,000 air plays and feature spots on AOL Music and We Are Hunted.

Admittedly, when SBW walked on stage to a packed Bottom of The Hill crowd, I was expecting to hear the familiar pop indie sounds of The Shins. To my surprise, I was treated to a stripped down aggressive rock sound.

Half way through the set, Crandall announced it was the band’s first live performance outside of Alberqueque – yet another surprise as they played with the chemistry of a band that has toured all over the country.

Guitarist, Langford and bassist, McCullough meshed well together allowing Crandall to steal the spotlight with his sharp vocal delivery and catchy melodies.

8th Floor is the standout track for SBW. The 12 string acoustic intro builds into the verse melody, reminiscent of the Gallagher Brothers.

SBW plan to release their debut LP in the Spring of 2012. In my opinion, Spring is the perfect time to uncage these upbeat catchy songs.

Fans of The Shins, The Hold Steady and Beady Eye should look into SBW.

Welcome to the Music Business, You’re Fucked @ SF MusicTech Summit

by Cameron Marling 

Martin Atkins closed The SF MusicTech Summit in style tonight with his presentation, “Welcome To The Music Business – You’re Fucked.’ Atkins, best known for his drum work in punk bands, Public Image Ltd.MinistryPigface, and Killing Joke, ripped through the packed room while emphasising the need to think objectively in order to receive the best outcomes in the music business

Feel free to stream the audio clip below while flipping through the ‘fucked’ images. You can download Atkins’s book “Welcome To The Music Business – You’re Fucked” for free here

BE ADVISED: Extreme language warning! 

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Digital Strategy Panel Discussion @ SF MusicTech Summit

As the link between music and technology strengthens, digital strategy has become a crucial topic in the new music business model. The SF MusicTech Panelists (below) discussed everything from determining your competition, being the first to act and being willing to accept failure

by Cameron Marling 

Rachel Masters – Red Magnet Media

Glenn Miller – Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

Ted Cohen – TAG Strategic

Ethan Kaplan – LiveNation

J Sider – BandPage 

Ken Waagner – Ken Waagner 

Stream the part 1 and 2 of the Digital Strategy Panel from the 2012 SF MusicTech Summit. Listeners be advised, there is a language warning on these tracks! 

Part 1

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Part 2

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Nic Adler – Social & Live @ SF MusicTech Summit

Nick Adler, owener of The Roxy Lounge, Adler Integrated Marketing and producer of The Sunset Strip Music Festival talks in depth about creating a community through various social media platforms. Listen below to see how you now need to go further than just using Facebook and Twitter to promote shows to the masses

by Cameron Marling 

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LIVE REVIEW: The Limousines w/ A B & The Sea and The Hundred Days

Having already seen The Hundred Days and The Limousines, I arrived to The Independent earlier than usual to catch the opening band, A B & The Sea.

A B & The Sea play catchy surf rock and they look damn good doing it! The San Francisco 5-piece asserts influences such as The Beach Boys and Paul Simon and it’s apparent in their flawless harmonies. Playing with a modern pop edge mastered by more recent favorites like The Format and Nada Surf, A B & The Sea perfectly combine the classic elements with good old indie pop. Lead singer Koley O’Brien is the ultimate front man; decked in cowboy boots and shades he possesses a timeless charm befitting the band’s ‘old-school’ influences.

by Cameron Marling 

Song after song provokes toe tapping throughout the venue and on this rainy San Francisco night, it’s a wistful journey to someplace sunnier. Listing ‘bonfires on the beach’ and ‘couches on rooftops’ as influences, it’s easy to see what Koley and guitarist Joe Spargur were chasing when they packed their bags and left Wisconsin in 2008. They sure found it in A B & The Sea. The single “In The Sunshine” was released back in October 2011 and it’s the picture of summertime. Bassist, Ben Laatsch and O’Brien flaunt perfect harmonies that complement the classic simplicity of the song. A B & The Sea have not only proved that they can write great pop songs, but they also know how to deliver on-stage.

A B & The Sea will be playing at The Great American Music Hall on Feb 18th w/ Pomplamoose. Tickets here.

With this being the second time I have seen The Hundred Days play live, I have to say that their charm was lost a little at a second glance. The four-piece electro indie band seem to race through their songs seamlessly, yet I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. While it can be tough to pull from the same repertoire show after show, local artists need to work harder to impress fans each and every time they hit the stage. It can’t have helped that the set was sandwiched between two of the best performances I’ve seen this year.

All that aside, The Hundred Days bust out lyrically strong tunes that get the crowd going, just as they did for me the last time. It may well be that the intense sexual energy exuded by vocalist Jon Smith, is better the first time! I’ll definitely check out this band again, I’ll just be looking for something fresh on stage.

Check out a live clip of “Sex U” here.

In preparation for the Limousines, the stage was transformed into a set fitting for an electro-pop dance party and the crowd waited in anticipation as the house music slowly dropped out. In true showman style, vocalist Eric Victorino rushed onto stage armed with a mega phone, his face and clothesdripping with fake blood. Joined by (a similarly ‘deathly’) Giovanni Giusti, the band busted out their vocally heavy hit “Dancing At Her Funeral” in the dark.

The rest of the set was just as explosive, incorporating strong lighting and huge balloons that were bounced around the crowd. The confetti-filled toys hung around just long enough to be interesting, at which point Victorino would shower the crowd with confetti with the prick of a pin.  The well-known ‘Internet Killed the Video Star’ came right on time, as the duo delivered a tune to really dance to.

 The Limousines have built a name for themselves since being signed to Dangerbird Records in December of 2010, touring with Neon Trees and The Sounds in 2011. Looking forward, the band announced mid-set that they will be going on a European tour soon, an experience Victorino said “will show (them) a whole new sense of humility.” The European tour consists of shows throughout Britain, Spain, Germany and France and will no doubt attract even greater support for these talented San Francisco artists.


They concluded their set with a cover of Paul Simon’s classic single “You Can Call Me Al”. The relevance of the track was probably lost on a large proportion of the crowd who may have been too young to know it well, but played with The Limousine’s characteristic electro pop sound, the crowd kept dancing to the end. Victorino gave a shout out to his dad in the crowd and it was one of those moments when you realize rock stars have parents, too!

Check out The Limousines playing their single “Internet Killed The Video Star.”







A few weeks ago a friend put me onto I The Mighty, a Californian progressive/alternative rock band in the same vein as Circa Survive and Saosin. I initially assumed the band must be based out of LA as many other up and coming alternative rock bands are. It was refreshing to find that the four-piece band are in fact San Francisco locals. A hometown show at Bottom Of The Hill last Thursday 1/12 was a perfect live introduction to the band

by Cameron Marling 

I The Mighty play with the same emotion and flair as many well-known acts like Chiodos and Scary Kids Scaring Kids. Fans of the genre could probably save a few pennies on a headlining act and see I The Mighty play instead.

Front man Brent Walsh and lead guitarist Ian Pedigo trade off catchy riffs that compliment pitch perfect melodies, blending hooks into choruses and choruses into interludes with great ease. As a guitarist myself, I am always keen to see a band take the audience along for the ride with a simple click of a distortion pedal.

Half way through the set the band launched into their new single. “Cutting Room Floor”, a lyrically intense track produced by Erik Ron (best known for his work with Panic! At The Disco and Versa Emerge) strikes the perfect balance between the bands signature progressive rock sound and a more grasping pop melody.

I The Mighty are currently on tour (see dates below) promoting their new album Karma Never Sleeps. Check out SF-Intercom and I Heart SF Bands Facebook pages to get tour updates from Stefan Aronsen on tour with the boys.

Mar 08 Red House Walnut Creek, CA
Mar 09 Refuge Cupertino, CA
Mar 10 Golden State Hall Bakersfield, CA
Mar 11 Rock City Studios Camarillo, CA
Mar 12 Nile Underground Mesa, AZ
Mar 13 ENMUR-PAC Roswell, NM

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POPSCENE 12/8: The Frail + The Hundred Days

Last night was my first Popscene experience and the indie club night certainly lived up to its reputation of fast times, good bands and lots of dancing.

by Cameron Marling

Indie pop darlings, The Frail started the night off right with a tight set played to a growing crowd. Vocalist, Daniel Lannon spent most of his time between the crowd and the stage as the band delivered their 3-minute catchy tunes to a very receptive crowd. The local four-piece closed their set with “Frenemies” from their newest EP ‘Lasers Over Lovers’ and Lannon invited the crowd on stage to finish their set with a bang.

Under a sea of laser lights, show stealers The Hundred Days kept heartbeats racing as they flew through the first half of their set. The band brought their British inspired indie songs back to back, only stopping for a spot of social commentary about a guy attempting to pick up at the bar by vocalist, Jonathan Smith.

The Hundred Days are a captivating live band to listen to and watch. It’s easy to see why The Hundred Days pull a crowd and booked a spot on the SXSW 2011 line up.

The Frail are playing at The Independent on 1/30. Keep an eye out for both bands as they are best heard live!

The Hundred Days: Sex U
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The Fail: Heartbeats
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The Hundred Days

The Frail




EP REVIEW: Pictures In Sound

by Cameron Marling

Pictures In Sound are a progressive rock/experimental four piece band based out of Los Angeles, California. The band released their self-titled EP online in October and have since been featured on

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The 6 track EP was self-recorded and produced in the band’s rehearsal space with help from engineer Andrew Maltese of Speakeasy Studios. The EP draws heavily from experimental bands like Circa Survive, whose front man [Colin Frangicetto] designed and painted the cover artwork.

The band’s debut EP is a roller coaster of sounds that needs to be experienced in its entirety to be truly appreciated. Lead singer Chris Michael layers his saxophone over the interlude of the opening track “Chemicals” and the instrumental track “Before The Fall” forming a powerful wall of dark and unique sounds.

The Californian experimental rockers were recently hailed as “one of the best modern rock bands” by the Likes for Locals (a popular public PR Facebook page) team. Fans of Circa Survive, Saosin and Sunny Day Real Estate will like what Pictures In Sound has to offer!

Pictures In Sound will be donating half of the album sales to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 













THE FRAIL, Frenemies Video & Show

by Cameron Marling

Indie-electro four-piece band The Frail has just released their music video for Frenemies, the second single off Lasers Over Lovers EP, released earlier this year.

The viewer is slowly awakened by a 90 second introduction reminiscent of Deathcab for Cutie’s ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’, as we see the band regrouping after a night out. When the song kicks in vocalist Daniel Lannon becomes the centre of attention and the band’s signature synth-pop really takes off.

San Francisco locals should feel right at home in this video, with scenes shot at various bars around town – Beauty Bar, Kilowatt, Delirium, Milk and Phoenix.

The Frail will return to Popscene (Rickshaw Stop) on Thursday 12/8 where they caused a ‘dance party riot’ last time they graced the stage. Tickets $10-12 at the door!