HEARTWATCH (fka The Tropics) Headline Their Coming Out Party at Rickshaw Stop




Words by: Chris Ryan Mannix // Photos by: Kristina Bakrevski

The Tropics claimed the headlining act at the Rickshaw Stop Thursday evening.  This was a big night for The Tropics’, showcasing songs off the highly anticipated EP due later this year.  It was also their last club performance before diving into 2015’s festival season.

As we watched The Tropics fan out across the stage to square up with their overwhelming welcome committee, San Francisco was eager for their hometown heroes to light up the stage and burn off the gloomy fog that has dampened the city’s energy level this past week.

Claire George leapt onto the stage with indigo blue pants that rocked ruffles at the waist and were riddled with red-puckered lips.  But this was not the loudest statement of the night.  After commanding the dance through their first two songs, “The New King of California” and “Bored At Best” the SF five piece dropped a bomb, announcing a name change and blowing minds.  The artists formerly known as The Tropics are entering this summer’s festival circuit as HEARTWATCH.



HEARTWATCH, as the Tropics, opened for The Cathedrals during the Noise Pop wave this past February at The Independent, stealing much attention and giving their home town a brief preview of what they were to let loose.

After dropping the big news, with the house visibly shocked and throwing around various side-mouthed opinions of the rebranding, HEARTWATCH returned to the music with “Faultline.”  It was evident that the mob at the Rickshaw was caught well off guard, dancing on near autopilot through the next couple songs.  But by the time they brought us to the fan-favorite, “Sons & Daughters,” Claire and HEARTWATCH had successfully proven that they were still the same beloved band, blasting warm beach vibes that never let you stand still.  And for the rest of the show, Heartwatch kept the Rickshaw Stop dancing freely.



HEARTWATCH, formerly The Tropics, is set to perform Outside Lands on Saturday Aug 8th.  Stay tuned for stage and time.

(Favorite tracks seen live: Bored at Best, Sons & Daughters, Fireproof, New King of California)

Kendra McKinley’s New Single- Fine as a Vine

Fine as a Vine art

Kendra McKinley is known to many for her mellow bossa nova inspired songs. Her debut album, Chestnut Street, features solo acoustic guitar and voice, sometimes trading guitar for vocal loops. It is an album for sitting at the window sill on a rainy day with a steaming cup of Earl Grey.

With her newest single, Fine as a Vine, the rain has dissipated and the sun has come out. You can trade that cup of Earl Grey for substances with a little more color. That lone acoustic guitar is joined by its fuzzy electric brother (performed by McKinley’s real life fuzzy brother, AJ McKinley) along with swirling organs, and a pounding rhythm section. The delicate vocal harmonies are now a powerhouse of tight and dizzying layers of voices.

The song kicks off with nothing to hide, a crash cymbal and a thumping melody from the bass. If the listener isn’t moving their hips from the get go, they never will. Also, they are dead. The groove is infectious and the energy is kinetic, this is psychedelic rock that demands a movin’ booty.

While no space has been left for the song to grow in energy, interjections and flourishes from ethereal voices and guitars keep the tune from growing stale. Yet the most successful moments of the song come through deprivation; the band drops for the bridge, a single low melody from the acoustic guitar is all that is left to accompany McKinley’s voice. As the single line of the bridge repeats, band members join back in, slowly building up the anticipation for the moment when the band thunderously returns in full force for a final gratifying verse.

Recorded at Coast Recorders in San Francisco, Fine as a Vine, will be featured on Kendra’s sophomore record which will be released later in 2015. The track was engineered by Andy Freeman along with assistant engineer Nigel Brown. The track was co-produced by Andy Freeman, Kendra McKinley, and AJ McKinley and was mastered by Piper Payne.

The band features a bay area all star lineup:
Kendra McKinley: vocals, acoustic guitar, song, arrangement
Peter Granquist (Guy Fox): drums, vocals
Jesse Toews (Sun Hop Fat): bass
A.J McKinley (Battlehooch): electric guitar, piano, melotron, trumpet
Alison Kane (Van Wave): vocals
Sharon Litzky: vocals

You can catch Kendra McKinley live at The Chapel on May 19th

Stream or download Fine as a Vine at:

Picture Atlantic & Owl Paws at Thee Parkside

On Tuesday June 25th, San Francisco-based Owl Paws finally got to play a show with San Jose’s Picture Atlantic. The two local bands opened for Vinnie Caruana of The Movielife and Geoff Rickly of Thursday, who are on tour together, playing acoustic.

During Owl Paws’ opening set, guitarist Colin Hayes said Picture Atlantic is one of his favorite local bands and that it was such a pleasure to be able to play a show with them. Touted as an acoustic show, Owl Paws and Picture Atlantic actually played full-band. However, those familiar with Owl Paws know that frontman Derek Schultz plays acoustic guitar, and bassist Timothy Vickers plays upright bass, so they are always sort of acoustic. The set included some songs from the Carry On EP, as well as new songs from the upcoming EP Cold Lead Bath, set to be released July 17th at Elbo Room, with Cold Eskimo, Dogcatcher, and The Crux.

Picture Atlantic played a somewhat stripped-down set: they played older songs which are more reliant on Nik Bartunek’s acoustic guitar. Drummer Daniel Martinez had a minimal kit and keyboardist Brian Graves played a small organ. The band played several songs off the album Kleos, which came out five years ago this week and rarely gets played at shows. The band sat out as Nik played a brand-new song by himself. Picture Atlantic will be announcing a very special show in San Francisco very soon.

Thee Parkside is a small venue which gets hot and stuffy quite quickly, but has a back patio and a fantastic menu, so I sat out Vinnie Caruana’s set and had some delicious curry tots – highly recommended. I’m also not very familiar with Geoff Rickly’s music, both solo and with Thursday, but what I heard was great. Emotional, powerful, and with good banter in between songs. Vinnie and Geoff closed out the show playing Thursday and Movielife songs together, with one picking his favorite of the other’s band’s songs




Folk / Roots Music / Other
Santa Cruz
United States




honey.moon.tree. is in love with you already… we make the songs from far off lands, complete with ancient world superimposition over electronic and auxiliary percussion and singing that are sometimes performed and recorded. When recording, goji makes sound and current makes faces. when goji see’s face mirror makes a mask on current then with mask:sound sent through long tubes and received by sound bounce they make (2c)(b3) or (some lines are missing…)
(go to myspace for the rest www.myspace.com)

Photo by Stefan – SF Intercom

French Miami


Psychedelic / Dub / Big Beat
San Francisco
United States


Roland, Jay, Chris


“Ummmmm…..holy shit. Holy, holy shit. That is pretty much, with all the eloquence I own mustered, the only way I know how to describe French Miami. Words don’t really do justice to what this trio brings to the table, and upon hearing and seeing this band for the first time I really don’t know what else to say but, well, holy shit.” – Wiretapmusic.com

Photo by Stefan – SF Intercom



Indie / Shoegaze / Electro
San Francisco, California
United States


Guitar – Atom Ray
Keys – Heidi B.
Bass – Tim Lillis
Drums – Amol Sogal


Microfiche is an instrumental four-piece from San Francisco (a five-piece if you count archaic archiving machines turned light-sensitive instruments). Microfiche draw diagrams for your ears and mind. If you were to use the pinnacle of nineteenth-century signal processing technology to transpose the sounds of hope, despair, patterns, the lack of patterns, fear of mechanical men and whale calls, you would almost have the sound of Microfiche.

Photo by Stefan – SF Intercom