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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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
http://www.thechapelsf.com/event/834671-free-bar-show-kendra-mckinley-san-francisco/

Stream or download Fine as a Vine at:
https://kendramckinleymusic.bandcamp.com/

Ivan & Alyosha, The Record Company, and Branches at The Independent, 08.14.13

A last minute addition to the bill, San Francisco’s Branches started off the show with a living room-style set on the Independent’s big stage. They were impressive performing as a three-piece, but also made me wish to hear them full-band one of these days. I may not have much to say, but rest assured it’s because some things need to be experienced more than they need to be described.

Back in April, I photographed Tumbleweed Wanderers’ and Guy Fox’s show at the Independent, and a band from LA called The Record Company opened that show. They played again tonight, but it didn’t feel like a repeat performance of the previous show. Frontman Chris Vos and co played a soulful, rockin’ set and engaged the rather shy audience in some crowd participation.

Headliners of the evening were Seattle’s Ivan & Alyosha. A while back I downloaded a free acoustic EP of theirs from Noise Trade, largely because I knew what their band name references (two of the Brothers Karamazov from the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky). I liked what I heard but it wasn’t a very thorough introduction. I was pleasantly surprised that Ivan & Alyosha were not the stereotypical indie band – dudes who just kind of stand there and play their instruments. No! They ran around and interacted with each other on stage. After the show I spoke briefly with frontman Tim Wilson, and mentioned this to him. He said that way back when they first began playing music, they made a conscious decision to just let go and be themselves on stage – and it certainly works. Wednesday’s show will probably be one of my top 10 of 2013.

SOLWAVE EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE

Article by: Stefan – SF Intercom

Did I hear correctly… You dropped out of college to focus on your band?

If I did… I think that’s both awesome and horrible!!! (I’m not advocating it… but if they get famous… then they can simply say “I TOLD YOU SO!”) Solwave is an SF band that practices at Plug and Play… Side bar… Have you heard of this place? (I think I want to write about it!) I think they said it best on the site “Leave your amps and drum kit at home. Just bring your axe, cables, and sticks! Pick a date and time, reserve one of four sizes of fully equipped rehearsal studios, and come on down!” Anyway… I think you’ll “heart” Solwave…. for you potential fans I’ve done my due diligence and dug up some dirt that you might find interesting.

First question… to their promoter Mac, “What’s the craziest show story so far?”

In their first appearance at Bottom Of The Hill, the venue closed its doors to the public at 10 pm and dozens of people were left outside on 17th street in Portero. Many loyal Solwave fans resorted to jumping into the venue from the rooftops and sneaking in for the show- the cops later escorted these gentlemen out.

I like letting readers decide what they think of music… and focus on giving them more about the bands than about the songs. So I asked Danny (Solwave’s Bass Player and Backup Vocalist) some questions I thought you might like to know.

What is your favorite venue in SF? Why?
As far as playing goes, Cafe Du Nord offers the package deal. Great venue and the best sound system of venues that size. Also a really cool backstage area. They also allow all ages which is always fun. My favorite venue to go see a show is The Fillmore.

Are there any venues you haven’t played that you want to play?
We have not played Rickshaw Stop but we are excited to say that we will be playing there in 2013. We also have not played The Fillmore, Slim’s, or GAMH, and hope to be playing those venues soon.

Are you touring? What’s the hardest thing about touring?
Yes. The hardest thing about touring is the stop and go reality. You spend 9 hours crammed in the van all day and then you get to the city you are going to and you have to go on stage and rock n’ roll as hard as you do for any other show.

Are any of the musicians in other bands?
I am the only one in another band. I play guitar and sing in a punk rock band called Darksliders.

What SF band are they most impressed by?
I  love Trophy Fire. The hardest working musicians we have come across in our own paths are definitely the Tumbleweed Wanderers. Those guys are freaking animals.

Basic Info

Created 2010

Members Joe Collins-Lead Singer-Songwriter/Keyboards
Danny Ferdon-Bass Guitar /Backing Vocals
Tommy Ferdon- Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Moise Seri-Drums/Percussion

Hometown San Francisco, CA

General Manager booking@strikewalkerET.com – Mac Walker

Influences The Killers, Led Zeppelin, My Morning Jacket, The Strokes, Daft Punk, Muse, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Doors, Otis Redding

Current Location San Francisco, CA

Contact Info

Website http://www.solwaveband.com
http://www.youtube.com/solwaveband
http://www.reverbnation.com/solwave

Press Contact solwaveband@gmail.com

Booking Agent Looking for one. In the meantime email booking@strikewalkerET.com

LIVE REVIEW: I The Mighty

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

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/870360″ height=”200″]

 

Q&A with Over The Falls!

By: Maggie Guevara

[MAGGIE_ GUEVARA]:   “Tell me the story of how OVER THE FALLS came to be! Were you guys all friends before you formed the band? Did you all grow up together?”]

[Bret Fontaine _ Guitar, Vocals]: “Actually, we’re all from different parts of Nor Cal. I moved up to Santa Rosa in 2001 and was in a stoner metal band with Chris [Vocals] called B.U.R.n’R. Unknown to us, there was a fella named Tim [Bass, Vocals] in town who was rocking out with bands like Plan B and Risen (and Fallen).

A few years later, Tim and I met and formed a band called Captain Hashbrown. That was a prog-thrash-rock-just-about-everything-awesome band. Ryan [Drums] was out in Napa around this time with The Val Papadins.

Fast forward a few years to 2008; Tim had moved back from a few blissful years in San Diego, Captain Hashbrown was rolling but then nullified due to “jailed drummer syndrome”. Tim and I hooked up with Chris and desperately searched for a drummer for about a year til we found the mighty Ryan on Craigslist. God bless Craigslist. We’ve been going strong ever since! We first jammed in April 2009, had our first show in June 2009 at The Stork Club in Oakland. The rest, as they say, is science.”

[MG]:   “I’ll never forget the first time I heard you guys play at Chris’ Club in Vallejo. That was in 2010! Since then, you guys came out with another album. Thank you for sharing that with me by the way. It’s groovy! What inspired the new album?”

[BF]: “Thanks! Groovy is definitely part of what we were going for. I think the inspiration for the album was, as generic and corny as this sounds, us. It’s no small secret that we’re trying to fit more than one genre into this band here, and it’s no small feat to successfully tie all those sounds together. We really feel we accomplished it with this one.”

[MG]: ” I saw on your website that you guys were going to be performing in South Lake Tahoe at the end of the year! That’s so exciting! How did that opportunity evolve?”

[BF]: It IS exciting, isn’t it? OMG!!! We love Tahoe, being avid snowboarders (except for Ryan, who probably would be an avid snowboarder if he ever went). Credit for this show actually goes to Mike from The Business End (a killer punk band from SF), who asked us aboard.  This club is a blast to play.”

[MG]: “How many shows did you guys have this year?”

[BF]: “25. This year definitely didn’t have as many shows as the last, partly because we’re trying to focus on bigger shows with more thought put into promotion of them. Promotion: that is by far the toughest part of being an relatively unknown band. But we succeeded, I think, considering we got to play some great venues this year. Quite a few really good shows. Big thanks to all the folks that have rocked with us this year!”

[MG]: “What other venues were you looking to perform at?”

[BF]: “All of them! We had made a goal to play at Bottom of the Hill this year and ended up playing there twice over the summer. Played Elbo Room a few weeks back. We just want to keep hitting these great clubs in the city… onward and upward.”

[MG]: “Do your friends, family and loved ones travel with you guys when you go on tours?”

[BF]: “Good god, no. They’re sick of us! Just kidding, our wives (and girlfriend) are incredibly supportive, and generally there’s one or two of ’em at each show. But we play pretty often. They have lives, you know?  Various members of our families drop in from time to time to hear how much louder we’ve gotten since they last donned earplugs.”

[MG]: “Thank you so much for chatting with me today. It’s always a pleasure.”

[BF]: “Likewise!”

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Over The Falls Band Members:

  • Bret Fontaine- Guitar & Vocals
  • Tim Bastianon- Bass
  • Ryan Alderman- Drums
  • Chris Rodgers- Vocals

CHECK THESE GUYS OUT AT:

Website:
 http://overthefallsrocks.com/

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/OverTheFallsRocks?ref=ts

Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/OverTheFalls

CD Baby:
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/overthefalls 

____________________________

"So what do you think?
I’d love your feedback!
 – Maggie

EARTH SNAKE: New LP Release

By: Maggie Guevara

Earth Snake prepares to release its newest album, The Knowing Experiment, on January 13th, 2012.

The sounds of Earth Snake are progressive and in your face.  The mastermind behind all of the music is one person named Ed Stanley.  All of the instruments in his music are written and performed by him. Some of his songs are easily the kind that you can thrash about and head-bang to, and others you can just sit down and chill.  If you need to keep yourself pumped and ready to go for a high energy activity, just listen to one of his tracks like “Robots + Monsters” If progressive metal isn’t your flavor then maybe you’d enjoy something like “Flight.”  It’s smooth, relaxing and ethereal.

Raised in South San Francisco, Stanley started really playing music at the age of 10 and hasn’t stopped since.  In his early stages of musical development, he took private drum lessons and studied music in high school as well.  Now 22 years of age, Stanley is currently producing from the Napa Valley. On the new album you will find his song “Merely Practical Joking;”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqnWn3akSk0&w=560&h=315]
There’s much to be said about the demonstrative musician. Playing with time and space, Stanley integrates 8-bit and his knowledge of tempo changes with his passion for Djent, the subgenre the band Meshuggah coined, which expresses the heavy metal sound that spawned from progressive metal.

Stanley’s ability to capture a “full” sound while flying solo truly is an art form all in itself. Starting off as a drummer, Stanley takes what many might know as the “heart beat” of music to a new level.  But what I hear may be completely different than what you might hear. So check him out! Let me know what YOU think!

EarthSnake: 
http://earthsnake.tessmusicproductions.com/

“Like” him on facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/earthsnakemusic

"So what do you think?
I’d love your feedback!
 – Maggie

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 Breakthruradio.com

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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 www.cff.org 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PicturesInSound 

Myspace: http://myspace.com/Picturesinsoundmusic

Purevolume: http://www.purevolume.com/PicturesInSound

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/picturesinsound