Sonny and the Sunsets - 2010-10-26 - Great American Music Hall SF

credit: Julie W.

Opening for the exploding Best Coast's first San Francisco headlining show (I had caught them earlier in the year opening for Vivian Girls...stay tuned for that show) was Sonny and the Sunsets, fronted by Sonny Smith, who has more melody and garage pop hits in his little finger than most cities have in their population.  This is the guy responsible for the '100 Records' project...create 100 imaginary artists, each with their own single and artwork.

Kelley Stoltz and the cat-kit
The drummer for the Sunsets is none other than Kelley Stoltz, who's no slouch as an recording artist himself...he's probably best known for covering Echo and the Bunnymen's Crocodiles album start-to-finish, helped out by the guitarist from Pavement in live settings.  There's definitely something going on here with bands that capture a California sunny-dark psych-surf garage-punk-pop sound...another group that will be extensively featured here in an upcoming post, Thee Oh Sees, is also a purveyor of this sound, as are some of the other groups that have graced these posts over the past month.

In any event, it was the second time that I had caught the Sunsets, and they didn't disappoint.  Two new songs (Reflections On Youth, I Wanna Do) are featured in this set, which was chock-full of unreleased gems like 'Teenage Thugs'...hie on over to the Daytrotter Sessions site to check out some of the tracks that haven't yet made it onto their new album Tommorrow Is Alright.   The tunes are sticking to my head like glue, helped out by having tomzero also capturing some of the magic inside the Great American.

Recording details after the jump...


Delphic w/The Hundred In The Hands - 2010-10-21 - 330 Ritch St. SF

James Cook, a young Jez Kerr?  Sorry, couldn't resist.
330 Ritch St (Popscene)
San Francisco CA

Multi-source audience blend taken from following sources:

#1: Sonic Studios DSM-6  > Edirol R-09HR (tomzero)

#2: Sonic Studios DSM-6L > Sony PCM-M10 (thehappyone)


intro / Clarion Call / Doubt / Red Lights / This Momentary / 
Halcyon / Counterpoint Acolyte

Total: 42:59

Delphic have been described as the next Great White Hope of Manchester[tm], fusing rock and dance elements into a juggernaut of sound.  No need for me to remind the reader who else from Salford had managed that feat, especially as their place of origin seemed to be something every review of the group goes to battle over (and I just realized this one is no exception) which must be awfully tiring for the band to deal with, since who honestly *hasn't* been influenced by "Retro When"...read that backwards very slowly.  I'll spare you the Pitchfork review.  In fact, I really didn't listen to them closely, much less "get" them until I watched the video to 'Counterpoint' while listening back in on my live recording earlier today.  That, with 'Acolyte' then hit me...absolutely MASSIVE tracks justifying all the accolades and 'album of 2010' mentions.

With that, I do have to concede that 'Clarion Call' (their opening song) is a bit too Doves-y...but thankfully the electronic elements and playfulness hearken back to their Sub Sub incarnation...if you're going to play the comparison game, at least pick a more accurate basis for comparison.  Or better yet, do as I haven't and just forget...and enjoy intelligent people's craft while you have a fun night out...or if you missed it, you can listen in...

The openers after the jump...

THITH: Indie-dance guitar heroics

The Hundred In The Hands

330 Ritch St (Popscene)
San Francisco CA

Multi-source audience blend taken from following sources:

#1: Sonic Studios DSM-6  > Edirol R-09HR (tomzero)
#2: Sonic Studios DSM-6L > Sony PCM-M10 (thehappyone)


Dressed In Dresden / Last City / Sleepwalkers Pigeons / Lovesick (Once Again) / Ghosts
Young Aren't Young / Commotion

Total: 42:20

Wow, these guys were good.  Jason Friedman makes one of the most unlikely guitar heroes of our modern age, as during 'Commotion', he was standing over the front lip of the stage, shredding away on his cream-colored Rickenbacker (if that's even possible to imagine)...turns out like most of these "new" bands, most of the protagonists have some history and have been at it for years and years playing and playing...so it's great to see when they finally catch some buzz, and get people to sit up and pay attention. 

Their entire set was one giant swoon, quickly capturing the interest and adulation of the crowd.  Highlights for me include the intro, Dressed In Dresden...my recording comes in a bit late, so the first few seconds of the song are just from tomzero's recording...and the gorgeous 'Sleepwalkers'.  Elinore was singing into a handheld mic (seen above) that were treating her operatic vocals through shimmering reverb and other assorted FX, as well as handling keyboards, while Jason played his Rick and twiddled with the beats.  I seemed to have a lot less angst about THITH were supposed to sound like, since I hadn't even heard of them before getting to watch them perform.  And now that I have, I wish everybody gets a chance to see them too.  Or at least hear them.


The Vaselines w/Dum-Dum Girls - 2010-10-20 - Great American Music Hall SF

I recently had the extreme pleasure of witnessing The Vaselines, supported by up-and-coming LA group Dum-Dum Girls.  Excellent show, and yet another reason to continue to chronicle all the amazing performances I've been exposed to in 2010.  Interesting random fact:  The current guitarist/bassist playing with Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee are moonlighting from Belle And Sebastien.

The SF Weekly Blog Review gives a pretty accurate summary of the proceedings, except that "You Think You're A Man" wasn't an off-setlist track, despite what the onstage banter would have you believe, as it has been played throughout their tour.

credit: autumnsweaters
I've linked to a couple of YouTube videos from the show that I've found. Hint: click on 'autumnsweaters' under the photos.

The first video is the title track from their latest album, Sex With An X.  They played about half the album, and were definitely up to the standard of their older material.
credit: autumnsweaters

The other track which was uploaded features members of the opening act Dum-Dum Girls appeared on stage with Mr. Kelly and Ms. McKee to perform 'Molly's Lips'.

And of course, I'm sharing my own recording.
Details after the jump...


Crocodiles - 2010-07-01 - The Echo, Los Angeles

MarkB:  "Here's my Crocodiles recording who opened and blew away Dum Dum Girls (as much as I love DDG they probably shouldn't have been on the same bill but the bands are friends and appeared on a comp 7" together). My recomendation is to listen to DDG first then Crocs. I'm really proud of this recording and my ears are still ringing two days later!"

The Echo
Los Angeles, CA
Recorded by MarkB (bcingyou)

M-Audio MicrotrackII + Sony ECM990-F>WAV(44.1/16bit)>CD Wave Editor track split> FLAC level 8

1.  Neon Jesus
2.  Sleep Forever
3.  Summer Of Hate
4.  Mirrors
5.  Hollow Hollow Eyes
6.  Hearts Of Love
7.  Stoned To Death
8.  I Wanna Kill

Total time 34:07

I caught them the following month at 330 Ritch St. in San Francisco and in conjunction with Tomzero, put up a blended version of our recordings.  These will be making your way shortly.


Dum Dum Girls - 2010-07-01 - The Echo, Los Angeles CA

credit: rockscope.com
01 July 2010
The Echo, Los Angeles, CA

Audience Master Recording by Mark B. (bcingyou)
Recorded behind persons pressed against stage, four feet from in front of singer Dee Dee.

M-Audio MicrotrackII + Sony ECM990-F>WAV(44.1/16bit)>CD Wave Editor track split> FLAC level 8
01. soundchecking
02. Play With Fire (Rolling Stones)
03. Hey Sis
04. Catholicked
05. I Will Be
06. It Only Takes One Night
07. Yours Alone
08. Bhang, Bhang, I’m a Burnout
09. Jail La La
10. Everybody’s Out
11. Rest Of Our Lives
12. Don’t Talk To Me
Total Time – 36:20

credit: bcingyou
This includes video shot by bcingyou of the encore track.  I've uploaded an improved version incorporating audio from the M-Audio instead of the clipped camera mic, as well as brighting the visuals a bit.

I've subsequently seen DDG several times since sampling this recording.  All of their performances have been well worth attending.


White Lies - 2010-10-10 - Culture Collide Block Party LA

credit: Hipster73
White Lies
10 October 2010
Culture Collide Block Party, Reservoir Street
Los Angeles, CA

taper: bcingyou
equipment: M-Audio MicrotrackII + Sony ECM990F>WAV(44.1 sample rate/16bit) > CD Wave Editor tracksplit > FLAC level 8 (soundcheck FLAC level 6)


00 soundcheck
01 Strangers(Sense of Urgency)
02 Holy Ghost
03 Peace And Quiet
04 Bigger Than Us
05 Death
06 Farewell To The Fairground
07 outro

Audience master recording by 'bcingyou' recorded five feet from stage between Harry and keyboardist.

Interesting to note a triple keyboard passage during a new song: bassist, Charlie, new guitarist and keyboard player were all playing their own keyboards.

Also included is a brief soundcheck that's only roadies.


Shonen Knife - 2010-09-12 - Amoeba Records SF

Shonen Knife, in front of the gathered Amoeba horde 
(source: amoeba.com)

I only wish I read Amoeba Records' own Five Reasons To Go To See Shonen Knife at Amoeba.  Couldn't have said it better myself, and wished I could have heeded their advice.  Sundays don't tend to be gig days 'round my parts, sadly.

But my friend tomzero made it, and so did another taper by the fabulous handle of toolshirt.
So, you have a multitude of download choices, since I like to think I've gotten adept at doing multisource blends, aka matrix mixes.  I'm particularly proud of this one, actually...I really feel that if done right, they make the blended recording greater than the sum of its parts.

Knife or spiel? (source: amoeba.com)
(Just so I don't have to hear it from the person who just doesn't want to deal with converting FLA-what's-it? to our beloved Fraunhofer's abortion of an algorithm.  I don't want to hear about either, it's a topic that's been done to death, so I've punted and am just using that format.)

The component versions are available as well, for those who can send me a REQUEST.

Recording details:
Shonen Knife
Amoeba Records
San Francisco CA

contrast cluse:

Matrix mix by lammah, combining two different recordings together


(1) tomzero:   Sonic Studio mics -> 

Edirol R-09HR (24 bit / 96 kHz) -> 
Nero (level boost & downsample to 16/44.1) -> 
cd wav -> flac level 8

(2) toolshirt: Zoom H1 -> WAV -> 
CD Wave for track splitting ->you guys

(1) panned L30 -3dB
(2) panned R30 -5dB


01 intro (photograchar) (parisensore)
02 Twist Barbie (false start)
03 Twist Barbie (bayareanorthernsoul) (photograchar)
04 Perfect Freedom (bayareanorthernsoul) (photograchar) (David Toshiyuki) (Alex Luo)
05 Capybara (bayareanorthernsoul) (photograchar)
06 Top Of The World [The Carpenters] (bayareanorthernsoul) (photograchar) (David Toshiyuki) (Alex Luo)
07 Gyoza (bayareanorthernsoul) (photograchar)
08 Super Group (bayareanorthernsoul) (photograchar)
09 BBQ Party (bayareanorthernsoul) (photograchar)
10 Sushi Bar Song (photograchar)

'So Adorable': (photograchar)
Autograph signing: (photograchar)

Think Amoeba was filming, you can see their video camera in the above footage, though to date only photos have appeared:

SF: http://www.amoeba.com/live-shows/detail-1719#cat-most_recent_shows/page-1
LA: http://www.amoeba.com/live-shows/detail-1710#cat-most_recent_shows/page-1


Futureheads w/Social Studies - 2010-10-02 - Great American Music Hall

Mr. Tomzero is my frequent partner in crime.  He's responsible for supplying the recordings that comprise this latest edition of AMH.  Over the weekend, he went to go see The Futureheads.

To me, their name sounds like they should be a techno group, but in fact they're a four-piece out of Sunderland, England.  I think some of the tracks off their debut album was produced by Andy Gill of Gang Of Four fame.  To be honest, they're more up Tomzero's alley then mine, as this is only the second thing I've ever heard by them.

Their latest album is called 'The Chaos', and can be picked up from their site.  What's interesting is that there's a download option that offers FLAC versions of the tracks, at the same price as MP3.  Pretty generous of them!  If you enjoyed this, please show your appreciation and buy their albums, see their shows, and buy their swag!

Anyway, enough of my sales pitch, here's your chance of hearing a quite entertaining performance, if like me you missed their (as of this writing) ongoing North American tour.

The Futureheads - 2010-10-02 San Francisco, Great American Music Hall

Sonic Studio mics -> Edirol R-09HR (24 bit / 48 kHz) -> Nero (level boost & downsample to 16 bit / 44.1 k) -> cd wav -> flac level 8

01 intro
02 The Chaos
03 Area
04 Struck Dumb
05 Heartbeat Song
06 Decent Days And Nights
07 I Can Do That
08 Worry About It Later
09 Skip To The End
10 Sun Goes Down
11 Work Is Never Done
12 Beginning Of The Twist
13 Carnival Kids
14 Hounds Of Love
15 Jupiter
16 He Knows
17 The Connector
18 Man Ray


Weird Al Yankovic - Warfield - 2010-08-10

Dare To Be Stupid (jeffreyk)
In hopefully what proves to be the first of a series of surprises I have in store for you, I'm happy to report that I managed to take a break from my critical faculties and back in August attended the show for one Alfred Matthew Yankovic.  Most of you know him as "Weird Al."  I've been a fan of his for ages, ever since I saw his "Eat It" parody back in the '80s.  I also appreciate that Weird Al was one of the first musicians to embrace the Internet, and presently maintains a Twitter feed well worth following.  I took my 12 year old son, and had an extra ticket since the oldest didn't want to go since he had been having problems with his ears ever since we flew to Florida on a vacation the month before, so I offered my ticket to a quite appreciative co-worker whom I knew was a big fan. 
Canadian Idiot (wak209)
 Of course, Weird Al was great, and the show was really entertaining.  There were quite a few of linking segments mostly featuring "Al TV" clips with his faux-interviews which you can find online.  This gave him a chance for him and his entourage to change outfits, which as you can see from the above snaps, they did quite often.
Anyway, without much further ado...my recording, taped from about a dozen rows or so up in the center of the balcony. .


Tools Of The Trade - The Joy Formidable - 330 Ritch SF - 2010-08-12 (w/Remma)

Let's talk tools of the trade.  The trade in question being taping.  Up until August of this year, I had used an Edirol R-09HR, which still services me well as an audio capture device hooked into my turntable and Nakamichi cassette recorders.
However, one of my cohorts had mentioned all the back in November 2009 this unit would be coming out, so I decided to pick up the Sony PCM-M10 recording.  And after using it this past couple of months (about 5 shows total)I have to say the new Sony recorder I have blows my Edirol out of the water...

So I made a list of advantages the PCM-M10 has over my Edirol R-09HR (and other comparable recorders made by Zoom or M-Audio). This is directed for anybody currently taping or is thinking of doing so, or runs into issues with their current kit.  In my humble opinion, anybody still using MD or (gasp!) DAT should run, not, walk to upgrade to this unit.

* The batteries last a crazy long time...its rated something like 39 hours using LPCM 48.00kHz/24 bit...I suspect it'll probably be closer to 30 hours if I use the external mics.  You can squeeze out 46 hours using 44.1/16 bit....MP3 actually is the same as 48/24 due to increased CPU doing encoding on the fly.  You're lucky to get 4-5 hours out of the Edirol.

* The PCM-M10 Has built-in 4GB flash, which gives you 3h40m of 48/21 or 6h of 44.1/16.  Can take up to 16Gb microSD or Sony's M2 format.

* Connecting the unit to USB to retrieve recordings uses power provided through the USB port, unlike the Edirol.  Both units treat the flash storage like a removable hard drive so no worries like with previous Sony MD units of using their crappy SoundStage software to convert from their proprietary format to WAV...

*  Visible indicator lights for -12dB and overload (over +0dB) for both L/R ch.  And like the Edirol, also has visible recording light, which like the Edirol, you can control whether you want it to stay on or off during recording

*  Startup time is about 5 seconds vs the Edirol R-09's 11-12 seconds, and the Zoom's 15 seconds (not sure how fast the Microtracks are).  5 seconds is phenomenally fast!

*  The unit has a 'pre-record' feature that saves a few seconds of audio while in pause mode.  The Zooms do this, the Edirol does not, and I don't think the Microtracks do either.

*  Adjustable volume knob that doesn't make clicking noises in the recording...it's recessed and isn't flush with the front of the unit, and is sturdy, so unlikely to get rocked.

*  Plug-in power sufficient to properly power up my Sonic Studios mics...meaning better bass response and dynamics.

*  Built-in mics that are pretty decent, compared to the Edirol's....and are as good as the Zoom H4's.

*  I like the controls a bit better, it's harder to hit them by mistake...and the power/hold is a single rocker button on the side of the unit.  And the battery case isn't flimsy and isn't likely to have the door spring loose and batteries fall out, unlike the Edirol...lost a couple of recordings because of that.

*  Wired remote control...this is an advantage because Edirol's wireless remote is RF and requires line-of-sight.  So this is actually useful for those people who like to record in pocket.  Unfortunately, you cant turn the unit on/off via the remote...but in all practicality, it's useful when using the built-ins to reduce handling noise...for externals, it's less important.

*  I got mine for $200 USD online from B&H Photo, my favorite Sabbath-honoring electronics retailer.

*  The Amazon and Google reviews online are positively glowing, averaging 4.5-5 stars.  Anyway, enough of that...

Okay, now that you've made it this far, I'll reward you guys with another one of my recordings, which was the second one made with the PCM-M10.  More info after the jump...


Chameleons Vox - Cafe Du Nord - 2010-09-28 (w/Chambers and Veil Veil Vanish)

'Stop staring at the ground!'
This was one of those shows we couldn't afford to miss. However, "Nostalgia" (the original Chams even have a tune by that title) would become something that would wear heavy on even the most optimistic fan. Hasn't it been 25 years since their albums came out?

Anyway, the only thing one could do was judge Mark Burgess and his latest ensemble by their merits. And I have to say, they did not disappoint.

Does this guy look the part or what?
In particular, I have to call to your attention the stylings of one Andru Aesthetik, he of Post-Punk.com. I'm not going to dare to make any comparisons to anyone present or past, that would be most unfair, but wow, I couldn't have pictured a better match even had I the omniscience of the God whom this particular player doesn't believe exists. So...kudos!

One cannot say enough good things  about Mark Burgess, singer and author of the terrific 'View From A Hill'.

Does *this* guy look the part or what?
So I won't.

I'll just let the music, lyrics, and Mark Burgess' passionate delivery do the talking.

More details on the recording after the jump...

(Credit, all Chams stills: bigrezz71)


Manifesto! Twin Shadow - Bimbo's 365 SF

Welcome to my latest failed Sunday morning/night experiment.

I've been meaning to do something like this for years, but never seemed to quite get it together to actually try. I guess that changes, starting...now.
I've been recording live shows (mostly independent acts, but there's a few weird exceptions) in the San Francisco Bay area for several years now. Anyway, our first selection (and inspiration for the title of this b**g) is the fabulous George Lewis, Jr. aka Twin Shadow. I have to credit The Dumbing Of America for turning me onto his Twin Shadow's Forget in the first place.

There are two things you will never see here:   

1. Any attempt to monetize any of my offerings for myself. That would be tantamount to selling live recordings, which is strongly against the ethos of any ethical taper. I would encourage...nay, demand that if you enjoyed listening to any of the featured artists, that you purchase their recordings, see them live, and buy their swag. Some groups aren't shy about the touch-and-go nature of being able to get help to make their touring worthwhile, but others would rather die than have to beg.

With that said, I recognize any artists who appear here have a moral right to not want their material available for download, and will gladly remove anything they do not want heard. It's not always about the financial...sometimes, performances are off-kilter so badly that the person responsible sees no positive virtues in having their dirty laundry aired, even if fans find interesting qualities to a particular 'off-night'.  

2. Any vindictive negativity towards musicians over their style of performance. This involves me biting my tongue really, really hard. For example, both myself and my friend were not greatly enamored of the headlining act Twin Shadow were opening for, but a lot of people who were there did enjoy themselves, so I suspect a lot of it had to do with our tastes not being in line with what the crowd wanted to see and got. Okay, maybe our objections are in fact critically sound (imagine a resurrected Lester Bangs nodding his substance-sodded noggin in assent) but no matter, if I don't like something, you won't see it here. I live by the phrase, "Better remain silent and be thought a fool, than speak out and remove all doubt." Plus, things change, and my own assessments of groups have been known to change once I can review the live recording I made of them, mostly for the positive. This is one big reason why I do this!

"I'm in the belly of the canyon...I can't come up with any reason...why a ghost is following me." (At My Heels)

What was I blabbing about again? Oh yeah, Twin Shadow.  He's signed to
4AD now. I asked him after the show about that and he said it was a "dream come true". For us...I can't wait until Vaughn Oliver or whoever Ivo has on tap these days gets his design wrapped around their future issues. I really like Mishka's review of his album, and figure the enterprising reader can use the Google-matic and do their own research on why Twin Shadow matters. 

Anyway, here's the details of my recording, after the jump...