As Stanford University’s academic year winds down and the frantic buzz of student life peters out, a new sound is poised to emerge on campus. Mellow guitar riffs, staccato drum rhythms and smooth melodies will soon weave through the tall palms of Palm Drive, and waft up and over Hoover Tower.
For the past 44 summers, the Stanford Jazz Festival has taken up residency at the university, establishing itself as one of the longest running and most diverse musical gatherings in the Bay Area. Continue reading »
“First of all, there’s no such fucking thing as high art anymore,” says Joowan Kim, leader of the Ensemble Mik Nawooj—a group that melds hip-hop and classical music to create singular and postmodern songs.
Kim, who began pioneering this hybrid sound in his final years at the Berklee School of Music, says he wanted to exit the “crazy fucking cult” of entitled Eurocentricity in the classical, “art music” scene. And he found a way out after examining the work of pioneering hip-hop producer, J-Dilla. Continue reading »
“You’ll never be a winner unless you lose for quite a while,” David Brookings sings on “The Optimist,” the third track on his band’s new self-titled album.
The song opens on a stompy, minor-key verse, and in just over 30 seconds bursts into its sunny, horn drenched chorus, like a flower blossoming in time lapse. It’s a cool move, which recalls The Turtles’ classic “Happy Together.” Continue reading »
In his mind-bending essay on Marx and Shakespeare, visionary French philosopher Jacques Derrida imagined a future, which comes from the past. “The same question had already sounded,” he writes in Specters of Marx. “The same, to be sure, but in an altogether different way. And the difference in the sound, that is what is echoing this evening.”
Echo. Sound. The echo of past voices in current artists. Artists who could not have been foreseen in past eras, even if they now harken back to those same eras. The interchangeability of times in art. Continue reading »
BottleRock, the Napa Valley music, food and art festival, has come a long way since it’s inaugural year in 2013, when the founding promoters lost their collective shirts on the event. Continue reading »
As the opening bookend to the Bay Area’s summer music festival season, the avid weekend warrior would do well to think of BottleRock as a warm-up. The three-day celebration is packed with some of the biggest names in pop, as well as plenty of amazing, lesser-known acts—not to mention the culinary celebrities, beer, wine and food.
Fitting all of that food and music into three days is a daunting proposition. However, compared to the logistical nightmare of crisscrossing Golden Gate Park for three days in an attempt to catch all the best headliners and indie darlings at Outside Lands, the Napa festival is a breeze. Continue reading »
Though he doesn’t have the energy he had in his 20s, Bobby Liebling, the creator and longtime frontman for pioneering metal band Pentagram, says he still feels like a 25-year-old at heart.
“I didn’t grow up,” the singer and songwriter says, speaking over the phone from Mesa, Arizona, where his band is gearing up to perform for what they anticipate will be a packed house.
According to Liebling, his band’s current tour has been going great—drawing crowds that are equal parts men and women from the ages of “6 to 60.” Continue reading »
In January of 2014, San Jose emcee Rey Resurreccion told Metro that his then-brand new Heart of the City was the first record he’d made after carefully studying what his fans liked. Considering that, his new EP—Sweet Tooth Tony, released earlier this month—makes total sense.
At less than 30 minutes, his latest effort is as quick-hitting as it is surgically focused. “I want to make something that people can fully digest,” Resurreccion says of Tony, an album he hopes people will listen to in its entirety. Continue reading »
After laying down beats, hooks and verses for six songs, Traxamillion got tired of his own voice.
So he tapped three friends to feature over his hard-knocking trap tracks. After that, he threw the snack-sized project up on Soundcloud, tweeted it to his 25,000-plus followers and kicked back as the internet distributed the digital tape.
“The future is now,” the 37-year-old San Jose native says, reflecting on how much faster things move these days compared with 10 years ago, when he helped jumpstart the Bay Area’s hyphy movement with his sparse, rumbling production style.
“Back in the day, you used to have to print CDs, stand on the corner, hand it out, then go to the club and hand it to the DJ,” he continues. “Now, you got a little social media network and it blossoms from there.” Continue reading »
Roddy “Radiation” Byers draws a lot of parallels between today’s political climate and the state of global affairs back when he was playing in The Specials. “It’s almost a mirror image now to what it was like in the late ’70s early ’80s,” says the erstwhile guitarist of the English ska and two tone outfit responsible for hits like “A Message to You Rudy.”
With racial tensions on the rise, the working class struggling to make ends meet and a political system that clearly favors the wealthy, it’s easy enough to see his point. Continue reading »