Songwriters

Miles Read & The Trip Supports Steven Roth at Neck of the Woods - 8/22

If you're into checking out a couple of folk rock bands this weekend, you'll have a great opportunity to see the San Francisco based band, Miles Read & the Trip support folk singer/songwriter, Steven Roth at Neck of the Woods in San Francisco this Saturday.

Since releasing his 2013 solo debut, Let It In, Roth had the honor of opening numerous shows for The Who-at the personal request of the band-playing with them at LA's Staples Center and NYC's Madison Square Garden. He also has opening gigs for artists including Audioslave, Robert Plant, Dave Grohl and Elvis Costello under his belt - as well as a headlining showcase hosted by Counting Crows' frontman Adam Duritz and recording sessions with Devo's Jerry Casale.

Head to the show early to check out some great local music and stay to see Steven Roth headline the show. It's going to be a great night!

Rain Collectors' "Unless" is Wistful and Lovely

In new track “Unless” by Rain Collectors, a simple guitar melody leads us across a bright and calm landscape. The cello, however, soon glides in beneath and we sink into a more wistful state. Vocals by duo singer/songwriter Santiago Dietche and vocalist Blair Robbins are sensual, yearning. A keyboard trails, dreamlike among the cymbals and Gary Calhoun James’ walking bass; like wandering through the memory of a past relationship, or coming aware that a present one is fading, there is a sense of comfortable resignation. With one earphone in my right ear, and the other shared with you, in your left, we walk together through a night that will not last, with “Unless” soundtracking our melancholy stroll. Give “Unless” a listen below, especially if you’re nursing a slightly nostalgic mood like I was this weekend or, if you’re in a more upbeat place, head to their Bandcamp, where I was also pleased to hear the more upbeat new track by them, “Lock The Door” released on Sunday.

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A. LaFontaine

Video Premiere: Travis Hayes and the Young Daze - Towns Like These

We're excited to premiere the live music video for Travis Hayes' song, Towns Like These! The video features Hayes' full band, Travis Hayes and the Young Daze and the vocals of Emily Whitehurst.

Anyone who knows about Travis Hayes' contributions to the local music community would find his "Ode to the Bay Area" folk ballad, Towns Like These very consistent with his actions and passion for local live music. If you don't know anything about his work, Hayes has been a booker and live music curator for the local music venue, Neck of the Woods. He's also been great at connecting solo singer/songwriters with opportunities through booking and staying active in songwriter social media groups.

The video was filmed by Jared Swanson at our Great American Music Hall show last month on Saturday, June 27th. The audio was recorded by Seth Lael. The song "Towns Like These" is about traveling around the U.S.A. and constantly hearing people compare San Francisco to places like Austin, TX or Brooklyn, NY. I don't believe that to be true. There's no place like San Francisco. There's no place like home. - Travis Hayes

You can catch an upcoming live performance from Travis Hayes, The Painted Horses and The Wild Reeds on Thursday, August 6th at Leo's in Oakland!

Video Review: "Ghost", by Hayley Reardon

Hayley Reardon, a Massachusetts native, is one of the rare young musical talents to surpass the label of “pretty girl with a pretty voice” and land squarely in the “songwriter” category. In the her latest live video, featuring her new original song, "Ghost", Reardon’s simple presentation and beautiful, husky vocals make her seem both impossibly young and wise beyond her years. Her impressive natural vocal talent is anchored by evocative lyrics which manage to capture both the innocence and angst of youth - without the cliche. See her next live show at Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham, Massachusetts on August 14th.

-Glori Blatt

 

Walter Nichols

Here's something fairly different. It's not indie, it's not psych, it's not electronic (except in the most technical sense), hip-hop or beat: it's the compositional music of multi-instrumentalist Walter Nichols. It's fascinating stuff, music that is both obviously deeply technically advanced and that comes at you in forms and lengths and with style that is far from typical radio-ready pop-structured songs, but which also manages to be not overindulgent, tedious or impenetrable. It pulls the fun side of pop and modern music, not shying away from less stereotypically "classial" instruments but instead including things like synths, looping machines and saxophone (and much more), but it ditches the typical "song" rulebook and also pulls from the focus on technical mastery and experimentation and the willingness to use lengthy, complex structures that composed music tends to have. It's a best of both worlds scenario, really.

I can tell when I listen to Nichols' pieces that there's a lot going on here that, as someone with what's obviously much more limited music theory knowledge than the composer, I'm not fully comprehending or being totally aware of, even while I can still point out to particular elements that seem singularly complex or impressive. Yet, as a student of music history and the relationship between the so-called "high" arts and popular art, I know that what Nichols pulls off here is not easy to do at all, this walking easily between the two worlds of technical composition and music that's modern and fun for anyone to listen to. .

As a plain listener, playful and rich are the words that come to mind when listening to Nichols' latest work, the succinctly titled W, which you can hear below in full. Moods are built and played with and never overdone or hammered too hard home, one track is very much a new flavor from the last and yet all work together conceptually and stylistically. It's glimmering and beautiful at times, harsh and nicely grating at others, and in all a real work-out for the brain.

If you want to push your boundaries a bit, or are already the type to be intrigued by music that isn't tailor-made to slide right into your preconceptions of fun, modern music but which still has the ability to find its way into that part of your brain (rules be damned), give Nichols a try with W below. It's well worth a little time to see if it clicks, because if it does, you'll have some quite nutritious new brainfood to get yer noggin' snacking on.

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