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Album Review -The Northern Key

We are all moving at a breakneck pace. Our calendars are overflowing with events, we’re constantly running late for work and always attempting to catch up on sleep. However, on a occasion something will come along and make us stop and take a breath. Enter The Northern Key.

The Northern Key's self titled album is the ultimate companion to San Francisco’s recent stormy days. Their perfectly stark, indie folk is meant for hibernation. Listening creates that satisfied calm that only happens when rain falls softly outside your window and the city grows quite. Singer Andrew Galluccio’s voice lingers on your ears like a crush’s whisper as each violin string is played at an octave that could break our heart.

Produced by Chris Chu of The Morning Benders, the album feels as if it was created with gentle care. Nothing is rushed or forced, each note feels right. Even down to their album art, the Northern Key convey a feeling that is beautiful and organic.

This album could easily be the soundtrack to a Sophia Coppola movie or the backdrop to a Cormac McCarthy novel. Opening track “Proof” eases you in with its bittersweet sound of somber lyrics over electric organ and gentle strumming. “Cowboy and Indian” grows a bit darker. “I just need to flush it from my system, toss the photos and soft copies of you,” Galluccio croons. The stronger “Spaced Out” takes you to the end of the road, gingerly shaking you from a melodic haze.

Do you self a favor and take this 40 minute mental health break.

- Alex Scioli


Weekly Feature 195a: Glass Ghost, Live at Glasslands, 05.14

The end of 2009 saw a lot of bands like Real Estate, Washed Out, and Glass Ghost producing tired blissful sounds. It was like the whole crowd of music listeners had had a fantastic busy summer and wanted their winter music to remind them what drinking a clandestine beer on the beach was like. Glass Ghost plays syncopated tropicalía rhythms over warm, eccentric keyboard riffs. Eliot Krimsky sings with a bouncy falsetto croon not too distant from Thom Yorke’s timbre. - Read Andrew Spaulding's interview with the band here.


Ladies Rock Camp Showcase this Sunday

Bay Area Girls Rock Camp has a public event coming up this Sunday, April 11th. For those of you that aren't familiar with the BAGRC, they are the non-profit Oakland organization now in its third year of bringing music education and empowerment to girls ages 8 to 18. Ladies Rock Camp, the weekend program modeled after Girls Rock Summer Camp, features an environment where participants learn/practice instruments, form bands, write an original song, attend workshops, and perform in a live concert in three days. For many of the women, this is the first time with their chosen instrument and maiden voyage of taking the stage.

In addition to seeing some music and supporting a music education program in the Bay Area, attendees of the Ladies Rock Showcase are eligible for drawing prizes such as health and wellness packages from local acupuncturists and yoga studios as well as museum passes and gift certificates. All proceeds go to towards Bay Area Girls Rock Camp and its programs.

Ladies Rock Camp Showcase
Sunday, April 11th - 3pm 
25 Women. 6 Bands. ALL ORIGINAL SONGS!
Oakland Metro Operahouse (630 3rd St., Oakland)
$5-10 sliding scale



(… all hope is blind…)

The new release from the haze-pop group Shalloboi, All Hope Is Blind, is a slow motion leap forward for the band. The almost overpowering fuzzy drone of past releases has subsided giving way to stark and beautiful melodies. There are still several layers to their sound but much more emphasis is placed on melody and the vocals. There is a quite richness about this album and it is partially due to the addition of Billy Speer on cello, Chris Gagnon on viola, and Katelyn Eldridge on violin.

The album is available for free download, but if you purchase it directly from Shalloboi is comes packaged inside a very cool zine. The package also includes a green vinyl release and disc.

Shalloboi will be performing live at Mortville on May 17th.


Busses Stopping at M Room April 9

What can you say about a band whose frontman looks like Rivers Cuomo but sings like Robert Plant? It’s hard to conceptualize the sound of Philly trio, Busses, especially when they describe themselves as a classic rock/ punk/ progressive act - a combination that makes them seem as though they are in the throws of an identity crisis. But just because it’s difficult to transcribe their sound to words, it doesn’t mean they don’t rock (yes, that’s a double negative in the good way)! Their demos feature songs that are musical montages with funky bass riffs, soaring vocals, wandering drum beats and experimental electric guitar all strung together to create epic four minute tracks. The high point of their set for me will be the head-banging anthem, “Say It Again”, in which Nick Apice releases a climactic howl, “I will not forgive you,” accompanied by crashing cymbals raining down. M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave., 9pm, $8, 21+ myspace.com/bussesbussesbusses (Photo by R. Mott) - Katie Bennett




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