Cocktails' Adult Life: S.F. Slop-Poppers Grow Up, But Not Too Much; Hear New Single "Tough Love"

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Brian Pritchard
Cocktails
Cocktails are one of our favorites among the younger crop of shambolic S.F. guitar bands. The five-piece appeared last year with an easy-to-love EP on Father/Daughter Records and a couple of effortlessly catchy power-pop singles. We featured them in the paper. Now Cocktails is back with Adult Life, its first album, out June 17 on Father/Daugther. Recorded at Oakland's Fuzz City Studios -- the home base of Warm Soda's Matthew Melton and Rob Good, among others -- Adult Life builds on Cocktails' brand of "slop-pop": The hooks are as sharp, but the overall texture of the sound is just as gauzy and easygoing -- even if some of the lyrics reflect slightly more grown-up concerns. This is all part of Cocktails' charm: This group is not a precisely measured concoction of pricey spirits, but rather a few classic ingredients stirred together over ice. Hear "Tough Love," the first single from the new album, below. The band performs this Friday, April 18, at Rickshaw Stop, April 24 at the Knockout, and May 2 at the Make Out Room.


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Watch: S.F. Folk-Rockers Owl Paws on Making Their First Album

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Adrian Rodriguez
Owl Paws
San Francisco folk-rock trio Owl Paws contrasts acoustic tones with a punk rock presence. When the band opens the three-act show tonight at the Chapel, you'll hear a sound that hints at early-'00s indie-emo acts like Brand New, but rounds off with the modern folk elements of artists such as the Milk Carton Kids. A song like "The Fields" showcases Owl Paws' melodic dynamics and skilled musicianship. Singer-guitarist Derek Schultz croons aching melodies, while bassist Tim Vickers articulates complex, finger-picked phrases on a upright bass. And as for drummer Lucas Siobal, his unpredictable rim shots and bell strikes add an unforgettable color to the rhythm section. The end product resonates pure heart.


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Berkeley's Pure Noise Records Celebrates Five Years of Supporting the Pop-Punk Revival

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Matt Vincent
Jake Round of Pure Noise Records
If you were to ask Jake Round, founder and owner of Berkeley's Pure Noise Records, what drives underground punk music, he would say it's the nerds in the scene. Round means no disrespect, though he says this laughing. "The only reason I'm good at this is because I was one of the nerds -- I was a super nerd," he says. "I followed Fat Wreck Chords like it was baseball."

In 2013, Round's label banked three Billboard Top 200 Album Chart contenders: The Story So Far, What You Don't See, No. 46; State Champs, The Finer Things, No. 131; and Handguns, Angst, No. 155. The label, which celebrates its five-year anniversary this week, has sold more than 280,000 records worldwide. It's an impressive achievement for a record company that started in a Berkeley apartment. And this Friday, March 21, Pure Noise all-stars The Story So Far, Rotting Out, No Bragging Rights, Forever Came Calling, and Elder Brother will kick off the Today's Mixtape Festival at the Oakland Metro to honor Pure Noise's fifth birthday.


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Watch: Local Trio Bronze Gets Lewd and Sinister in "Mirror the Shades"

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Bronze
Local experimental trio Bronze mixes seething synthesizers with quivering vocals and hypnotic grooves in songs that swell and disperse like menacing clouds of intoxicants. Since the psychedelic imperative demands expanded consciousness, Bronze's music takes listeners to the mind's most sinister regions. However, the music video for "Mirror the Shades," a track from Bronze's recently released sophomore album, World Arena, suggests a bit of sexual deviance and humor at the band's core, too.


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Jonathan Richman to Appear on Radio Valencia, Discuss Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground

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Jonathan Richman
This Sunday, March 2, would have been Lou Reed's 72nd birthday. To honor him, the great local singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman will appear on Radio Valencia's Wax! Crackle! Pop! show to talk about his hero Reed and his most famous musical project, the Velvet Underground.

Richman, of course, is famous in his own right as the leader of raw power-pop band The Modern Lovers, and a longtime solo artist known for his sincerity and playfulness. Early on, Reed and the Velvets were a major influence on Richman -- it's not hard to hear at touch of that raw New York drone in "Roadrunner," for example.


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Creative Adult on the Crookedness of the Music Industry and Playing By Other People's Rules

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Sara Davis
The band name Creative Adult is an inside joke, but Michael Bingham, the Santa Rosa rock band's vocalist and guitarist, does have a lot of thoughts on growing up. Creative Adult's four twentysomethings spent their musical lives until now in hardcore bands, which, to Bingham, meant booking his own tours and eschewing regular publicity. But Creative Adult is a different endeavor, one that includes using the larger music industry to his benefit. The burly guitar riffs and savage percussion on Creative Adult's discordant debut, Psychic Mess, owe a great deal to hardcore, though the players' musical goals seem to have evolved like their those of their career: toward something outside the scope of punk. Bingham attributes this new outlook to his developing prefrontal cortex, but Creative Adult is just taking up the common battle to run a band "like a business" and retain artistic integrity. We spoke with Bingham about being untouchable, ethical quandaries, and why the album title Psychic Mess will change his life.

Creative Adult opens a Noise Pop showcase with No Age, Hindu Pirates, and Dune Rats this Friday, Feb. 28, at Bottom of the Hill. It also performs Saturday, March 1, at Hemlock Tavern with Buffalo Tooth, The Vibrating Antennas, and Culture Abuse.


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Waters Returns With the Poppy and Bold "Got to My Head," as February Residency Continues

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It's February, which means that, in addition to making your relatives back east jealous with a photo of the S.F. weather forecast, you can go see the anthemic local rock of Waters every Monday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. The month-long residency continues next week under the aegis of Noise Pop, but today, Waters released its first new music in a while. "Got to My Head" is a thundering, boldy drawn pop-rock single, with a crispness and immediacy the band's previous work only hinted at. It's bouncy, bright, and super-hooky, with a chorus that fits the song's title. Check it out below, and catch Waters' last show of the month this Monday, Feb. 24, at Brick and Mortar.


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Listen: Adam From James & Evander Launches Pale Blue Dot, a New Space Disco Project

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Pale Blue Dot
If you don't know, now you know: We are big fans of sublime East Bay electronic bummer pop outfit James & Evander. We also tend to like other musical projects that J&E's Glenn Jackson and Adam Myatt get involved in -- like the brand-new group Pale Blue Dot, a trio that specializes in what the members call "Carl Sagan disco." Think of space disco, but with a heavy dose of retro-futurism and a distinctly optimistic tint to the songs' slowly unfolding electronic layers. Pale Blue Dot's debut EP, available on Bandcamp (as well as limited edition cassette, natch), will appeal to fans of easygoing ambient electronic music in the vein of Tycho, as well as anyone coming down from a Todd Terje high:


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One Found Sound: Meet the Upstart S.F. Orchestra That Wants a Boisterous Crowd -- And Doesn't Have a Conductor

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One Found Sound performs tonight at Salle Pianos.
By SHEREE WHITELEY

When Sarah Bonomo and Scott Padden met up after completing their degrees at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, it wasn't to commiserate over the struggles of life post-graduation. They wanted to build a team -- sans captain or coach.

Bomo and Padden, along with Georgeanne Banker and Emily Botel-Barnard, talked to friends and friends of friends. The result was a chamber orchestra of approximately 40 young musicians called One Found Sound. These fresh faces play the works of many iconic composers: the chamber orchestra's first concert featured the works of Stravinsky, Britten, and Beethoven; its second concert tonight, Friday, Feb. 7, will feature 20th Century works by Stravinsky, Mahler, and Copland. OFS operates without a conductor, which puts a special pressure on members to communicate well and know their parts. The group also strives for a completely flat leadership structure, wherein each person has an equal voice, decisions are made democratically, and leaders change throughout every performance. We spoke with Bonomo, Padden, and Banker about forming a chamber orchestra, putting on two concerts, and running a successful fundraising campaign in less than a year. One Found Sound performs tonight, Friday, Feb. 7, at Salle Pianos and Events ($15-$30).


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Wood Shoppe Celebrates Two Years of Free Tuesday Nights at Brick and Mortar

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Kevin Morby performs Tuesday at Wood Shoppe
For the five masterminds behind Wood Shoppe, one conversation was all they needed to discern a hole in the music market and find a way to fill it. The first Tuesday of every month, Zachary Cepin, Acacia Newlon, Wilson Zheng, Abby Sprague, and Robin Kim present a free concert at Brick & Mortar Music Hall, and they don't make a cent from it. The series -- designed to cultivate the local music scene as well as build the careers of up-and-coming acts -- is a nighttime gig the five got going just because they love music.

"If you want a music scene, you have to create it," Sprague says.

Wood Shoppe turns two years old this week with a lineup that demands attention. Songwriter Kevin Morby (Woods/The Babies) headlines the two-year anniversary edition this Tuesday, Feb. 4, where he is expected to croon painful folk-rock tales accompanied by haunting melodies. L.A.'s Avid Dancer is a solo psych-pop artist with bright guitars. S.F.'s Fine Points, a side project of Sleepy Sun, opens the night. And of course, the event would not be complete without a special DJ set by Wood Shoppe founding member Cepin, under the name DJ Zachary Carl-Os.


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