John Dwyer

John Dwyer & Ty Segall have been doing their holiday benefit for the SF Coalition on Homelessness for quite a few years now. They have been doing it for so many years that it’s become an established Bay Area Holiday Tradition. However, Thee Oh Sees and Ty both have played the Bay Area twice already this year, which, at first, made me question whether or not this was going to happen this year. Happily, the gigs still happened. And, instead of playing it straight, we got two very, very surprising sets by two of the most prolific acts in modern music. [read the whole post]

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Rating: Silver

It’s been two weeks but the drug rug of “Manipulator” is still a hidden metaphor. Deeper and denser, though rarely as listenable as before, Segall deflects his past while finding solace in the past. “Tall Man Skinny Lady” is as much T. Rex as it is T. Segall: falsetto hooks and acoustic guitars harkening back to “Sleeper” but catchier. Ty has never been as lyrical as King Tuff or Mikal Cronin: “I can hear the sound/ When my love’s around/ Whistling the trees/ It sits inside the breezes” but that has never been the point with Segall. From the very beginning on “Ty Segall” all the way through the eponymous “Twins,” Segall has made his mark in the ephemeral. His songs, like a sugar rush, hit and dissipate but “Manipulator” is something more permanent. [read the whole post]

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Rating: Silver
Somehow, in-between putting Thee Oh Sees on hiatus, relocating to Southern California, and preparing to release another Thee Oh Sees album, John Dwyer has found time for another solo project. Hubba Bubba, his debut album as Damaged Bug, has Dwyer abandoning his fuzzy guitars for an even fuzzier synthesizer. But this foray into electronica isn’t Dwyer’s attempt at making a Depeche Mode album. Hubba Bubba sounds much more like a marijuana influenced Suicide album than an 80’s new wave rehash like so many artist are doing right now. The emphasis is placed on minimalist synth riffs behind Dwyer’s robotic vocals.

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Photo By Kara Murphy

Photo By Kara Murphy

I didn’t go to SXSW last year. And I, literally, spent all of 2013 being sad about it. SXSW is like live music Disneyland. Sadly, complete with the lines and the getting frustrated about all of the people with Fast Passes cutting ahead of you. However, if you play your cards right, you can see an obscene amount of live music. In four days, I got to enjoy 34 bands. And I didn’t even try that hard this year.

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Phono del Sol is quickly becoming a festival to be reckoned with. In it’s third year, attendance seems to have more then tripled their attendance from the year prior, and I think, these year, have finally solidified itself as the tastemaking music festival of the Summer. It’s the perfect situation: a sunny day in one of San Francisco’s most underappreciated spaces: Potrero del Sol Park. It has a stage pre built directly in front of a skate park, making for a stage experience unlike any other show. This year they added an additional stage, doubling the amount of music. And, much like Treasure Island, the two stages were set up so there was no overlap, and, in fact, we got to enjoy 6 1/2 hours of continuous music.

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