Showing posts with label Bay Area. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bay Area. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Bay Area music & videos I am digging: The Seshen, DRMS, and Zej & Calen

It's been a whirlwind year so far and I've been listening to so much amazing music. Here are just some of the highlights that have fun videos. All these guys have just released new material and are playing live shows this summer, so check 'em out.

Interesting little tidbit I just thought of: all of these bands funded projects successfully on kickstarter.

The Seshen - caught them live a couple weeks ago. Not only are they super nice people, but they are fabulous live. I'm loving the whole album, which you can stream here. Sorta Morcheeba, Erykah Badu-esque with dub step.

DRMS (pronounced "Dreams") - Emily Ritz's vocals are pretty magical. They also put on an awesome show with lots of percussion (vibraphone!), visuals and performance art elements. Listen to their new album here.

Zej and Calen - I just think this video is so sweet. I had the pleasure of interviewing these two on my podcast, check it out here (live performances!). Their music is sweet and thoughtful. I've been enjoying their new record "Last Station" full of love songs, many of them with environmental themes.
Sunday Train by Zej & Calen - Official Music Video from Bazooka Mama Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Hosting on Voicebox KALW 91.7

Almost a month ago, Matt Lombardi and I were invited to guest host on VoiceBox 91.7 KALW with Chloe Veltman to represent and talk about Hear it Local.

As a show/podcast focusing on the voice, I chose to feature a collection of female Bay Area singers that I love. The show was on the air last weekend as "Bay Area Bombshells". Listening to myself on the radio gushing about these women I find so inspiring was an interesting experience. I love radio and I hope I get to do it again!

To listen, CLICK HERE and scroll down to the bottom of the list to "VoiceBox"

Here's the playlist in case you were interested:

1) "Then It Starts to Feel Like Summer" by The SHE's, vocalist: Hannah Valente / Then It Starts To Feel Like Summer

2) "Float and Fall" by Meklit Hadero / On a Day Like This

3) "Monkey Gone to Heaven" by the Pixies, performed by Conspiracy of Venus / UnderCover Presents The Pixies' Doolittle

4) "Opa Cupa Fly" by Brass Menazeri Brass Band, vocalist: Bridget Boyle / Vranjski San

5) "Many Seasons" by Kacey Johansing / Many Seasons

6) "With You" by Dreams, vocalist: Emily Ritz

7) "Driving is Fun" by Dina Maccabee / Who Do You Suppose You Are?

8) "Stay" by Crystal Monee Hall / River Train

9) "Cadillac" by Con Brio, vocalist: Xandra Corpora / From The Hip

10) "Our Little Secret" by Megan Slankard / Token of the Wreckage

11) "Love For the Asking" by Kally Price

12) "Tore My Heart" Oona Garthwaite / Shhhhout!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Interview with Meklit Hadero, the Nile Project and bringing East Africa together through its own music

I am so excited about the Nile Project. I've offered to help out in any way that I can (I already donated some money). This is what being an ethnomusicologist is all about!

Local singer/songwriter Meklit Hadero was born in Ethiopia. Mina Girgis, ethnomusicologist and Director of the Bay Area community music center Zambaleta, was born in Egypt. Over a beer last summer, the two realized that they have something in common other than a love for music: a desire to learn more about each other’s musical culture and a river that connected the countries of their birth.

From there came the Nile Project: a platform to bring together musicians from all of the countries that share the Nile: Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda. The plan is to make a record and tour the world with this music. And not only will they tour the world, they will tour the Nile, playing the music for their neighbors along the river. They will also be joined by scientists and local specialists who can share other information about the river and be part of theTed talks.

The project is in its infant stages and requires a tremendous amount of research: Who are the musicians? What are the songs? What are the logistics of touring the Nile? (There are after all alligators and rapids along the way.)

Meklit and Mina need your help to get to East Africa for the first research trip this spring and are raising 10 thousand dollars on kickstarter to help cover the costs. But more importantly, they want to get the word out about the project.

Click here to read my interview with Meklit and learn more about the Nile Project.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Family Crest wants to play at YOUR house in September

These are pictures of The Family Crest performing in my living room last Wednesday. There were nine of them. It was awesome.

The Family Crest is looking to play a house show a day in the month of September. It can be a big or small party, they just want people to experience their music. And believe me, this is the best setting for it: intimate and acoustic.

I will personally vouch for these folks, they are gracious and nice. I have now been part of hosting them in a private home on three separate occasions; they will come early to help you set up and stay late until everything is put away.

If you are in the Bay Area and are interested in hosting, here are the details (from the band):
  • Pick a few days in September that would be best for you
  • We're aiming to play for around 30 of your friends, though we will play for any amount, big or small. It can be a casual get-together, a party, a serious concert setting, a business fete - whatever you want.
  • We're not charging any fee, though we would like to pass a tip jar around or have a suggested donation, if you're comfortable with that.
  • We'd like to sell CDs.
  • We won't be promoting these shows in any way - we won't publicize your address, when/where, etc, so you won't have any strangers wandering around.
  • This means that we won't be bringing any of our contacts to the shows - this is just for you and your friends so that you all can become a part of what we do!
  • Let me know if you're interested, and feel free to pass this along to people you think might be interested!
Email Laura if you are interested, but please let me (Jamie) know as well, I might want to come!

And I'd imagine weekdays will be hardest for them to fill...what are YOU doing Tuesday night?

Below is video of The Family Crest playing at two different house shows (both homes belonging to friends of mine) in Austin during South by Southwest earlier this year when I got to sing with them...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Race and the Bay Area Afrobeat band Albino!

This morning I posted this article on describing a four month lab residency for the Bay Area afrobeat band Albino! to play at the Elbo Room in the Mission. Each month they will team up with a different artist to experiment with the kind of music that might come up out of that partnership. This is month (Friday) they are playing with Liberian-Bay Area DJ Jeremiah.

I'm not gonna lie, when I first heard about this band three years ago, it made my stomach churn a little bit. The idea of an Afrobeat band called Albino! which is comprised of *mostly* white dudes in costume (often African-themed costume and "tribal" face paint) was not really appealing to me at all; especially coming right out of an Ethnomusicology academic program where I thought about race and music consistently for three years. I was even sure that the band was pretty damn good, but it was still disturbing to me.

But then, the more I thought about it, and the more I got to know the Bay Area and its sense of humor and awareness, it seemed less and less of an issue. I mean, in Austin I was in an afropop band where we often didn't even know what we were singing about, let alone if we were singing words that made ANY sense in the original language (we learned covers phonetically). We just liked the music and wanted to recreate it the best we knew how. At least Albino!'s lyrics are in English and write about political and racial issues in their own community (class struggle within Oakland for instance).

The name Albino! and the costumes seem to be merely poking fun at the fact that the musicians are a bunch of white guys, and yeah, "we play African music," so what? There are dozens of afrobeat bands in the US comprised of mostly/all white people (Antibalas, Budos, Nomo, Afrodesia etc), and they're damn damn good bands that I love very much and do all I can to support them. Can I single one out because of a band name and funny outfits? Can I seriously consider this tasteless enough to count them out?

The music is good. The music does not poke fun. I now have one of their live CDs and it's great music.

What do you think; am I trying too hard justify this idea? Can we just laugh at it and dance?

Albino! promo photo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bay Area music mix and the Hear it Local launch party

Please feel free to upload this mix cover into your itunes

As promised, here is the Bay Area Mix that I made for the Hear it Local launch party this evening. It was a fun gathering and it was great to see so many familiar faces, meet knew ones and finally meet other folks that I had been in touch with. I think there's a lot of love for Hear it Local!

It was really exciting for me to hear this music blasted overhead. I know, I'm a dork.

Please check out these amazing local artists and support them! (I have permission to post most of these tracks. If you would like me to remove your music, please let me know and I will do so immediately)

Always More to Hear's Bay Area Music Mix
(Click here to download)

1) B and not B - Traffic Jam of Stars
2) Bang Data - El Pacino
3) Owen Roberts - Around My Thoughts
4) Brass Menažeri - Opa Cupa Fly
5) The Dodos - Red and Purple
6) Built for the Sea - Hypnotist
7) My First Earthquake - Meat Pies
8) Kirk Hamilton - No Crow, Scarecrow
9) OONA - Tore My Heart
10) Sambada - Sangue Africano
11) Blisses B - Juxtaposed
12) Kacey Johansing - Many Seasons
13) Grass Widow - To Where
14) Guitar Mac & His Blues Explosion - T-Bone Shuffle
15) Janam - Vitori, T'u Befte Nena
16) Pomplamoose - Centrifuge
17) The California Honeydrops - Broke Down
18) Ziva - Can't Do Pretend
19) Up Against the Glass - The Botticellis
20) Steve Taylor - Nothing Left
21) Meklit Hadero - Leaving Soon
22) The Dina Maccabee Band - California
23) Oakland Faders - Soul Techniques

Monday, August 9, 2010

Launch Party for local music website Hear it Local: Come celebrate local music!

You're probably very aware of this Hear it Local thing I've been blathering on about. (If it's news to you, I just posted a article about it and the launch party on

But here are the vitals if you are able to come:

Wednesday August 18th at the 111 Minna Gallery featuring performances by Porto Franco Records artist The Nice Guy Trio, Quinn Deveaux and Kelly McFarling.

Chasing the Moon will screen its latest videocast of Tartufi. There will be music photography exhibits by Niall David and Audra Marie Dewitt and snacks by BrokeAss Gourmet. Truly a community effort and I'm VERY excited about it.

Always More to Hear is an official partner of the launch party and I've been asked to put together a playlist of local music for in between live sets and I've been having the best time rummaging through my sampler CDs and mp3 library looking for suitable music. Some you've heard before, some is brand-spanking-new (likes this fabulous Oakland band Bang Data) I'm going to post the playlist here for downloading! Stay tuned!

More info and RSVP on facebook here

I'm super excited to be part of making the Bay Area less overwhelming for live music lovers and I'm honored to be part of such a vital community of smart, creative and passionate people who can make something like this happen.

This is Chasing the Moon's Quinn Deveaux podcast: both will be in attendance on the 18th.

Quinn Deveaux @ Chasing The Moon 9.04.09 from Scott McDowell on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Always More to Hear featured in the GrassRoutes Travel Guides and at the Hear it Local launch party!

Things are getting exciting over here at Always More to Hear!

Serena Bartlett's GrassRoutes Travel guide's to Portland and Seattle feature my mix tapes exploring a taste of music that has come out from those cities. Here I am on the new GrassRoutes website!

The GrassRoutes guides (also including Olympia, San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley and the Northern California Wine Country) are basically all about "green travel" and how to either be a tourist in your own city or learning where the locals go when you are in a new city. The guides feature businesses and organizations that contribute to the sustainability of local economies.

Learn more about the GrassRoutes Guides here.

Also, Hear it Local in the Bay Area is up and running (it is also in the Twin Cities and Boston)! On August 18th at the 111 Minna Gallery is the official launch party (join us if you're in the area!) and Always More to Hear is an official event partner. I am providing the playlist between performances by Nice Guy Trio, Quinn Deveaux and Kelly McFarling with Jonathan Kirchner. Chasing the Moon will screen the newest podcast and there will be exhibits by photographers Niall David and Audra Marie Dewitt. Tasty treats will be provided by Brokeass Gourmet. It's going to be so much fun!

My playlist will feature a variety of some of my favorite local Bay Area music.

Respond to the facebook invite here.

It's been really fun working with my friends to help make our cities more enjoyable! I can't wait to do more.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm syndicated at Hear it Local!

I have the pleasure to announce that Always More to Hear has been syndicated on the San Francisco site of Hear it Local. They have asked a handful of local music bloggers to be involved, and I'm flattered to have been included.

Check it out! And if you're in the Bay Area (or the Twin Cities or Boston where the site also exists), please become a member and enter your favorite bands, venues, organizations, etc. And add me as a "friend." Hear it Local is a one stop shop for local music scenes and can be described as a yelp for music, sort of an aggregator of all the resources out there.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dina Maccabee's Chasing the Moon podcast with Ramon & Jessica

Every so often I like to brag about the people I know and went to school with. I have been so lucky to know some amazing musicians and creative people.

Dina Maccabee and I have crossed paths a number of times, we went to the same overnight summer camp in Southern California, both got music degrees from The University of Michigan and have ended up now living a couple blocks from each other.

Dina is a classically trained violist, but has been seen with a violin and even behind a drum kit. She currently plays with the quirky Ramon & Jessica and Jascha vs. Jascha She now has her own band, the Dina Maccabee band (and will be playing at Cafe du Nord on July 8 in San Francisco) You'll have to ask her how many bands she's in, your guess is a good as mine!

Chasing the Moon is a San Francisco video podcast that features local bands. The current episode features Ramon & Jessica with partner in crime Jesse Olsen and accordianist Marië Abe.

Ramon & Jessica @ Chasing The Moon 05.27.10 from Scott McDowell on Vimeo.

More about Dina Maccabee's

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lia Rose of Built for the Sea looking for your help to fund her solo album

It's a brilliant concept: pay for Lia Rose's album now and get it hot off the press when it's done! That's the idea behind many of's projects. Many of us donate to non-profits, why not help unsigned musicians pay for a new project? The music industry is changing so rapidly, it's impossible to see where it's going. Record labels used to be the only way to make a record, but now you can do it from your bedroom. Unfortunately, it still takes money to make a record.

Fund the project here!

Lia Rose is the ethereal voice in front of the dream anthem pop band Built for the Sea. Their sound is big and warm. Rose's voice is sweet and hypnotic. I started listening to Built for the Sea recently and it was hard to take the CD out of my car stereo. Now Rose is hitting the studio on her own to create something all her own, perhaps something a little more delicate. It'll be exciting to see what comes out of this new project.

There are many different levels of funding, each with their own sized "reward" from a signed CD to a handmade art piece by Rose herself. As of Thursday afternoon, Rose is 78% of the way to her goal with 93 backers. She has 14 days to go. Can she raise the money to get cracking? Will you help?

Click here to hear a couple demo's off the upcoming album

Lia Rose on myspace

Saturday, June 12, 2010

WomenROCK celebrates four years of Bay Area girl power at the Independent this Wednesday

Just weeks before Lilith Fair hits the Bay Area on July 5th, WomenRock showcase some of the local female talent on the stage of the Independent. WomenRock is an all-female musician, artist, and activist collective and after four years the collective continues to grow and become more prominent. This will be the collective's first show at the Independent.

The evening will feature Stripmall Architecture, *bernadette*, Conspiracy of Venus and ZIVA with a burlesque performance by the Cheese Puffs, Spoken Word by Scorpio Blues, SHEketch comedy from PianoFight's Monday Night ForePlays & dance party with DJ Kipp Glass

"We are taking it upon ourselves to work together to create a new, enterprising model of visibility, access and self-enfranchisement. We are organizing ourselves to work together to showcase our creative endeavors, talents, intellect, business savvy and penchant for community-building and activism, whilst creating self-sustaining, quality, alternative lifestyles.” says the celebration’s organizer, musician, activist, and WomenROCK visionary, *bernadette*.

Click here to read Bird in the Tree's interview with several of Wednesday's performers.

For tickets

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pomplamoose featured in Toyota Avalon commercial with "Mister Sandman" cover

Okay. Soooo, maybe it's about time I tell you all this. Some of you know, some of you probably don't... But I've been working for Pomplamoose for just a few hours a week since the end of December 2009. I've been doing things like helping them with their volumes of fanmail, the t-shirt campaign and getting licenses for their cover songs so that they can actually make money off of them. It's been super super fun. Jack and Nataly are really the terrific and funny people that you see in their videos.

So I'm super excited that they have a commercial out featuring one of their songs. I think that maybe even last year I would have looked down upon this sort of musical business deal, but you know what? How are artists supposed to make money anymore with the internet? They certainly don't do it selling recordings or touring! And it will bring Pomplamoose more fans.

Anyway, here's the first bit of an article I just posted on about it. I hope that it will help loop curious ears into who made this fabulous cover when they hear it during a V commercial break.

Pomplamoose's cover of "Mister Sandman" originally performed by the Chordettes is currently being featured in a commercial for the 2011 Toyota Avalon. The commercial fits the music perfectly with a quirky 1940s vibe in a train station. Watch the original video here. The commercial has been placed in prime time slots.

Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte seem to be everywhere right now coming right off of airing an interview with NPR just last weekend (listen to the interview and read the article here). Their cover of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" has just passed the 4 million views mark and their cover of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" is striding its way through the 2 millions.

Read more here (cause you know I like the clicks)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The second Bay Area Ladies Rock Camp a raging success

Me at Ladies Rock Camp 2009 playing the bass with Mama and the Tweets

Just this last weekend was the Bay Area Ladies Rock Camp. I wasn't a camper this year, but put in some time making dinner for the 25 campers and 20 volunteers. I also went to the showcase on Sunday. It was a lot of fun and moving as always (I always cry a little).

I am proud to have been responsible for two of the campers this year: my friends Marla and Crystal. Both learned to play the drums. Marla is in this video below with the crazy green eye-shadow. Crystal, originally from Vancouver, came up from LA for Rock Camp.

Crystal said:
It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I've learned that you can do anything and it's never too late...

After the performances, numerous people came up to me to give me hugs and high fives. They couldn't believe it was my first time picking up drumsticks 3 days ago. They were amazed at how great I was.

Being someone who is generally uncomfortable with praise, it was so crazy. Who knew I was a drummer? Even though I've always wanted to do it, it wasn't until now that I took the opportunity to do so. I'm so glad I did it. As it turns out, I AM a drummer.
Each Lady Rock Camper's tuition for the weekend goes directly to a girl camper that would not be able to afford it otherwise. At the Bay Area camp, 50% of the girl campers are on some kind of scholarship.

Rock Camps are popping up all over the country and all over the world. There might be one in your city. I HIGHLY recommend that you check it out for yourself, your mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, step-mom and friends. It is super fun and maybe one of the best weekends you will ever have.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bay Area talent gives back to the diabetic community with "Sugar Rush" (or my first paid PR gig!)

When Ziva of WomenRock contacted me with a paid PR gig for this fundraiser for The American Diabetes Association, I couldn't say 'no.' No time to learn how to write a press release like the present. Turns out, it's not that complicated! And it's for a good cause.

So if you're in the Bay Area next Thursday the 15th of April and want to hear some local music (all of these artists will be new to me, so I'm certainly excited) come out and support the fight against Diabetes.

Oh, and there will be some silly vaudevillian style sexy dancers too (they're called the Cheesepuffs)!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Monthly Seaweed Sway showcase for a relaxing Sunday evening at the Make-Out Room

Happy Birthday to Dina of Ramon and Jessica!

Sunday nights are for taking it easy and letting your brain have a little bit of a break before the week begins again. Sometimes you feel like staying in, and sometimes you feel like a relaxing night out with mellow music. If you're in the mood for the latter, check out the new Seaweed Sway monthly showcase at the Make-Out room this Sunday the 20th. It's purpose is to build community around local music and and highlight some of the best music in the Bay Area. The organizer is local music, farming and yoga enthusiast Jessie Woletz, and her blog is the Seaweed Sway.

This showcase falls during the holiday season and will be encouraging the festive, so wear your ugly holiday sweaters! I know you have one left over from the last party you went to. Bring a non-perishable (healthy if possible) food item to donate to the San Francisco Food Bank and get $1 off admission as well.

December's showcase will feature some of the best indie/folk/pop music in San Francisco from Garrett Pierce, Kacey Johansing, Ramon & Jessica, and MC'd by Jeremy Dalmas. Stick around for a dance party in honor of Dina Maccabee (of Ramon & Jessica)'s birthday, for those who can stay out late. Come celebrate! Sunday night style, so it starts early, but latecomers are welcome. Doors at 7:30, music at 8 sharp.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chanticleer performs in the Cathedral of Christ the Light: or how I spent my second night of Hannukah

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of attending the barely one-year-old Cathedral of Christ the Light right on Lake Merritt in Oakland for an evening with the Bay Area’s own "orchestra of voices" Chanticleer. The twelve guys are back from touring the country and have already begun their annual Bay Area Christmas concerts.

This is the first time I’ve seen Chanticleer, and what I really love about them (other than their music) is the air of the fun they have. There are jokes in the program bios and smiles all around. I spotted the signature insanely awesome handlebar mustache of eldest member Eric Alatorre and the faux mohawk of soprano Michael McNeil. I see this kind of artistic seriousness coupled with gleeful enjoyment a signature Bay Area attitude and I am reminded how much I love living in this part of the country. I am also proud that these guys (most of them from middle America) represent my little slice of the world when they go out on the road.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

CMASH and Classical Revolution bringing concert music back to the people

A note to my classical/concert musician friends:

If you are into performing music for not just folks in concert halls, please do yourself a favor and check out the organization Classical Revolution. They might put on shows near you.

A note to my composer friends:

Check out CMASH, a Bay Area collective of musicians and composers.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Tore My Heart": best "So You Think You Can Dance" performance of the night, a tune by Bay Area Girls Rock Camp volunteer Oona Garthwaite

If you saw So You Think You Can Dance last night, you saw Jakob Karr and Ellenore Scott give everyone goosebumps with the modern choreography of Sonya Tayeh. The performance received a standing ovation from the audience as well as from all three judges making them freak out quite a bit (there was a lot of screaming). Nigel called the performance "fabulous" and his "favorite routine of the season." See the video below.

But I'm not going to talk about the dancing; I'm a music writer! I will say, however that it was moving performance, especially when Jakob and Ellenore walked forehead-to-forehead across the stage at the beginning. The habanera rhythm used in the song - like the aria with the same title from the 19th century opera Carmen by Georges Bizet - really lends itself to modern dance. I love it when traditional pieces of musical composition fit right into modern pop culture. Ellenore and Jakob used the Cuban rhythm to undulate across the floor. The pauses in the song also add to the drama of the performance, which Sonya Tayeh's choreography brilliantly mirrored.

click here to enjoy a video of the performance.

OONA is the magical pairing of singer/keyboardist/lyricist Oona Garthwaite and drummer/songwriter/jack-of-all-trades Dave Tweedie. Their music is what I call electro-soul-pop, yes, I just made up a genre. But think of it: soulful vocals with a pop mentality that makes you want to shake your booty. Oh, just listen to some of their music!

The song is now available on iTunes. Congrats guys!

Oona Garthwaite volunteers with me at the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some kickass Bay Area music: My First Earthquake, B and Not B and Dina Maccabee

Wednesday night I'm going to have to try my best to see all three of these bands, but I'll settle for two. They'll play again. I've known Dina Maccabee for years and am super psyched to see her fronting her own band for a change. B and Not B and My First Earthquake are new to me but am happy to have gotten to know them recently.

For those of you in the Bay Area, come check out these bands and/or keep them on your radar for future gigs. Those of you not in the Bay Area, check them out anyway! Support independent music.