IPO San Francisco 2012
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Artists From San Francisco
Agony Aunts-Agony Aunts is a super-assemblage of San Francisco Bay area psych pop luminaries featuring members of Preoccupied Pipers (see below), Bigwheel, The Orange Peels, and The Corner Laughers (see below). Their latest full length CD, Greater Miranda, has the glam rock chops to appeal to fans of Elton John or Abba, as well as to fans of the quirky chord changes and intelligent lyrics for which Preoccupied Pipers and The Corner Laughers are known
The American Professionals -You’re sure to get your RDA recommended allotment of procrastination, self-indulgence and low self esteem, and still get to savor the joys of catchy melodies, grinding guitars, and fluffy billows of lush harmony with this band…not to mention that their live shows are always entertaining!
Butch Berry -Already known for concise blasts of pop and energetic stage shows, Berry wanted to create a deeper intimate and more enveloping experience. His CD, Enamorado, opening with a traditional Spanish flavored song, ending with a Beatle-esque strings and harmonies song of a positive imagined ending, more than any of his previous releases, feels like a true album in the classic sense. Epic!
Johnny J. Blair -His vocabulary is influenced by the Bible, classic comedy (Charlie Chaplin, Marx Brothers), film noir, the poetry of T.S. Eliot, and the writings of Raymond Chandler, Graham Greene, and John Steinbeck, while his music is informed by everything from Bach to Badfinger! The songs on his I Like The Street CD will also appeal to fans of world beat, pyschedelia, glam/arena-rock, and R&B!
The Bobbleheads -An absolutely engaging trio from San Francisco who’ve created, as they put it, a “niche of niceness”, with their “bubblegum flavored indiepop”, in which can be heard musical influences ranging from Flower Power Pop to experimental chamber music! Their latest CD, Automatic Fun, definitely gets our vote as the good feelin’ CD of 2004, and they’re finally working on a new one which we can hardly wait to hear!
Brad Brooks -Brad Brooks is that rare quadruple threat of writer, player, singer, and performer. His songs combine the melodic sensibility of Elvis Costello, the best instincts of Wilco and Brian Wilson, along with the orchestral sophistication of Queen. His voice can wail like a blue-eyed soul singer, whisper plaintively, croon with just a touch of twang, or soar through the most demanding melodic acrobatics, all of which can be heard on his latest CD, Harmony of Passing Light, and at his IPO showcase!
Trevor Childs & The Beholders -These Bay Area boys miss big arena rock. Melody, sing alongs, celebration of a grand old time, cheerfully sung bad times, guitar solos (before bad ‘80s solos wrecked guitar solos) and songs that fade out…and it clearly shows in their music! The super catchy songs on their recently released Spirit Guide CD will have you clapping and toe-tapping back to when rock was…well, ROCK!
The Clarences -A melody driven powerpop rock band hailing from Oakland, The Clarences offer a fresh perspective on the often formulaic pop band routine, mixing in all kinds of fun elements, be they glam, girl-group, or classically influenced. Their music and their concerts are lively, sometimes silly and always rocking!
The Connies -The Connies play straight-up rock n’ roll with punk and garage influences….and a bit of irreverent humor thrown into the lyrics for good measure! Their recent CD, Wounds, will appeal to fans of The Ramones, ChixDiggit, and The Troggs!
The Corner Laughers -A band known for quirky intelligent lyrics, catchy melodies, harmonies, and fun! The Corner Laughers’ new CD, Poppy Seeds, is a shimmering love letter to the Golden State, offering the clever wordplay, magical melodies and heartbreaking harmonies fans and critics have come to expect from the group, while breaking new ground in focus, depth and texture!
Dangermaker -Dangermaker’s debut LP, Black Dream, is a bit dark and mysterious at times, yet also pervasively upbeat, catchy and fun, filled with lots of energy and cool, dark, angular melodies. They straddle the bridge between indie dance rock and classic alternative, somewhere between ‘70s Bowie and The Stones, The Clash, The Stooges and Ted Leo, The Stills, Spoon, and Interpol. A truly dynamic band!
Hope Chest -Originally started in 1992 in the days of shoegaze, the band now finds itself much more capable of expressing the depth of their songs while still retaining a heavy dream pop sensibility. Their magnum opus, Halcyon Daze – 12 Years of Tears, featuring Hope Chest recordings from the early days through more recent vintage, was well worth the wait, but not to rest on their laurels, they’re back in the studio, working on a brand new EP!
Sean O’Brien -If you like the grittier side of folk rock with just a touch of twang, you will certainly appreciate the music of this man and his band(s)! His latest CD, The Drug of Memory, covers nearly thirty years of recorded work with The Meantime, True West, Cottonmouth, The Mariettas and some solo work. The majority of these tracks have never before been released! Awesome!
Preoccupied Pipers -The ultra-entertaining combo led by the irrepressibly witty IPO mainstay, K.C. Bowman. Although they’re mostly an insular studio entity, making up & recording quasi-improvisational songs of the bubblegum – psychedelic, buttrock – powerpop and/or stoner – weirdo – comedy variety, they do come out and play live each year we do IPO San Francisco, for which we are truly grateful! Their latest CD, White Bicycle Plan, is full of the same clever wordplay and irresistible melodies that graced all of Bowman’s solo CDs.
Talk Tonight -The latest project by Christian Navarro, whose previous band Smith Point were known for their catchy melodies and hooky riffs. Talk Tonight continues in a similar vein of straight up rock n’ roll with a pop twist. Their brand new EP, A Single Day, is now available, so check it out!
Chris von Sneidern -A true legend of the San Francisco pop scene, this man has almost re-invented himself by being one of the most prolific songwriters on the scene for many years, delivering disc after disc of unpretentious delights. His CDs have gotten rave responses from all who have heard them, and his latest, California Redemption Value, is definitely one of his best!
Zero Pop -The newest project of prolific singer/songwriter/author Frank Innocent, who draws influences from a variety of musical styles (powerpop, folk, psychedelic, punk) and blends them into his own unique sound. Fans of bands such as The Raspberries, Talk Talk, The Beatles, The Jam, Cheap Trick, and long time San Francisco and IPO faves, The Spinning Jennies, will want to check them out!
U.S. Artists From Outside Of San Francisco
Ashbury Keys -A straight-up pop rock band from Houston who have garnered multiple nominations as one of the best bands of the city! On their latest CD, Growing Up, you’ll hear trendy pop-rock music and love song lyrics with a sound not unlike Weezer meets The Cars, and that will meet with your approval! Returning from a brief hiatus, they’ve recently released a new EP, called Wake Up, and are ready to bring their powerful brand of melodic rock to the city by the bay!
Beyond Veronica -This Portland four-piece (by way of San Francisco) dubs themselves “instrospective power pop, with guitars”, but they might convince you that they’re extroverts at heart with their live performances and songs that will call to mind bands like Blondie and The Pandoras. Their fab new disc (or vinyl!), Hard Times for Dreamers, will also appeal to fans of the Paisley Underground! Their IPO appearance will be a fine homecoming!
David Brookings -This recently transplated San Jose resident (by way of Memphis) has consistently released stellar albums. His music has been compared to the likes of Jellyfish, Matthew Sweet, Elvis Costello, and Rooney. His latest CD, Glass Half Full, adds an uplifting yet wistful Americana undertone. A must-have for any true powerpop fan!
The Honey Wilders -A combo emerging from the basements of Sunnyvale, who play old school powerpop with a dash of twang. Fielding an arena-rock-worthy lineup of three guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, and a lead vocalist who blows a mean harmonica, their sonic palette is diverse enough to cover everything from swampy blues to jangly pop to spaced-out jams to hard-driving anthems, as can be heard on their debut CD, Singles for Singles. Think Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, The Rubinoos, and Nick Lowe wrapped into one, and you get the picture!
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop -Hailing from the unlikely hamlet of Kingsburg, California, this
ensemble uses just about every instrument under the sun to create some bizarre, witty, quirky, yet ultimately melodic sounds, and have become an IPO fan favorite from LA to Liverpool! Their latest opus, entitled The Underground Garden, pays homage to a little known garden attraction in Fresno. Definitely something a little bit different!
The Relatives -This powerful Santa Ana, CA quartet belts out classic powerpop that all lovers of the genre are sure to appreciate! They’ve released two CDs, and are currently working on their third, tentatively titled Tilted World, which we can hardly wait to hear! If you like Cheap Trick, Material Issue, and The Smithereens, you will also dig The Relatives!
Sue Hedges -If it isn’t remarkable enough that she has met Prince Charles and has performed on bills with Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris, this Liverpool lass has been blind almost since birth! But there are many sides to the prolific Miss Hedges – she’s been known to display her rock diva persona, throw in a jangle-pop song, a bit of country twang, a heartfelt ballad, and then to belt out some soul all in the space of a single set! Check out her latest CD, The Soundtrack of My Dreams!
Dave Rave -He began popping very powerfully indeed a near quarter century ago as part of the legendary Canadian bands Teenage Head and The Shakers, and has often been referred to as “The Canadian Nick Lowe.” His latest CD, Live With What You Know, was nominated for a Grammy, as was one of its songs “Anne Marie”!! He’s played every IPO the past two years, with hopefully many more to come. Thank you, Dave!!