IPO San Francisco 2013
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Artists from San Francisco
Agony Aunts – 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. Their tunes have 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. This show is the planned CD release of Big Cinnamon, which also drips with sweet and spicy ‘60s psychedelic influences – yum!
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 and ending with Beatle-esque strings and harmonies, more than any of his previous releases, feels like a true album in the classic sense. Epic!
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 one of the good feelin’ CDs of The New Millennium, and they’re finally working on a new one, which we can hardly wait to hear!
The Bottle Kids – The latest project of recent Austin, TX ex-pat. singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric Blakley, The Bottle Kids embody powerpop circa 1979 – which, by the way, we think is a GOOD thing! Think Paul Collins (for whom Blakely recently performed as a lead guitarist/background vocalist), The Knack, and Supertramp rolled into one! We’re honored that they’ve chosen to make their IPO showcase the release party for their debut CD, Such A Thrill, so be sure to come out and pick up a copy!
The Clarences – A melody driven powerpop rock combo 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! A follow up is in the works, so watch for it!
Eric Friedmann and The Lucky Rubes – The songs on their latest CD, Telephone Girl, perfectly straddle the line between the alt-country vibe of bands like Walter Clevenger and The Dairy Kings or The Jayhawks and the traditional power pop of Cheap Trick or The Knack. And boy, can Friedmann write a good hook! 2013 sees the band with an exciting new lineup that we can hardly wait to see and hear!
Hot Nun – We at IPO know that any band with Jeff Shelton (of The Well Wishers, Headslide, and The Spinning Jennies) at the helm is bound to rock, and Hot Nun does not disappoint! Equal parts hard rock and power pop, Hot Nun’s debut self titled album packs a serious one-two punch of full throttle guitar rock with ample doses of melodic hooks and pop vocal flourishes for which Shelton has become known. Just don’t be afraid to play it loud!
The Last Out – Formed when Bay Area music veterans Scott (guitar/bass/vocals) and Gary (drums) found Jordan (guitar/bass) sleeping in a gutter and asked him if he wanted to join a band. Their live show has been compared to chimps mating at the zoo, if the chimps were playing music instead of mating, and the zoo was actually a dive bar. Still chimps, though…but boy do those chimps play kick-ass guitar!
Lowboy (feat. Adam Burnett) – Adam Burnett sometimes writes big, loud rock songs that suit a full band like his other project, Dangermaker who have also played IPO San Francisco…and other times he doesn’t. He has created a little separation here with Lowboy to experiment with a more minimal approach to some of his acoustic based songs, explore the singer/songwriter world he started from. The result sounds like a modern take on retro pop, Americana & folk, somewhere between a stripped down Velvet Underground or young Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Band of Horses, or even Jesus and the Mary Chain!
Sean O’Brien and His Dirty Hands – If you like the grittier, angular side of folk rock with just a touch of twang, you will certainly appreciate the music of this man and his band(s)! Having been a member of The Meantime, True West, Cottonmouth, The Mariettas, and Denim TV, he now performs with his band The Dirty Hands. His latest CD, Future Harvest, is a mix of delightful western ballads and pure twangy powerpop! Certainly something for everyone!
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.
Sea Dramas – The music of Sea Dramas ranges from hazy folk with pensive melodies to ‘60s inspired echo laden pop that melds genres and styles with swirling, dreamlike qualities. Their debut CD, Soft Wake, will appeal to fans of The Everly Brothers, modern shoegazer dreampop and The Paisley Underground pantheon of bands! Check it out now!
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, ultra radio-friendly rock n’ roll with a pop twist. Their debut EP, A Single Day, was one of the best of 2012, and they’ve got a new single due out soon, so watch for it!
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!
The Whitehalls – It’s your typical “older sibling with formal music training teaches younger sibling how to play guitar only to find younger sibling is a songwriting genius who himself discovers he still needs older sibling to help him put a band together and get his songs recorded-a true rock ‘n roll fairytale! Their debut CD, Say It Like You Mean It, will appeal to fans of Oasis, Charlatans UK, and R.E.M.…one listen, and you will believe in fairy tales, too!
Zero Pop – The latest 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
David Brookings – This 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!
Michelle Carter – She’s a force to be reckoned with in the LA music scene (and in the industry at large, as she frequently travels to other locales, such as Austin and Nashville, and has played IPO in her native Vancouver in addition to her home of LA), and will have a career to aspire to for years to come. Her voice has already been heard on the first season of The L Word, as well as on Sony Music (Media Software) Pocket Diva Acid Loop Pack, and her debut LP, So Simple! Not one to rest on her laurels, she’s got both a solo CD and a duet project with Keith Megna that should both be available soon!
Lannie Flowers – The 2010 CD by this Texas gent, Circles, flew to the top of many a powerpop best of the year list, and with good reason! Badfinger-esque in-your-face guitars and vocal harmonies blend with softer shifting harmonies more reminiscent of XTC. His latest, New Songs, Old Stories, continues in similar vein and rocks even harder! Fans of artists from The Raspberries to The Velvet Underground will also appreciate this one, and we appreciate that he and his band have played the IPO festival in many cities throughout the world!
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 CD, Teasers from the Whispermaphone, is a rollicking romp through a Seuss-ian soundscape painted by Frank Zappa! Definitely something a little bit different!
Sarah Petrella – Writing songs since the tender age of six (!), Petrella has a wide range of influences – from country to rootsy Americana pop to early California punk pop – all of which she blends into her own catchy carefree brand of radio-ready music. Come check out her IPO showcase and hear one of Los Angeles’ hot emerging talents for yourself!
The Relatives – This powerful Orange County 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, the video for which can be seen on YouTube. If you like Cheap Trick, Material Issue, and The Smithereens, you will also dig The Relatives!
Stormy Strong – Sinking in deep with an unforgettably addictive sting, Stormy Strong’s unique brand of “alternative saltwater rock” casts razor sharp hooks to the hungry masses. Strong’s honest bitter lyrics, raw emotion and anthemic melodies splice seamlessly with award winning songwriting that is fast approaching gale-force intensity. “Jumpstart The Heart,” the single from Strong’s new EP, Take Her Down, has been making waves all over the internet, and was recently chosen as as #1 in “Rick’s Picks 2012” on Chicago’s renowned “The Best Radio You Have Never Heard” podcast. Pretty cool! Definitely one of the finest rockers to come out of Santa Cruz in quite a while!
French Boutik – This Parisian ensemble has their musical hands firmly on the pulse of our future while keeping their feet grounded on dance floors of the past. Buzzing and popping with powerful guitar, percolating organ, and sultry female lead vocals courtesy of Gabriela, a San Francisco native now living in Paris, who is performing with her French band in her original hometown for the first time, the amusing and troubling sounds perfectly represent French Boutik’s timely marriage of English and French pop. The resulting songs here are social portraits peppered with irony, and delivered with a sophistication not unlike The Kinks, Jacques Dutronc or XTC. Groovy!