IPO San Francisco 2016
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Artists From The Bay Area
Blame The Bishop – A band based out of Citrus Heights who exist at the intersection where traditional American rock and British pop meet. The band’s namesake and guitarist/singer, Warren Bishop, and fellow guitarist/singer Todd Weber have been playing together for 11 years through The Holy Men/The Onlymen combination before a reboot as Blame The Bishop. In addition to their original songs, the band often will dig into their collective memories and pull out some choice covers, so this is one show you will not want to miss! Check out their recently released New & Used, a collection of their recordings from 2009 through 2015!
The Bobbleheads – An absolutely engaging trio 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 Automatic Fun CD still ranks as one of the good feelin’ CDs of The New Millennium, and their latest, Make Yourself Happy, is even better!
KC Bowman – Long known for his clever wordplay, irresistible melodies, and mind-bending chord changes, Bowman has been an IPO-mainstay in many guises: as a solo performer, as the driving force behind the ultra quirky bubblegum pop combo The Preoccupied Pipers, as a guitarist/vocalist in The Corner Laughers (see below), and as maestro of the sunshine-psych-glam-power pop super-group Agony Aunts. We never know what melodic and lyrical surprises he has in store, but we know it will be something you won’t want to miss! Check out any of his solo or band CDs, and you’ll understand what we mean!
David Brookings and The Average Lookings – This transplant to San Jose (by way of Memphis) has consistently released stellar albums. His music has been compared to the likes of Jellyfish, Matthew Sweet, and Rooney. His recently released self titled CD with his new band, The Average Lookings, “…bears all of the necessary hallmarks required of top-notch Power Pop: solid, mid-tempo melodies that stick in the listener’s memory after the songs fade; carefully-crafted close vocal harmony; chiming guitars; and freedom from musical gimmickry.” (Spill Magazine)
Cash For Gold – A trio who meld the beautiful harmonies and melodies of bands such as The Zombies or The Shangri-Las with a dark hypnotic vibe comparable to Beach House or The Raveonettes. The songs on their latest EP, Swan Dive, capture the dark underbelly and grit from the streets of San Francisco, and lovingly carry both it and the listener through an array of restless, catchy melodies.
Claire On A Dare – A quintet who blend elements of shoegaze, glam rock, funk, and acoustic flourishes with melody and passionate story telling to provide a polished and compelling rock experience. Their latest album, Sanctified: Deitor Darker & the Infinites, is a multimedia rock-opera-inspired concept album, based upon the thin line between love, infatuation and madness. Very cool!
The Clarences – The Clarences were hatched by Robert A. Medeiros in Oakland, California. He was traumatized because Mego never made a Green Lantern action figure. Then, he met Erin Shannon at a reading aboard a b-52. After that, he met Leslie Outhier at a Canadian bunny farm. Together, they are The Clarences, and have just celebrated their 10th anniversary together last April! One of the most fun bands in the Bay Area!
Corner Laughers – A band known for quirky intelligent lyrics, catchy melodies, harmonies, and fun! The Corner Laughers’ new album, The Matilda Effect, offers the clever wordplay, magical melodies and heartbreaking harmonies fans and critics have come to expect from the group, while displaying their wry and witty spirit of adventure!
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. The current lineup rocks harder than ever…and boy, can Friedmann write a good hook!
Hidden Pictures – A combo from Oakland by way of Kansas City, with several excellent albums and EPs to their credit, all characterized by intelligent lyrics, sparkling pop melodies, and pretty harmonies. Fans of Belle and Sebastian, Apples in Stereo, or Fleet Foxes who are not already familiar with their work should definitely check them out!
Marshall Holland – Hailing from Salinas, California – the land of Steinbeck, strawberries and spinach – Marshall Holland is a Golden State native with an ear for radio-ready melody, and the artistry to turn those melodies into fully realized pop soundscapes. Over the course of his three releases, Holland has perfected his approach to baroque pop hooks with a hovering specter of melancholy – along the lines of the Left Banke or the Three O’Clock – while occasionally rocking enough to put him in the same garage as the Monkees or Weezer. His latest release, Marshall Holland And The Etceteras, hit #2 on KALX-FM’s weekly album charts! Pretty cool!
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. The current live band features Greg Lisher of Camper Van Beethoven on guitar; Kevin T. White of Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express on bass, and long time co-producer/engineer Matt Boudreau on drums. The band’s latest CD, Risk Profile, is a mix of delightful western ballads and pure twangy power pop; certainly something for everyone!
The Saucy Jacks – Lead by Aaron Burnham on vocals and guitar with Marty Garrett on bass, Mark Ostopiak on drums, and Julie Chandler on keyboard, The Saucy Jacks emerged from the ashes of The Makes Nice, much like a Phoenix, but more like Jefferson Starship. The unabashedly retro melodic pop on their recently released debut album, You Make Your Own World, will appeal to fans of classic power pop and mod artists such as The Kinks, Small Faces, and John’s Children!
Bradley Skaught-The main man of the awesome The Bye Bye Blackbirds is treating us to a rare solo appearance! Torchbearers for harmony laden guitar pop in the 21st century, The Bye Bye Blackbirds have pooled their talents to create a sparkling blend of country and roots influences, classic 60’s guitar pop, 70’s power pop, contemporary indie rock and the college radio heroes of the 1980’s! It will be wonderful to hear their songs in a more stripped down milleu!
Small Change Romeos – A dynamic rock band led by two prolific singer songwriters and backed by a rhythm section tour de force. They sizzle with vocal harmonies, catchy tunes and guitar driven rock ‘n roll. Drawing from a number of influences and musical genres that range from rock, country, and blues to alternative, the band is renowned for firing up audiences with memorable songs, and an engaging, energized live show. Look for a new album later this year!
TRIP WIRE – A quartet who produce short catchy songs that revolve around that perfect juxtaposition of power pop, indie rock, psychedelic rock and garage styles on their recent Get In & Get Out album. As such, fans of The Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, Guided By Voices, and REM will surely dig ‘em!
Vincent Gargiulo National Park – A new high energy theatrical rock band freakshow from Oakland, based around the music of award-winning film-maker/musician Vincent Gargiulo. Masters of “kitsch rock,” VGNP’s songs will appeal to fans of Weird Al Yankovic, Talking Heads, and Frank Zappa. A debut album is due out soon, but in the meantime, you can check out any of Gargiulo’s solo work and come to their IPO showcase!
The Well Wishers – The latest project by the main man of San Francisco stalwarts, Spinning Jennies, The Well Wishers sound is a little less power pop and closer to that of Shelton’s long time musical heroes, The Posies. Based on a solid foundation of melody, song-craft, and the ever important “musical hook”, the Well Wishers’ deliver a warm, full-bodied sound and engaging take on the typical power pop formula. The latest Well Wishers album, Comes And Goes, turns the power up to 11, while adding a darker brooding undercurrent to Shelton’s characteristic mix of bouncy Brit-pop and swirling brash psychedelia! Very cool!
U.S. Artists From Outside Of The Bay Area
The Armoires – Hailing from Burbank, and led by duo Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko, The Armoires draw on influences as diverse as ‘60s sunshine pop, new wave and postpunk, classic country and shoegazer dreampop. Their unique harmonies give life to literate and deeply felt tales of love, loss, confusion and joy, and they can be described as everything from a power pop Gram and Emmylou, a janglier version of X, a new wave Fleetwood Mac, the New Pornographers for the lower 48…to the Postpunk Partridge Family! Their IPO San Francisco showcase is part of the release tour for their debut album, Incidental Lightshow!
Jason Berk – A critically acclaimed singer-songwriter who comes to the west coast (he splits time between Los Angeles and San Francisco) by way of New York, Berk has proven himself to be a musical tour-de-force, teaching himself guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, ukulele, mandolin, and banjo, and garnering nationwide radio-play. His latest album, Coming Home, will appeal to fans of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, and Elvis Costello, to name but a few! Said fans will also want to watch out for his new one, Everything Old Is New Again, which will be out soon!
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!
Plasticsoul – Led by singer/songwriter/producer Steven Wilson, who over the past decade has been performing various roles in multiple bands while compiling a large catalogue of original, dynamic pop songs. The latest Plasticsoul CD, Peacock Swagger, took the top spot on several “best CDs of 2009” lists – check it out for yourself and you’ll hear why! The long-awaited new album, The Girl of Many Tribes, will be out very soon, and is available on the Plasticsoul website for pre-order now! Definitely one of Pasadena’s finest!
Ships Have Sailed – Since their inception, LA’s Ships Have Sailed have always struck a balance between exuberant pop and substantial alternative rock, a formula for success that has earned them both a loyal following and numerous accolades from ISC, Unsigned Only and The John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Whether doing it slick and electric, as they do on their debut album, Moodswings, or mellow and acoustic, as exemplified by their EP, Whispers, their soaring melodies and heartfelt delivery will stick with you long after the last note of their songs! IPO is honored to have them as the first band ever that’s scheduled to play all six stops in a row of our West Coast tour!!
Mark Pountney – Having previously led various musical projects, such as The Mojave Collection and Mark Delaney & Friends, Pountney is now performing under his own name, shedding the restrictions of a “band” format and working with no fixed musical style and with an extended family of musicians to have fun and make music. His songs – which you can hear at his IPO showcase and on his recent CDs, Mark I and Mark II – are influenced by everything from The Beatles to The Move to Cat Stevens to Howlin’ Wolf, and a whole lot in between! He’s traveled all the way from Liverpool to IPO San Francisco, so come out and show him some love!