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7" Fix: Grass Widow / Shannon and the Clams Split for Hollywood Nailz

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 17, 2013 11:13pm | Post a Comment

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I can't think of the last time a seven-inch split lead me to a TV show, let alone a scrummy back-bridge of DIY television programming like Hollywood Nailz. All I thought I was getting into when I slid the 45rpm slice of block-rockin' Bay Area vibrations onto the ol' hi-fi was some good time 90's cover tunes redressed and turned-out by Grass Widow (who tackled EMF's "Unbelievable") and Shannon and the Clams (who snagged "The Power" by Snap!). And, for a fact, much enjoyment ensued. But, as luck would have it, I wanted more.
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Gripping the record sleeve, flipping it over, and eyeing the artwork during that first listen, my mind swam with questions as to what the impetus was behind this particular joint funfest (as if a reason for such is needed). Questions like: what is this, Hollywood Nailz™: the Record? Why is everyone so wigged-out and googly-eyed? A wee visit to the web, et voilà, I found myself tucking into a near twenty-five minute acid rainbow of a variety show that could very well double as testimonial to thrift stores, dumpster diving, and other such pursuits that, coupled with not a small amount of ingenuity, have the power to fulfill even the most ludicrous of 1-900 intergalactic phone sex wishes and Neon Desert battle-of-the-band dreams. Speaking of the battle-of -the-bands, who knew Grass Widow could breakdance?

My Top 50 Albums of 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2012 07:24pm | Post a Comment

50. Purity RingShrines

purity ring shrinesPurity Ring make Cocteau Twins­-style dream pop by way of Salem’s hard-hitting witchhouse on an album more notable for its smooth blending of related genres than for its actual songwriting, but they’ve got a sweet sound nonetheless.

 

 

49. Cold ShowersLove & Regret

Cold Showers Cold Showers’ short and sweet debut heralds the arrival of a great new L.A. band, beaming shoegaze guitars over darkwave synths and goth-style vocals. (Read my review of Cold Showers' show here.)

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Of Sound and Vision: An Interview with Hannah Lew of Grass Widow

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 26, 2012 12:25pm | Post a Comment
A few years back I fell for San Francisco trio Grass Widow pretty hard. Charmed by the inviting warmth of the "cosy practice space" image on the cover of their debut album I was primed to plunge headfirst into the rabbithole of Grass Widow's homespun, post-punk wonderland. Digging deeper I found bassist/vocalist Hannah Lew's contribution to the band to be greater than merely a sewing of sonic lines and hemmed-in harmonies. A true visionary, Hannah is dishes a triple threat of aesthetic ingenuity evident in her work as a a filmmaker, visual artist, and musician, whether playing solo or with an ensemble. She's just the coolest!

Hannah was gracious enough to answer some of my questions recently, for the interview read on below.

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How did you come to be a musician, filmmaker, and visual artist? Did you naturally lean one way before the other? 

Hannah Lew: I have many useless talents and envy people that have the tunnel vision to be excellent at one or two things. I lean many ways and consider myself mediocre at many things. I came to these specific three mediums in very different ways. I always drew and painted as a child and actually went to college for fine art. I always felt frustrated with visual art because its very culturally exclusive whereas music and film are assessable to everyone and I've always felt like I can express myself better through these mediums. I actually lived in New York during 9/11 and totally freaked out about what I was doing with creative energy. It sounds cheesy, but those events had a profound effect on how I decided to spend my energy. Two days before 9/11 I had dresses on a runway at NY Fashion Week and was on my way to pursuing a career as a visual artist. 9/11 just kind of made me reassess what really mattered to me and I decided to find a more satisfying way to reach people with my ideas. The fashion and art world just suddenly felt very superficial and meaningless.
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Later that year I moved to Philadelphia and started a band, but I just jumped around and sang and played Moog. Then, in 2003, I moved back to SF and my friend Frankie and I decided to start a band even though we didn't know how to play any instruments. We basically got in a room with our friends Wu and Raven and everyone casually picked an instrument. Our band was called Shitstorm mostly because we all thought is was a joke band. But then we ended up playing for five years and touring a lot and though we tried to change our name we just couldn't shake it. We really sucked at first, but it was in that band that we all learned how to play the instruments that we would go on to play for the next decade. I feel like I came into my style as a musician through the bass. 

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In A Cloud II - MORE New Sounds From San Francisco!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, July 17, 2012 12:23pm | Post a Comment
Looking to scope the lay of the local pop scene in San Francisco? Seek no further than In A Cloud...II!
in a cloud II san francisco local bands various artists vinyl lp compilation secret seven records Vetiver, Ty Segall, Hannah Lew (of Grass Widow), Wymond Miles (of Fresh & Onlys), Chuck Prophet, Lucky Eyes, Will Sprott (of The Mumlers), Sonny & The Sunsets, Paula Frazer, Kelley Stoltz, Bad Backs, Tim Cohen (of Fresh & Onlys), and Papercuts, Cover Art by Simon Evans, limited editon pressing

Finally, the long anticipated sister release to the initial In a Cloud - New Sounds from San Francisco compilation the fine folks at Secret Seven Records delivered back in 2010 is ready for her coming out par-tay! Like her predecessor, In A Cloud II: New Sounds from San Francisco features 13 previously unreleased recordings from some of the city by the bay's finest, including: Vetiver, Ty Segall, Hannah Lew (of Grass Widow), Wymond Miles (of Fresh & Onlys), Chuck Prophet, Lucky Eyes, Will Sprott (of The Mumlers), Sonny & The Sunsets, Paula Frazer, Kelley Stoltz, Bad Backs (featuring Andrew Kerwin of Trainwreck Riders & Bianca Sparta of Erase Errata), Tim Cohen (of Fresh & Onlys and Magic Trick), and Papercuts with fresh-to-death cover art by Simon Evans. Unlike the previous In A Cloud jammer, this sweet baby is a limited vinyl-only release with 650 copies pressed so don't go sleepin' in on the release date (that would be today, y'all sleepyheads). The Hannah Lew track, "Octopus via Satellite", currently has my heart hypnotized like a gracefully executed intergalactic postcard, it's hard to imagine this would've could've ever been a throw-away creation. Get yours today at Amoeba Music!

Local Stuff: Ariel Pink, Ty Segall, Puro Instinct, LOL Boys, Starred, Soft Pack

Posted by Billy Gil, July 13, 2012 02:29pm | Post a Comment
So much West Coast goodness coming our way this week, I’ll just get right into it …
 
New Ariel Pink – “Only In My Dreams”
 
Ariel Pink debuted a new song this week from his upcoming Mature Themes, the regal-sounding “Only In My Dreams.” Loved the “Baby” cover, but it’s great to hear that his new originals are great, too. Mature Themes is due Aug. 17 on 4AD.
 

 
Ty SegallNew Ty Segall Coming — Again
 
Won’t I ever shut up abou this guy? Not when he’s making such great music so consistently. On the heels of his White Fence collab Hair and his searing Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse comes a new album just credited to the king of SF garage himself, called Twins. It’s out Oct. 9 on Drag City. The next time he’s close to this neck of the woods is Oct. 14, at the Treasure Island Festival.
 
New Puro Instinct – “Dream Lover”
 
Speaking of Mr. Pink, his friends in dreamy duo Puro Instinct have a new song, “Dream Lover.” It’s not a Mariah Carey cover, although I bet that would sound amazing. This song finds them branching out, getting bigger than the sound they debuted on Headbangers in Ecstasy. Sounds like My Bloody Valentine by the pool. It’ll be on an EP later this year.
 

 
LOL Boys – “Changes” [ft. Heart Streets]
 
Originally hailing from Montreal, these guys make sort of lo-fi jazzy house music. And they are called LOL Boys, which is pretty good, although I feel like it should have been LOL Boyz. I’m pretty bewildered by the whole thing in a good way. Their debut Changes is out July 17.
 

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