Amoeblog

Psych-Rockers Heron Oblivion Chat Before Amoeba SF Performance March 4

Posted by Billy Gil, March 1, 2016 06:14pm | Post a Comment

You may not have heard of Heron Oblivion yet, but that’ll soon change.The psych-rock band recently signed to the venerable Sub Pop label, despite only having publicly played live just a few times prior, and have now toured with stoner-rock troubadour Kurt Vile. Part of that has to do with the band’s pedigree — guitarists Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson played in brain-fryers Comets on Fire, with Von Harmonson also playing in Sic Alps and Six Organs of Admittance and Miller in Howlin’ Rain and Feral Ohms; Charlie Saufley played in the similarly minded Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound; and singer/drummer Meg Baird has played in psych-folk band Espers as well as solo.

The rest has solely to do with the sheer power of their debut, self-titled album. Over seven songs, the bands’ axes clash like fighting wolves, tangling like the brambles and branches that adorn the album cover. Keeping all this Crazy Horse-style madness reined in is a grounded rhythm section and the heart-stopping vocals of Baird. Her voice can simmer low and quavering like a classic British folk singer and then rise to seemingly unattainable heights on songs like the climactic "Your Hollows."

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Interview with Rock Photographer Alissa Anderson - Part 2

Posted by Miss Ess, March 5, 2010 03:13pm | Post a Comment

Here we continue the interview with San Francisco's own rock photographer Alissa Anderson! In this edition, aside from more chatting about Alissa's favorite moments in her artistic career, check out photos (some exclusive!) of artists including Joanna Newsom, Vashti Bunyan, Vetiver, CocoRosie, David Byrne, SIlver Jews, Beach House, Bert Jansch, Meg Baird, Devendra Banhart, Donovan, Little Wings and more! Please see Part 1 to catch up!





Joanna Newsom and Neal Morgan - Big Sur - March 28, 2009

Miss Ess: How did you come to photograph the Joanna Newsom show in Big Sur?

You were the only photographer allowed.

Alissa Anderson: I planned on taking pictures from the moment I found out about the show since I knew it was going to be such an intimate and historic occasion. I have shot Jo many times over the years, from her very first shows at the Hemlock, and I hadn’t seen her play in a long time. I’ve shot many times at the Fernwood so I knew what the situation would be like. I brought my Hasselblad and just shot a roll from my seat in the front. I didn’t want to be too distracting for Joanna or the band and it was extremely crowded; I was pretty squished up against the stage! Ironically, my favorite shot ended up being the one of her tuning.

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Ask Forgiveness, by Bonnie Prince Billy

Posted by Miss Ess, November 29, 2007 07:20pm | Post a Comment
Most of this week I have been listening to the new EP Ask Forgiveness by Bonnie Prince Billy, just repeating it over and over.  It features 7 covers and one new original.


The best tracks are the Danzig cover "Am I Demon", and the Phil Ochs cover "My Life".  Yeah, there's an R. Kelly cover on there too, of "The World's Greatest", and it's funny and semi ironic and all, but I like other stuff on the cd much better. 

Bonnie Prince Billy is always both covering and writing songs about identity and struggling with that whole thing! Previous tracks "Little Boy Blue" and "Wolf Among Wolves" both are about those kind of issues.  Anyway, the Danzig track is slow and pretty and asks "Am I Demon?/I need to know".  We all get the somewhat resigned answer by the end of the song. I love when BPB ends the phrases by singing waaay up high.  It's lovely.  It's fun to hear a song about demons that's all folky and acoustic and not screamed! 

I'm a fan of Phil Ochs (See the name of my blog!), and it's great to hear someone like BPB covering him since he was such a talent and so brilliant and cutting.  His lyrics are better than about 90% of everyone else's, give or take a few percentage points, of course.  Anyway, "My Life" is a beautiful choice, and I guess it's yet another song about identity, about what life means and changes and paranoia and growing up.  I guess it covers a lot of ground!  It's really a poem:

My life was once a joy to me,
Never knowing, I was growing, everyday.
My life was once a toy to me,
And I wound it and I found it ran away.
So I raced through the night
With a face at my feet, like a God I would write,
All the melodies were sweet, and the women were white.
It was easy to survive, my life was so alive.

My life was once a flag to me
And I waved it and behaved like I was told.
My life was once a drag to me
And I loudly, and I proudly, lost control
I was drawn by a dream
I was loved by a lie, every serf on the scene
Begged me to buy.
But I slipped through the scheme
So lucky to fail
My life was not for sale.
My life is now a myth to me
Like the drifter, with his laughter in the dawn.

My life is now a death to me
So I'll mold it and I'll hold it till I'm born
So I turned to the land
Where I'm so out of place
Throw a curse on the plan
In return for the grace
To know where I stand
Take everything I own
Take your tap from my phone
And leave my life alone
My life alone.

Also included all over this EP are beautiful harmonies by Meg Baird of Espers-- 
she's kinda whispery and warble-y and flawless.  

Now that I am continuing still to listen to the songs, the Sinatra cover "Cycles" is also really genius.
Really, the whole cd is worth checking out-- I have to say I kinda love it all!  I'm impressed with BPB's 
cover choices--they really are all over the map.  Hopefully this is a sign that a full length record is not too 
far off in the New Year.