The guide to chronicling notable new music.
Third Eye Blind, “Our gang apart” (MegaCollider)
When the lockdown orders were issued in early 2020, Third Eye Blind canceled the second stop on their tour, and frontman Stephan Jenkins stepped down to write the songs that would end on “Our Bande Apart,” the album’s seventh album. group from San Francisco.
“Box of Bones” is an interpretation of the pressures the pandemic has placed on relationships. It opens with a contained sadness, before unfolding in a beautiful choral hymn. “Again” is an anthemic power-pop jam featuring Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino, yearning for the joys of life before the pandemic.
To accompany the album’s release, Third Eye Blind also filmed a new documentary, “How We Hold Each Other Right Now: The Making of Our Bande Apart”, with premieres in Los Angeles and New York (but oddly enough, not in the group’s hometown).
Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine, “A Beginner’s Mind” (Asthmatic Kitty)
When singer Sufjan Stevens and multi-instrumentalist Angelo De Augustine fled to a friend’s cabin in upstate New York for a songwriting retreat, they found themselves chilling out with a different movie every night. They soon realized that the themes of the films they were watching permeated their composition, leading them to explore structure through the 14 tracks of their collaborative debut album.
Stevens and De Augustine play almost every instrument on “A Beginner’s Mind”, which features a multitude of different strings, including acoustic guitar, ukulele and guitalin, as well as many Prophet keyboards and different pianos. There is an inherent beauty to the resulting tracks, especially “Back to Oz” and “(This Is) The Thing”. The two rank among the best songs Stevens has written in years.
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Theo Croker, “Blk2Life || A Future Past” (Sony Masterworks)
Playing jazz with a hip-hop mindset, Florida-born Croker is one of the most intriguing modern trumpeters. The sequel to the spectacular “Star People Nation”, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, “Blk2Life || A Future Past ”is a cosmic journey to the origins of darkness.
“I am making a statement with the title and the project,” Croker said in a statement. “I can be an artist before I am a black artist. I can be a musician, creator and producer without category.
Decorated trumpeter’s grandson, Doc Cheatham, Croker (who completed a three-week residency at the Black Cat Jazz Club in San Francisco in August) makes a strong impression at every turn, especially on the mantra “Soul Call | | Vibrate ”and on the dizzying African tribal drum“ Hero Stomp || A future past. Produced by Croker, the album also features guests like Wyclef Jean, Ari Lennox, Gary Bartz, Kassa Overall and more.
SONG OF THE MOMENT
Adia Victoria, “You were born to die” (Atlantic)
It was a rainy night in February 2017 when I stumbled upon the piercing gothic blues of Adia Victoria’s Noise Pop Festival performance at Bottom of the Hill in Potrero Hill. Since then, she regularly releases new music and has established herself as one of the most unique artists in contemporary blues music.
From his latest album, “Southern Gothic”, released September 17 and produced by T Bone Burnett, “You Was Born to Die” breathes new life into the existential 1933 original by Piedmont bluesman Blind Willie McTell. “You made me love you, and you made me cry / You should remember you were born to die,” sings Victoria on the chorus of the song, supported by vocalists Margo Price and Kyshona Armstrong.
Victoria said in a statement that the song is “a celebration of the impermanence of whatever imprint we hope in vain to leave on this world.” Like any blues worthy of the name, it’s an invitation to stand out and look through a world that has become ridiculous.
It also features Jason Isbell, who, according to Victoria, “makes a guitar talk like it can talk to the devil”.
Planet Booty, “Yes” (self-published)
Like a more glamorous version of Chromeo, San Francisco’s Planet Booty has been one of the sweatiest and loudest bands in town for the past 10 years. With their fourth album, “Yes”, the band has renewed their focus on bridging the gap between what they create in the studio and what they put on stage.
“We want the songs we create to be a captivating soundtrack and a reminder to be happy and irreverent when you’re home, all by yourself, as much as when you’re with your people again on a Friday night” the singer Dylan Charles Gomrick told The Chronicle.
The album is an energetic explosion of pop, funk, rock and R&B. On “You’re a Star”, Gomrick’s sensual performance shines alongside Josh Cantero’s trombone. On “Connoisseur”, it’s Rob Gwin’s funky bass and Cantero’s talkbox that crank up the volume. And on “Ghostin ‘”, the group tackles with boldness the sometimes inexplicable realities of meetings in San Francisco.
There are over a dozen musicians on the album – most of whom are from the Bay Area – helping Planet Booty showcase her sexy, body-positive, self-confidence-boosting tunes, included. and often hilarious. But it’s the live show and Gomrick’s magnetic stage character that fans have really grown to embrace. The group is set to wrap up their tour at the Independent in San Francisco on November 26 for what will surely be a wild Friday night.
FROM THE VOUTE
Johnny Cash, “Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, Live at the Carousel Ballroom, April 24, 1968” (Renew Records / BMG)
Named after acclaimed Grateful Dead soundman and LSD pioneer Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the latest entry in the “Bear’s Sonic Journals” series is a brilliant performance by Johnny Cash recorded shortly before the release of the iconic album by 1968 “At Folsom Prison”.
The performance took place at the Carousel Ballroom, soon to be Bill Graham’s Fillmore West concert hall. Stanley was the sound engineer for the house in the room where the Dead and Jefferson planes were regulars. He has often recorded live tapes from his performance mixer and that of Cash is especially special. The distinct separation of the channels of Cash on the right and his backing band, the Tennessee Three, on the left, makes the listener feel like they’re in the middle of it all. Cash’s son John Carter Cash said in a statement that it was “one of the most intimate and connected shows I have ever heard.”
Highlights include duets with June Carter (his then-two-month-old wife) on “Jackson” and “This Land Is Your Land,” where Carter playfully calls Cash a “sex freak” on stage. . There is a masterful version of “Ring of Fire”, an unreleased recording of “Cocaine Blues”, a cover of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan and the set closer to “I Walk The Line”.