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Whether you're a born and raised local or a lost Bay Area transplant looking to find the best tunes in the city, we've picked out this week's best live shows in our home town of San Francisco for you to check out.


Dark Waves + Brooke Fraser @ The Independent (Monday)

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City of Angels based Dark Waves just made Aaron Axelsen’s "Top 16 New Acts to Watch in 2015" and you can catch them tonight. This addition to the growing breed of dark and stormy pop is the work of frontman and native Californian Nick Long. The act's first EP was released back in the fall and has already climbed internet heights on Hypemachine and a damn respectable couple million plays on Spotify in no time at all. Don't go anywhere for the main event and touring partner, Brooke Fraser. The New Zealand export takes her booming folk pop to new heights with a more experimental touch in her latest music.


Bad Suns + Coasts + Maudlin Strangers @ Great American Music Hall (Tuesday)

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For anyone that has had The Bad Suns' "Cardiac Arrest" in their head for about two years now, please note their full length debut dropped a few months back on Vagrant. Equally maddening is the infectious anthem "Oceans" from UK based Coasts that has been re-released since 2012 without proper US attention. Finally, we have SoCal's (and Bad Suns labelmates) Maudlin Strangers and their dark but danceable indie rock. Maudlin Strangers just put out a four track EP ripe to be picked up by fans of Arctic Monkeys, The Neighborhood, and MS MR. Guess what? All of these acts will be in the same place, to play, for you.


Mahgeetah + The Soft White SixtiesWove @ Brick & Mortar (Wednesday)

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No brainer: If you have yet to jump in the fray of The Soft White Sixties January residency you should already have your tickets ready. For those who have been hitting every week here's one more reason. Wove will shred, Mahgeetah will jam, and the Sixties will rock (again). Octavio, Aaron, Ryan, and Joey have been gifting audiences with some great covers the past few weeks for those who think they had their set memorized. For round IV yet another great local music scene enabler will be presenting. At the plate here is Showbams the local music blog who cover a wide variety of genres and always have great surprise ticket hookups.


Kishi Bashi + Elizabeth & the Catapult @ The Palace of Fine Arts (Friday)

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I'm all for listening to music for the sole purpose of bringing up some darker or less flattering emotions. But, if you crave a pure uncut jovial sound, put on a Kishi Bashi record. Perfecting his multi-instrumentalist talents with a long list of touring musicians and side projects his two solo works are stark standouts. Kishi Bashi is on tour supporting Lighght and will be joined by Elizabeth & the Catapult on the West Coast. The woman behind the curtain, Elizabeth Ziman gave us her latest record late last year after some time away from label stresses when she took to street busking and sought out a new collaborator for the growing number of songs she had been crafting since recently picking up the guitar. She found this partner in her former band mate Dan Molad (Lucius, Here We Go Magic).


Happy Fangs + The Trims + Survival Guide @ Rickshaw Stop (Saturday)

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The time for a full force Happy Fangs record hath come. We've all been waiting for more since their 2013 release with the great fight song "Lion Inside You" and it's video to match. Get out to Rickshaw to witness plenty of material from the new record, Capricorn, and pick up a stone cold physical copy of some great local warriors. In support are San Jose based outfit The Trims showing off 80's influenced indie rock. Emily Whitehurst's latest musical endeavor, Survival Guide, rounds out the bill. Find out what a day at the Boardwalk through her eyes looks like in "Symptoms". Bonus: Check out Happy Fangs entry into NPR's Tiny Desk Concert contest here.


About Mike: Habitual Bay Area show-hopper and new music junkie. Currently Artist Relations at DeliRadio and Training Director at KALX. Follow the music based ramblings on Twitter.

As the week winds down, here's your guide to the new sounds that we recommend circling back to.


"At Your Best (You Are Love)" - Frank Ocean (Cover)

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The week began with a surprise treat from Frank Ocean, covering an Isley Brothers classic that Aaliyah made her own in 1994. Frank delivers a straight-ahead performance which shows off his upper register. Even if his biggest strength is songwriting, it's good just to hear his voice again.

 

"1 Sec" - Novelist x Mumdance

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The most explosive track of the week belongs to Novelist and Mumdance, who have returned after their popular collaboration "Take Time".  With "1 Sec", they combine forward-thinking production with a major pop sensibility and Novelist's Dizzy Rascal-esque flow. The prodigious MC and red-hot producer are well positioned to transcend dance and grime circles this year.

 

"Flags of the Old Regime" - Peter Doherty

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The second tribute this week to a gone-too-soon artist, here Peter Doherty (Libertines, Babyshambles) honors Amy Winehouse with his "Flags of the Old Regime". Sales of the touching, warbly ballad will benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation.


"Really Love" - Body Language 

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Body Language has previewed their high-gloss upcoming single, a drastic departure from earlier material. The track borrows liberally from drum 'n bass rhythms, without ever forfeiting the half-time feel. The constant in this NYC quartet’s material is fun, borderline over-the-top pop hooks.


About the author: Luke Bradley is an arts and culture writer living in Toronto. He's written for The Classical Magazine, Esquire.com, Myspace, Consequence of Sound, DJ Mag and This Recording. Tweet to him @Sloganear.

This month we're bringing you an awesome mix of songs curated by San Francisco-based Savior of Sound K.Flay as part of the SOL REPUBLIC Mix Series. 

If you've never witnessed one of K.Flay's energetic performances, grab a drink and blast her mix to turn up K.Flay-style. We promise you'll love her as much as we do: 





Tracklist:

Theophilus London ft. Jesse Boykins III - Tribe (Bixel Boys Remix)

Vic Mensa - Down On My Luck

Jessie Ware - You & I (Shift K3Y Remix)

Zhu - Faded (Wknd Gone Mad Remix)

Slow Magic - Waited 4 U (Odesza Remix)

Geist ft. Schumi - I Need Ya

Jack ü ft. Kiesza - Take U There (Zeds Dead Remix)

Mounties - Headphones (Sleepy Tom Remix)

K.Flay - Make Me Fade (Vanic Remix)

Sir Sly - You Haunt Me (Soysauce Edition)

Vaski - Hakuna Matata

Atlas Genius - Centred On You (Viceroy Remix)

Oliver $ & Jimi Jules - Pushing On (Tchami Remix)

Flosstradamus - Rebound (CRNKN Remix)

Seekae - Test & Recognise (Flume Re-work)

Young & Sick - Heartache Fetish (Ta-ku Rework)


Make sure to follow Savior of Sound K.Flay on Facebook and Twitter for updates and some pretty hilarious tweets!


About K.Flay: An artist who quickly evolved from parody to indie, Chicago-born rapper K. Flay first grabbed the mike while a student at Stanford University in California. It was the frivolous topics and misogynistic lyrics she saw in mainstream rap that first drove her to record a parody of the genre, but she was surprised by both her talent and how much she enjoyed recording. She spent the rest of the year recording and writing, spent her sophomore year performing, and in her junior year, she dropped her debut album, 2004's Suburban Rap Queen. And the rest is history.


Whether you're a born and raised local or a lost Bay Area transplant looking to find the best tunes in the city, we've picked out this week's best live shows in our home town of San Francisco for you to check out.


Willie Watson + Mikaela Davis @ Great American Music Hall (Wednesday)

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Mikaela Davis carries two voices, one her own and the other emitted from the harp. She is currently touring as a three piece including drums and guitar/sitar. Prepare for the opening set her session with Audiotree in Chicago [Watch]. Following, is Willie Watson who provided us with a great folk record last year that feels unearthed from a time capsule inside a bottle of moonshine. The familiar vocals are likely to be familiar as Watson served a decade as one of the founding members of Old Crow Medicine Show.


Foxtails Brigade + Idea the Artist + Ghost Tiger @ Awaken Cafe (Thursday)

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First things first, watch "Science Camp". Santa Barbara's Ghost Tiger is an excess of fun. Their folk pop is interwoven with soulful vocals, complex rhythms, and 60's era guitar. Go listen to last week's release Some Friends Feel Like Family perfect for fans of Lucius, Freelance Whales, or Radiation City. Rounding out a night of all female fronted acts, you will have Bay Area locals Foxtails Brigade and Idea the Artist. Clues in the world of Foxtails Brigade lead to a new music video on the way so be on the lookout.


Waters + Hot Wave Heat Flash @ The Independent (Saturday)

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It continues to be difficult to find someone not hooked on Waters. The last few years had a reigning champion of bright indie pop like Youngblood Hawke and Grouplove before that. From the dangerously catchy It All Might Be Ok EP it looks like Waters is on the way to claiming the next title. Plus, we've been systematically luring you out to check out Hot Wave Heat Flash for some time now so two birds one stone etc etc. The show is being presented by Live 105 and Different Fur in case you wanted even more professional opinions to get your ticket.


Sunhaze + Phosphene + Sunbeam Rd @ Neck of the Woods (Saturday)

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Phosphene dropped a new single not long after their debut full length last year and it's great. The trio's first two members met in college and scooped up their bass player once they began putting their songwriting into reality. They lie on a border between shoegaze and indie rock and their fandom of major acts from Sharon Van Etten and Neko Care to Interpol shine through. Recommended tracks: "Silver", "Wire", and "Go To Sleep". Who else is on deck? You'll have the surf pop of Sunhaze along with the relaxing psych induced rock of Sunbeam Rd (who currently have me in a trance after getting lost in their collection of album art).


Monster Rally & Jay Stone + Queens D. Light + Kid Trails @ Leo's (Saturday)

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A week before the release of the new collaborative album between LA beatmaker Monster Rally and Oakland emcee Jay Stone you have the chance to see the project live. You can preview a few tracks off the record now on Bandcamp. Here's how Gold Robot, who will be releasing the record, describes Foreign Pedestrian: "The album's production focuses heavily on Monster Rally's "global haze" sound combined with funk and jazz elements." Bonus track: Synth pop soldier Yalls will be DJing sets throughout the night.


About Mike: Habitual Bay Area show-hopper and new music junkie. Currently Artist Relations at DeliRadio and occasional DJ at KALX. Follow the music based ramblings on Twitter.

This was a hectic week for new music and if it’s a sign of things to come, 2015 could be a very strong year. Here are some of the sounds we thought warranted a click or several:

 

Ricky Eat Acid - 'Context'

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A new track from Ricky Eat Acid is available next week and can be previewed now. “Context” sounds a bit like a hyper-emotive soundtrack to a 16-bit racing game.

 

SOPHIE x Gucci Mane - 'Lemonade' (Rare MP3s Edit)

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Rare MP3s have unleashed this bananas blend of SOPHIE and the Gucci Mane classic, offsetting the piano riff with a whole palette of percussive bubble sounds.

 

Jazmine SullivanReality Show

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Jazmine Sullivan returned this week after a Jay-Z-like fake retirement, with her third album, Reality Show. Talking about Sullivan's music in a column on brand new sounds is kind of nonsensical - she generally avoids sonic trendiness in favor of perfectionistic, 90s-rooted R&B. There are few cheap thrills here; the album will be a pleasure to absorb over the next weeks and months, rather than minutes.

 

Young L - Final Fantasy

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Clearly displaying his Future, Rich Homie Quan and DJ Screw influences, Young L has added his own softer touches on his new 7-track release Final Fantasy. It’s well suited to cold mid-winter days.


Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love

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Of course, the most hyped music story this week was the release of Sleater-Kinney’s comeback album, No Cities To Love. You can listen to the album here on NPR.

If jagged guitars and anthemic rock ‘n roll choruses are your bag, this will be hard to beat. The celebrity sing-along video for the title track is also pretty damn charming.

 

About the author: Luke Bradley is an arts and culture writer living in Toronto. He's written for The Classical Magazine, Esquire.com, Myspace, Consequence of Sound, DJ Mag and This Recording. Tweet to him @Sloganear.

This spotlight is a monthly feature showcasing some of our favorite independent record labels. To start the year off right, we caught up with alternative pop label Cascine for the month of January. Check out the interview below with Cascine’s founder Jeff Bratton as he explains what how the label came together, under the radar popstars, highlights of 2014, and tips for new artists.

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Who is all part of the foundation at Cascine?

Jeff: Our core team is Sandra Croft, Andi Wilson and myself. Sandra’s our publicist. She lives in London. Andi’s our project manager and also does press for us. She’s based in Brooklyn with me. Other important people are Thom Ulmer, our visual artist, and Michael Madrid who handles our website. Marchese Taylor manages incoming demos for us.


How did you all meet?

J: Sandra and I met in 2009 when I was working with the Swedish label Service and she was working for Freeman PR. Freeman was doing press for Service releases and we grew close through that. Andi started with us as an intern a couple years back and once we saw how sharp and capable she is, gave her a permanent position. Thom came to us through Russ Manning and Madrid is an old friend of the Sportags. Marchese’s my girlfriend, who just has a great ear and knows what we’re looking for in the music we receive.


Cascine's focus is described as “alternative
 pop”, what acts inspired that thought?

J: Our reference points are pretty wide and include everything from The Cure and Cocteau Twins to Sade and George Michael. New Order left a big mark. Freestyle greats like Prefab Sprout and Scritti Politti were important. Everything Sarah Records. Morr Music was an inspiration once, so was Naked Music. The music coming out of Gothenburg in the 2000s influenced Cascine and we’re also nuts about pop legends like Janet Jackson and Mariah.  


Who are some artists now that’s a
 great representation of alt pop?

J: Ryn Weaver is exciting. So is Ana Caprix. The new Taylor Swift album is excellent and Tinashé is a label favorite. Lydia Ainsworth wrote a killer record last year, so did Caribou. Dutch artist BEA is promising. Throwing Shade. Banoffee. We love Bar. Dej Loaf is rad and we really respect what labels like Young Turks, 1080p, Arbutus and Scissor & Thread are doing.


What was a memorable moment of the
 year at Cascine? It could be a release or a story.

J: We hosted a label tour last summer called Cascine & Friends where we took three of our artists, Chad Valley, Lemonade & Yumi Zouma, to three different cities and co-hosted parties with friend labels, 100% Silk, Arbutus & Ghostly. It was a ton of work, but a total blast. The camaraderie and personal time together was priceless.

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With all the year end lists thats
 happened, what’s your top 5 albums?

J: Andras & Oscar – Café Romantica

Bar – Welcome to Bar

Bing & Ruth – Tomorrow Was The Golden Age

LNRDCROY – Much Less Normal

Mark McGuire – Along the Way

Taylor Swift – 1989


Plans for what’s next and 2015?

J: We recently signed several new artists, most of which have releases on deck for early 2015. We’re in the process of a fun collab with Manicure Records, which we’re all really excited about. We’re doing something at SXSW this year and then hopefully the label tour again this summer. Our singles label, CSCN, will continue to be a focus too.


How did you hear about et aliae/most
 of the artists on the label?  New music discovery etc.

J: Et aliae was an Andi find. We were gonna do a single with her on CSCN, but when we heard the tracks she turned in, decided to sign her directly to Cascine. The A&R process is mixed these days. It’s become more of a Soundcloud and Bandcamp game, versus a blog thing like it was five year ago. A lot of stuff comes to us through other artists, agents, managers, etc. we have relationships with. But we have a pretty focused aesthetic, so we’re usually aware of new artists operating in our zone.


Do you have a tip or two for new artists
 and new labels?

J: Have an aesthetic, but be flexible with it. Stay informed without obsessing about what everyone around you is doing. Cities like NY are noisy. Make space to hear yourself think.  

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This one is just for fun but if you
 can describe Cascine as a plate of food, what would it be and how would it be arranged?

J: At this point, we’d probably be the Salmon Teriyaki lunchbox from Sakura on Manhattan Ave. That place is a go-to for most of us who work in Greenpoint. Or maybe the Nicoise salad at Le Gamin.


Follow Cascine on Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud to stay in the loop!


About the author: Briana Cheng has a lot of feelings that she sometimes writes about but mostly she takes twitter screenshots of online dating apps, follow her @banacrisp.