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Live Review: Spiro Agnew, Sirly, The Stormtroopers @ Kimo's 4/28

There was a three-band show last Wednesday at Kimos, though the word didn't get out very well -- they played to an audience of about ten, and I'm including the mascaraed door guy.

An evening of two-piece bands, the first was synth-and-guitar duo Spiro Agnew, my favorite act of the evening (and the band that brought at least eight of the ten folks in attendance). Layered on top of an upbeat drum machine (running off a lap-top) were vocals that ranged from despondent to angsty, accompanied by distorted, droning guitar and synthetic tones and chimes throughout. Lyrically, Spiro Agnew eschews a distaste for modern culture and sympathy for the helpless individual trapped within.

Take their song "Desert of the Real," named after the most famous line in Simulacra and Simulation, a philosophical treatise by Jean Baudrillard. In a nutshell, Baudrillard claims that human society is a simulation of reality, not reality itself. That's the kind of angst that drips from Spiro Agnew, a beat you can dance to but lyrics that make you feel lonely (e.g. "there's something dead inside me, but I know it's alright") and dissonant chords and keys that make you feel lost. I can really get behind pretentious music like that, and so I had a blast. You should check them out for yourself on June 16th, again at Kimos.

Sirly took the stage next; one musician handled the vocals and guitar, and the other had the drums. There were huge differences in the styles of the two band members - the drummer was laying down incredible and complex jazz beats while the guitarist/vocalist was mired in a simpler indie-rock jam vibe. When those two styles came together it worked out really well, but they didn't come together in every song. Occasionally the singing and guitar became a distraction from the consistently amazing drumming, but all-in-all Sirly was a compelling fusion of styles that you don't hear together all that often, offering a sound that has a lot of potential for further development.

The Stormtroopers came last in the line-up, and they were hands-down the hardest to take seriously. The bassist and singer had on white long-johns, and both he and his drummer sported cardboard masks painted to look like certain culturally relevant bleached imperial foot soldiers - a subtle choice. I can't imagine how long it took them to come up with a name.

Indistinguishable yelping vocals, competent drumming, the occasional interesting bass line, and a whole lot of energy was what The Stormtroopers had to offer. Their music was loud and rough and seemed at odds with their I'm-trying-really-hard-to-look-silly vibe. if the crowd was much, much bigger I might have been able to get around their costumes and jump around with some smelly head-bangers, but as it was I just giggled at them for a few songs, finished my beer, and jumped on the 49 to head home.

 

-Words Kyle Wheat

Photos Desiree Mervau

   

The Deli SF's Weekend Highlights For 5/7-5/8

With another relatively sparse weekend ahead, looks as though we're settling nicely into the city's summer musical slow down. Irregardless there are still a few shows worth checking out on the horizon.

This Friday the 7th, head to the Hemlock for the oddly compelling indie rock sounds of Control-R who will be sharing the stage with Victory and Associates and Here Come the Saviours, 9pm.

If you're out in the East Bay on Saturday head over to Berkeley to catch Stomacher playing at Blakes on Telegraph, 8pm.

Of course, if Berkeley is too far for you (or too full of hippies as it is for me) then you could always head over to Thee Parkside on Saturday for the most adorable band in all the land (... of indie pop) The Ian Fayes. They'll be playing with Ash Reiter and The Dead Westerns, 9pm.

 

-Ada Lann

   

Remixes: railcars "Castles" and More

Checking in with with the current activities of the railcars, it would seem Aria has been something of a busy little bee. While working on his cover of the Kate Bush album Hounds of Love he has also been getting a little remix-happy, having recently yet another to follow the one we reported on not to long ago. This particular one is a remix of Seamonster's track "Oh Appalachia."

In addition to this remix by railcars, more remixes of the railcars' song "Castles" have been surfacing. Both are from the free remix album we posted about recently that will be featuring Xiu Xiu, White Rainbow, Truman Peyote, and others. The first is done by No Age and the second by Jeans Wilder, who evidently has a split release with Best Coast (who played this years Noise Pop) that is apparently rumored to be aces. Check out all three tracks bellow.

 

-Ada Lann

 

 railcars remix of "Oh Appalachia"

 

No Age remix of "Castles"

 

Jeans Wilder's remix of "Castles"

   

The Deli SF's Weekend Highlights For 4/29-5/1

Spring is here, which of course generally means for the local music scene that we'll be seeing a lot of our favorites kicking off tours and heading out for the summer. With that in mind, this weekend finds us with a few shows good shows as well as a send off for one local favorite embarking on an east coast tour.

Start your weekend off by heading out to the Hotel Utah on Thursday the 29th, for something of a hoe down with the folk-y bluegrass stars TV Mike and the Scarecrowes along with The Big Nasty and 49 Special, 9pm.

The centre of a lot of this weekends activity, Bottom of the Hill will be hosting Spency Dude and the Doodles along with out-of-towners Disappears and The Ponys, 10pm.

Certainly the show to see this weekend will be Maus Haus with White Cloud and Rafter this Saturday, once again at Bottom of the Hill. Maus Haus will heading to the East Coast shortly thereafter touring to support their recently released 7-inch Winter/Zig Zag and its accompanying EP Sea Sides (currently the Deli SF's Album of the Month). For those in Oakland and too lazy to cross the large body of water separating you from the Bottom of the Hill, fear not. Maus Haus will also be playing the Uptown on Thursday the 29th with Javelin and The Splinters, 9pm. So if you haven't seen them in a while you really have no excuse this weekend - go out and check out some of their wonderful new songs, and perhaps a few old favorites.

 

-Ada Lann

   

Cash-strapped, 924 Gilman sounds the alarm

924 Gilman is a place that needs no introduction. The 23 year old Berkeley venue is a Bay Area institution in music history. They wrote the book on all ages shows long before venues in San Francisco started getting threatened by the ABC for not selling enough tacos. However, last week their website announced that a recent rent hike has put them under serious financial stress and the future is looking questionable. This news is disconcerting from a historical perspective and from a cultural one as well. 924 Gilman provides not only a space for persons of any age to come and see live music, but a space for a niche of music that is often over looked in the current musical trend of catchy melodies and Casio keyboards. And seriously, at what other venue can you go and dine on an organic bean burrito, apple juice and Red Vines for $3.00?

You can help the all-ages, volunteer run, music and performance venue by attending shows, donating to the Alternative Music Foundation and spreading the word.

-Nicole Leigh

Photo by Murray Bowles