All posts by jen arches

Live Review and Photos: Nada Surf and The Soft Pack at 4th & B, January 28, 2012

Photos by Chris Maroulakos

Indie-rock veterans Nada Surf headlined San Diego’s Bring on the Bright Lights concert series on Saturday night at 4th & B in support of their seventh studio album, The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy. Following opening acts Republic of Letters, Cuckoo Chaos, and The Soft Pack (all of San Diegan droning descent), Nada Surf graced the stage with the double whammy of humility and assuredness that often eludes indie performances. Continue reading…

Contest: Win Tickets to See David Bazan on 7/8

Full album stream: David Bazan – Strange Negotiations

David Bazan, former creative force of Seattle’s Pedro the Lion, released his second full-length LP, Strange Negotiations, on May 24 via Barsuk Records. He’s currently touring the US (forgetting t-shirts along the way) and will be stopping by the Casbah on July 8 to delight the SD scene with his full beard and urgent yet comfortable melodies. Win tickets to see him…

Album Review: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Belong”

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart — who were named after an unpublished children’s story written by a friend of lead singer Kip Berman — return today with their second full-length, Belong. The record was produced by Flood and mixed by Alan Moulder of Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine fame, respectively.

Title track “Belong” opens the album with 12 seconds of unobtrusive musical pleasantry, followed by an eruption of hard distortion that will encourage immediate air-guitar strummage from anyone who suffered through their teens in the 1990s. Cue Berman’s sexy vocals and some I’m-bored-so-let’s-just-do-it lyrics (“If you’re mine / I don’t mind / we tried another / let’s try each other”) and you have the recipe for a PoBPaH grilled chicken sandwich (but clearly not a PoBPaH coq au vin).

There’s no musical rocket science here. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart simply make music that is easy to listen to: catchy guitar+keyboard melodies, four-by-four bass plucking and drum beating, guy/girl harmonies that make it easy to sing along with your significant other in the car, and lyrics that inspire self-inflicted, diminutive mysterioso (see the lyric “Held my breath / thought of death / and things I’d like to do ’til then” on “Girls of 1000 Dreams”). Continue reading…

Photos: Tennis at Tin Can Alehouse, February 5, 2011

Photos by Chris Maroulakos

Salty sweethearts Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley of Tennis aren’t just capable young sea navigators — they also put on a great, albeit short, live show. In person, Moore brings to mind a more innocent, bigger-haired Liz Phair, while Riley resembles an older Dennis the Menace. The two, along with touring drummer James Barone, rocked their new album, Cape Dory, to a sold-out audience of canned-beer drinkers at the Tin Can Alehouse on Saturday.

It was easy to discern the palpable romantic chemistry between the recently married Riley and Moore. But, in true relationship fashion, it was even easier to see that they succeed together because of their individual talents. With furrowed brow and frail fingers, Moore played her keyboard with nimble precision, singing each song in her whispery but strong voice. Riley, head down and dancing, strummed his guitar with the assurance of someone who clearly knows the difference between port and starboard.

As for drummer Barone, who applied the necessary percussive glue to the tracks — maybe he’ll meet a nice female bass player before Tennis record their sophomore album. Check out photos and video of the show below.

Stars – The Five Ghosts (Review)

Most people know, recognize, and love Stars for their hit 2005 album, Set Yourself on Fire. With its songs about wanton breakups, doomed second chances, and last nights with lascivious lovers, Fire placated the heart of the love-scorned listener.

The Five Ghosts, to be released on June 22 on Stars’ own Soft Revolution label, finds us five years later: more playful, less vengeful, but plagued by the persistence of memories. The haunting by the ever-present past is the central theme of The Five Ghosts, and resonates throughout the new songs. Continue reading…