Temperatures around the Bay have been dropping, but plenty of good shows in October make it worth venturing out into the cold. Some sneak peeks below:
As a member of Stars and Broken Social Scene, Amy Millan created some future-classic indie pop, so it was a bit of surprise to find her leaving those sounds on her solo debut, 2006's Honey from the Tombs. Millan still has great pop hooks, but she's traded in the synths and the uptempo tracks for country-inspired ballads and slide guitars. 2009's Masters of the Burial is a wonderful album that's even better than her solo debut. On Masters, Millan delivers heartfelt originals and moving renditions of songs by Death Cab for Cutie and Richard Hawley that are simply entrancing. Amy Millan will be performing at Cafe Du Nord on Wednesday, October 28th, with Bahamas.
Before LA post-punk champions Part Time Punks host their second annual festival in Los Angeles on October 11th, they're bringing a mini-fest of sorts to The Mezzanine on Friday, October 11th. The show nicely blends post-punk past and present, headlined by The Raincoats playing the West Coast for the first time ever. The all-female post-punk band's self-titled debut has become one of the genre's classics, and is now being rereleased on Kill Rock Stars. Kurt Cobain championed the group, and invited them to open for Nirvana on the 1994 UK tour that was canceled following his passing.
Beyond the historically significant headliners and a formidable lineup of DJs (including members of Gang of Four!), a number of great local bands are performing too. From Magic Bullets' British retro-pop to the avant-skronk of Death Sentence: Panda, it's a diverse show with a lot to offer.
TREASURE ISLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL
It would be difficult to discuss Bay Area indie rock in October without noting the Treasure Island Music Festival, which takes over the island on Saturday, October 17th and Sunday the 18th. Music aside, the festival does a number of things right: it's relatively affordable (as large fests go), none of the sets overlap (so you can theoretically see every performer), and there are free biodiesel shuttle buses to and from the festival.
Obviously, none of those benefits matter if the bands aren't worth seeing, but that thankfully isn't the case here. Saturday is more electronically-oriented, while Sunday has a slew of big name indie rockers. I'm particularly excited to see Yo La Tengo, whose latest album Popular Songs is yet another winner, finding the band continuing to expand the boundaries of the "Yo La Tengo" sound. Even if you're just interested in the big names, though, I'd recommend going early enough to see some of Sunday's locals: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down, Vetiver, Sleepy Sun and Tommy Guerrero. Thao's new album, Know Better Learn Faster, a high energy burst of catchy and heartbreaking songs, is out next week on Kill Rock Stars.
If you don't see Sleepy Sun on Treasure Island, catch them at The Independent on Friday, October 30th. There, they'll be joined by shoegaze pop band The Antlers, a Brooklyn trio whose latest album Hospice is accruing high marks from numerous critics.
Anti-comedian Neil Hamburger returns to the Hemlock Tavern on Friday, October 23rd. Hamburger's alter ego Gregg Turkington is a former SF resident, and the character's early CD appearances involved harassing local comedy clubs.
Ben Van Houten is the Programming Director of The Bay Bridged.