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Q&A: Clarence Bucaro

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Clarence Bucaro was recently named one of 10 new artists to watch by Rolling Stone magazine. It’s a label that seems a tad misleading since the singer has released a dozen albums over the last 15 years, nevertheless, this humble artist welcomes the honor. “It’s very humbling,” said Bukaro. “Rolling Stone is the musician’s magazine. As a kid, I was obsessed with music. I remember seeing the magazine at the local shop and dreaming about being on the cover someday.”

One to not rest on his laurels, the talented singer/songwriter has embarked on a tour that will bring him to the Swedish American Music Hall in San Francisco supporting Joe Henry on July 14. In anticipation of his performance, we reached out to Bucaro to chat about what it means to him to be acknowledged by Rolling Stone, what the inspiration was for his new album and what San Francisco fans can expect at his show.

How does it feel to be named one of “10 Artists to Watch” by Rolling Stone?
It’s very humbling. Rolling Stone is the musician’s magazine. As a kid, I was obsessed with music. I remember seeing the magazine at the local shop and dreaming about being on the cover someday. I took guitar lessons when I was eight. I would write songs and record them on cassette tapes then sell them to my neighbors. You could say my profession chose me.

You’re originally from outside Cleveland, Ohio, and have lived in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Nashville, all major hubs of live music. How’s the music scene different in each city?
I went to Ohio State University and studied Political Science and Environmental Studies. I had an internship at the Capitol and was offered a job full time after college. At the same time, literally the same week, I got a record deal with an independent label out of Portland, Burnside Records. I hit the road at 21 and never looked back. New Orleans was like a dream. It is a city with so much soul and an incredible music scene. My music mentor, Anders Osborne took me under his wing. I went to LA and got immersed in the scene and searched for the ghosts of Laurel Canyon. (Joni and Neil and Jackson) Every day was sunny in LA. I missed the seasons so I drove my car cross-country to New York and never looked back. I love NYC. It’s constant culture and constant inspiration and energy. It’s not only about one kind of music all kinds of music and all kinds of art really. Once you have lived in New York it’s hard to live anywhere else.

Early in your career, you toured with The Blind Boys of Alabama and Mavis Staples playing to sold-out theaters across America. What was that like?
Terrifying. I was only 21 and really had no experience doing live shows of that scale. I actually got boo-ed off stage in Boston. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life I almost quit right then but my music mentor told me I had to get back at it. The next night I got a standing ovation and Aaron Neville stood on the stage while I performed and told me “I had something very special.” It was one of life’s big lessons.

Clarence Bucaro
Clarence Bucaro

Fast forward fifteen years, eleven albums and hundreds of shows later, what’s the funniest or strangest thing that’s happened to you at a show?
Too many to count really! I’d have to say the time I was booked a tour in Italy and one of the shows was on a farm in Tuscany. It was outdoors by a really beautiful lake at sunset. About twenty minutes into my set a family of wild boars came up and plopped themselves down right by the stage. It was almost like they were listening to the set. They stayed till the end.

You recently released a new album, what was your inspiration for it?
Anyone that knows me, knows I write songs from the heart. I pull on personal experience. I also have been reading a lot of literature and listening to a lot of opera. The title track, Passionate Kind is an homage to powerful women. Heroines like Carmen, Turandot, and Violette (from Traviata) are incredible influences. They are protagonists who are complex and completely mesmerizing. Other songs on the album touch on current times. Sleepwalker is about someone who is down in the dumps and needs to wake up to see the beauty around them. Both of the songs have videos (on YouTube) and feature actress/muse Juliet Doherty. Check them out!

What are your goals with music this year?
That’s a great question. I am currently working on some passion projects that run parallel to my career as a singer-songwriter and touring musician. I am really excited by a multimedia concept that is centered around how music impacts society. It’s something I have been ruminating over for years. It feels like the right time to launch. I am also working on a project for Broadway and a collection of short stories.

You’ve got a show coming up next week in San Francisco. Do you enjoy playing in this city?
San Francisco is quite a city. I even wrote a song about it! “Flying into Frisco.” San Fran is mystical and beautiful. I loved it before I’d ever visited it from reading Kerouac. I am really excited to be at the Swedish American Hall with Joe Henry. He is an idol to me. He has been called the songwriter’s songwriter and its true. His work is outstanding and something I greatly admire.

What can San Francisco fans expect at your show?
When I wrote my last album I wrote a note to myself on the cover of my notebook. It says, “Is it honest. Is it interesting?” I hope I deliver on that and I hope the fans connect with the lyrics, even if its just one line, that makes it all worth it.

Joe Henry: solo performance, Clarence Bucaro – Swedish American Music Hall – Sat. Jul 14 7:30pm $22 – $25, 21+

Q&A: Greater Sirens

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How did you come up with the name of the band?
We actually started the band under a different name, Younger Dryas, which was a historic climate event Greg had been learning about in a geography class at the time. We were never really happy with that name, though, and people didn’t know what it meant or how to pronounce it. After considering countless other names, we came across greater sirens, the animal, in a book on reptiles and amphibians. We liked how it sounded, and the multiple potential meanings it could take on.

How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is new wave/postpunk-inspired indie rock with both pop and experimental tendencies.

When did you first become interested in playing music?
Greg and Tim’s cousin, Chris, was one of the main reasons both of them became interested in playing music. When Tim was ten years old, Chris showed him a few things on drums and he was pretty much hooked from day one. According to Tim, he wouldn’t be a drummer if it weren’t for Chris. Greg started playing bass in high school because he wanted to be able to play music with friends, most of whom played guitar, and with Tim on drums.

Before forming Greater Sirens, Greg and Tim played in an instrumental psychedelic rock band called Pablum for a few years with their friend, Don. Bobby was four years old when he started messing around on the piano after his sister’s piano lessons. He would mimic the songs his sister learned and after a while the instructor recommended he go into lessons as well. Two decades later, it’s one of the biggest parts of his life. Steve started playing guitar during his first year of college following an elective music theory class. Matt started playing the trumpet in fifth-grade band class.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
We started adding visuals to our shows a few years ago. We were playing at Milk Bar in San Francisco one night and the projector we brought with us was set up on a sketchy looking shelf next to the sound booth. About two or three songs into our set, the projector fell on someone’s head in the audience. Luckily he was okay, and that show ended up being one of our best performances.

What are you listening to these days?
Steve recently got into Grizzly Bear and has been going back through Interpol’s early albums. Bobby has mostly been listening to Nine Inch Nails. In fact, most of us have been following the last few EPs NIN has put out. Tim has also been listening to Blonde Redhead, Starfucker, Ohgr, and pretty much everything involving Les Claypool. Matt has been listening to Cate Le Bon, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Holy Fuck. Greg has been listening to Severed Heads, New Musik, Talk Talk, They Might Be Giants, Wire, Stereolab, and The Cure.

What are some of your favorite Bay Area music venues?
Some of our favorite Bay Area venues are Great American Music Hall, The Independent, The Chapel, Rickshaw Stop, Cafe du Nord, Starline Social Club, and Bottom of the Hill.

How’d you guys first get together to play music?
In 2007, Greg asked Tim to drum on some home recordings he’d been working on. With a specific instrumentation already in mind, they started looking for a second bassist, a guitarist, and a keyboardist. Matt was Tim’s friend from high school and had never played bass before, but he was a musician and he liked the sound, so Greg taught him to play bass for the band. Similarly, he taught keyboard parts to another high school friend, Nastaran Amini, who was replaced by Bobby, Tim’s friend, and coworker, in 2013. Steve joined the band on guitar in 2009 after being the only person to respond to an ad placed at a local music store.

What inspires you to write?
Our inspiration for writing comes from many different places, especially other music, but it’s mainly a compulsion for us. It’s something we will continue to do regardless of how people respond to our music.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
Aside from mastering, we made our latest album, Unnatural Causes, without any outside help. We each played our own instruments, and Greg recorded, mixed, and produced the whole thing.

Is there anything you’d like to plug?
Our new album, Unnatural Causes, was released on June 1st and is available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, and other sites. Carly Perkins of The Bay Bridged describes the sound of the album as follows: “Blending twin bass guitars, toy keyboards, and percussion that pops with precision, Greater Sirens have created a multifaceted album that floats across the periphery of ’80s new wave, while remaining grounded in modernism. The band’s founder, Greg Andresen, engineered and produced Unnatural Causes, and experimented with the eerie side of pop cut with a post-punk edge, evolving into a sound that can be enjoyed in a variety of settings. Unnatural Causes will consistently surprise its audience by unveiling myriad layers with each listen.”

Sofi Tukker Releases New Single ‘Good Time Girl’

in New Music by
Sofi Tukker

Sofi Tukker just shared their new music video for the single “Good Time Girl” featuring Charlie Barker. The video features the gang indulging in simple pleasures while floating down the river on Charlie’s London houseboat.

About the video Sofi Tukker said, “This is a really personal, tongue-in-cheek song about navigating this nebulous thing called a ‘casual relationship.'”

“Good Time Girl” comes from the band’s debut album Treehouse.

Q&A: Tanukichan

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Bay Area shoegaze musician Hannah Van Loon, known as Tanukican, is set to release her debut album “Sundays” on 7/13. The album was produced by Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi and its title encapsulates Tanukichan’s shoegaze sound. It’s been described as being “bolstered by hazy synths, fuzzy guitars, and contemplative, yearning lyrics about the dreamy middle ground between waking up and deciding what to do next.”

She’ll be playing a hometown show at the Rickshaw Stop on July 25 and in advance of her performance we reached out to have a quick chat.

How’d you come up with the name Tanukichan?
I’ve always liked Tanukis, and adding “chan” to the end felt like the appropriate amount of cute to balance the masculine and reckless mythology around the Tanuki.

When did you first become interested in playing music?
I started playing piano when I was three. My mother had me and my brothers in music classes since we were very young, but I remember taking to the violin when I was in fourth grade, feeling like I had my own interest and connection to it.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
Being asked for autographs.

What are you listening to these days?
Death Grips, Tom Petty, Peggy Gou, YMO.


What are some of your favorite Bay Area music venues?
The Independent, The Rickshaw Stop.

What are some of your favorites hangs in the Bay Area and why?
The Hatch in downtown Oakland, which is owned and operated by friends. It’s my Cheers bar.

What’s your favorite neighborhood in the city and why?
The sunset. My parents don’t live there anymore, but it still feels like home. Being enveloped in fog and being able to see and smell the ocean everywhere you go is pretty special.

What does music mean to you?

What inspires you to write?

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m a carpenter.

Tanukichan plays the Rickshaw Stop with In the Valley // Wednesday 7/25 – 8:00 pm

New Release – Chvrches, Love Is Dead

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Chvrches Love Is Dead

Scotland’s Chvrches has dropped their third studio album, Love is Dead, and in many ways, it’s a first for them. For one thing, the album is co-produced by Greg Kurstin, making it the first time the Scottish musical trio has collaborated with outside producers. For another, this seems to be their biggest-sounding album to date, with a sense of bombast to compliment the directness and energy of their first two releases. And then, there’s the politics – a growing and welcome maturity in their worldview that takes the lyrics past the personal and into the wider world, by comparison with their two previous records, The Bones of What You Believe and Every Open Eye.

In Love is Dead, the band explores the question of whether love is worth saving in these grim times, building a righteous, snarling, even cynical tower on the foundation of their past in flawless synths; in their third outing, Chvrches seems to have strived for a different voice seasoned with a harder edge. This is an album which doesn’t have time to mess around, and it’s a huge success.

Chvrches Love Is Dead

The lyrics poetically bring out unmissable references to the things that have been rocking the world the wrong way. Take this beautifully strung line from “Graves,” one of the more-loved numbers from Love is Dead: “Leaving bodies in stairwells and washing up on the shore” – a painful collision of a global refugee crisis and the victimization of the countless dead of London’s Grenfell Tower disaster – which collapses, later in the song, to a fierce insistence that “Oh baby, you can look away while they’re dancing on our graves, but I will stop at nothing.”

Songs still operate, on one level, as angular ballads of love and heartbreak (take “Get Out” and “Forever”, in which lyrics ask simply, devastatingly, “What else should I say? What else could I do? Maybe I am just too much for you”), but when you listen to these words in the context of the album, there’s a whole uncompromising subtext waiting to drag you out into the light. This is Scotland via England to the world, and its message is global. And that’s where the record’s strength lies; you can place it in any context, right from something as personal as your everyday heartbreak to something as communal as a public calamity, and it still makes sense.

“Really Gone” is one of the most moving tracks of the album, and when you’re complaining that a song isn’t used as a barnstorming, heartbroken ending to an album – because, for all its poignancy, it’s replaced at the climax by something better – you know you’re dealing with an album to love. Of course, Love is Dead, as an uncompromising statement, might not be to everyone’s taste; and it does have its flaws. But as a great example of the kind of album that bands make when they’re had success and now they want art, it’s brilliant. Even with its minor slipups, it’s evident that their work comes from an honest place. If this is anything to go by, Chvrches’ next contribution to the synth-pop world is going to be something even better.

Iggy Azalea Releases New Single “Kream” Ft. Tyga

in New Music by
Iggy Izalea

The track is off of her forthcoming EP “Surviving the Summer,” which is out August 3. The EP will also include a track with Wiz Khalifa.


Too Short, E-40 and Mistah F.A.B Perform at Ice Cube’s Basketball Tournament in Oakland

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Ice Cube's Big Three Tournament in Oakland

What a fun time it was last night covering Ice Cube’s Big 3 tournament over at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. This was my first time learning of this basketball event that is organized by a 3-on-3 pro basketball league founded by Ice Cube that features All-Stars, Hall of Famers and World Champions.

NBA legends like Julius Erving, Clyde Drexler, The Iceman, and Gary Payton were all in attendance, as well as other players like Rashad McCants of the Twolves, Metta World Peace, and mega Bay Area legend from the Oakland Warriors, Baron Davis.

And if that wasn’t enough, musical legends were there too and treated fans to some epic performances. Mistah F.A.B. kicked things off, followed by local heroes Too Short and E-40.

Ice Cube, who is pictured above, was in the house with his son O’Shea Jackson (who recently starred in the biopic on N.W.A, the iconic rap band founded by his father). LL Cool J was all smiles hanging out on the sidelines and taking photos with fans. And Hollywood superstar and genuinely nice guy Michael Rapaport was hosting the event.

This was my first time watching 3-on-3 basketball and let me tell you, it was a lot of fun. The game is much faster paced and exciting than regular NBA. It’s similar to watching street hoops but with some legendary athletes in the mix. Check out a photo gallery of the event below and be sure to catch The Big Three Friday nights live on FS1 at 4 PM PDT/7 PM EST.

Photos by Louis Raphael

Q&A: Bay Area Local Singer-Songwriter Rachel Rolleri

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Rachel Rolleri

When did you first become interested in playing music?
Growing up, there was always an inclination towards music. It always settled just right and sounded different to me than it did to my family. But when I was thirteen— that’s when I picked up the guitar. I just listened to a Beatle’s record and I came out of my room and told my parents that this what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had no idea it would turn into what it now is, but I love it.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
Probably the time when I was in eighth grade singing a solo for my middle school choir concert. It was in front of parents and faculty and students, and you know, eighth grade is a period of “transformation”, so I overestimated my vocal ability while aiming for a high note and my voice cracked horribly. I was shocked and said straight into the mic “oh SH*T” and we were all dying laughing. Like to this day, I’m not embarrassed, it was just a classic moment. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

What are you listening to these days?
These days it’s mostly Kanye’s new album. I just think he’s putting out some stellar sounds, and he’s got this new freedom that he’s tapping into that I can’t get enough of. Also quite a lot of Bill Evans.

Rachel Rolleri
Rachel Rolleri

What are some of your favorite Bay Area music venues?
My favorites are the Great American Music Hall, The Fillmore, and I love the Masonic. Those are my go-to’s. I’ve been lucky to witness some incredible acts there, and even play GAMH.

What are some of your favorites hangs in the Bay Area and why?
Honestly, I don’t go out much, I tend to save most of my energy for performing, whether it’s in the studio or on stage so it’s rare that I make it to places to hang. But there’s a couple spots on Polk street I dig, and my favorite restaurant is Nob Hill Cafe, where you can sit by Grace Cathedral or walk up Taylor to a scenic view. And I love a visit to the MoMA.

What’s your favorite neighborhood in the city and why?
Favorite neighborhood in the city is probably North Beach just because I know it so well. But Marina District is always fun because you can typically run into loads of people and kind of shift plans depending on who you want to run with that evening.

You were on Season 13 of American Idol. What’d you take away most from the experience?
With Idol, I learned how to hone in on who I was, and control and harness my energy in performance, and how much control I wanted over myself and my artistry.

What your fondest memory of being on the show?
The fondest memories for me came from the interactions with the crew. They really are the backbone of the show, and do so much for the contestants, the families, and the producers. They operated with grace under pressure and took great care of everyone.

What does music mean to you?
Music is an opportunity to spread peace through sharing the not-always-so-peaceful-things in order to create a more loving, empathetic, and peaceful society. Whatever scale it’s listened to on, someone is receiving those vibrations and sending out whatever transmuted vibration from there. It’s infectious, and while it can be so lovely, it can also be dangerous.

What inspires you to write?
People mostly inspire me. I’m not interested in writing just to write. Human behavior is the most complex and diverse thing in the world, and I’ve always been interested in reaching an understanding of my experiences with it, including my own behavior. Hugely inspired by love and its nuances. My first album was entirely about a single relationship I’d had, and it was such a wildly powerful thing to experience, so I explored a different facet of it in every song. Like it’s truly a fascination at this point.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
Probably that I’m not all that sad in person. Like my music can come off as very dark and chilled, but I’m actually quite cheery and warm. I save my misery for writing. Mostly.

Is there anything you’d like to plug?
I don’t have many, just give “Black Book” a listen, share it if you dig, hit that like button on Facebook, and a follow on Instagram & Twitter & Spotify.

San Francisco Music Venue Spotlight: 7 Mile House

in Music News by
7 Mile House

During the California Gold Rush of the 1840s, “mile houses” were constructed from San Jose to San Francisco to give weary stagecoach travelers somewhere to rest. Today, the only mile house left in the Bay is 7 Mile House in Brisbane. This unique piece of history has been rejuvenated as a restaurant, sports bar, and thriving Bay Area live music venue.

If walls could talk…

The venue’s swashbuckling past is something of a crash course in California history. Since its establishment as a mile house in 1858, it evolved into a popular neighborhood spot–and maybe even a brothel.

In the late 19th century, gamblers snuck into an illegal poolroom operated from behind the mile house pub. During Prohibition, the proprietor was arrested for possessing a whiskey mill.

Eventually, the old stagecoach station transformed into a rough-and-tumble burger joint crowded with truckers. Sports betting and other gambling activities continued in the back rooms through the 1980s. Then the FBI raided the place. The story goes that the owner at the time was a top California bagman for Ron “The Cigar” Sacco, the most infamous bookmaker of all time.

It’s safe to say that the House has earned its place in San Francisco legend.

Something for everyone

These days, 7 Mile House is recognizable by its cheerful yellow-striped awning and unmistakable rustic vibe. The family (and dog!) friendly restaurant includes special menus for kids and furry friends alike. Tasty fried classics coexist with California faves.

For the adult set, there are drinks, sports (via satellite) and some of the best live music in San Francisco. The nightly entertainment lineup is a whos-who of hot music acts in the Bay Area, and it comes with no cover charge.

The weekly calendar is as follows:

Monday– $1 oysters and $5 sangrias ALL DAY; 50% off kids’ menu (for kids 10 and under); live jazz

Tuesday– ALL DAY HAPPY HOUR with $5 apps, cocktails, beer, wine, and shots; live jazz

Wednesday– WHISKEY WEDNESDAY with $5 Jameson and Jack shots; $5 for 5 wings; ALL NEW live Latin Jam

Thursday– TEQUILA THURSDAY with $5 shots of El Jimador Repo and Silver, Herradura Silver; $16 pitchers featuring craft beer; live blues

Friday– $4 Angry Orchard Apple Cider; live R&B

Saturday– STELLA SATURDAYS Buy $8 Stella and keep the glass (while supplies last); $10 beer flights; live music (all genres)

Sunday– BRUNCH 10 AM-3 PM; BBQ 12-6; dinner 4-8; bottomless mimosas and sangrias and $1 oysters from 10-2; $7 Bloodys and $10 off wine bottles (expect house wine); live jazz

Jazzing up the Bay

Low key yet high energy, this venue is quickly climbing the ranks of San Francisco music venues. Jazz has become a 7 Mile specialty. On many a weeknight, jazz fans can be found munching on a juicy patty melt while enjoying the music of world-class jazz artists like Al Molina, Vince Lateano, and Andrew Speight in an intimate setting.

In March 2018, they threw the first annual 7 Mile House Jazz Festival, handing out awards to the Bay Area’s preeminent jazz artists and installing a “Jazz Wall of Fame” to honor local musicians.

The event promises to be even bigger in 2019. It’s a fun way to celebrate Bay Area live music and the vibrant community that surrounds it. And as one of the hottest San Francisco music venues, 7MH has the unique ability to be at the center of it all.

Giving back with a tasty twist

The restaurant/venue throws an annual Adobo Cook-Off in the summer. They donate all the proceeds to a local nonprofit. Customers will test their finest adobo recipes against each other and the 7MH house recipe. Tickets to the festival, which are $25, include all-you-can-drink San Miguel beer and all-you-can-eat jasmine rice, along with the chance to sample some amazing adobo. This year, the proceeds will benefit St. Paul of the Shipwreck Church. The cook-off takes place on July 14.

Free for all

It’s not always easy to find cheap things to do in the Bay, let alone fun local events that are free every night. 7MH provides evening after evening of awesome musical programming with local flavor and no cover charge. While the beginning of the week still belongs to jazz, they recently introduced a Latin jam for Wednesday evenings.

The Brisbane restaurant/bar/venue has won many awards from San Francisco Weekly. In 2018 alone it was voted Best Sports Bar, Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant, Best Pub Food, Best Happy Hour, and Best Music Venue, among others.

Jazz club, sports bar, family restaurant–7MH wears many hats. For both tourists and locals, it’s a hotspot for live music in San Francisco.

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