• REWIND: An American reviews the would-be Eurovision 2020 entries, Part 3

    REWIND: An American reviews the would-be Eurovision 2020 entries, Part 3

    Athena Manoukian. Courtesy: Eurovision. First, let me address that this has been an extremely, profoundly, historically bad week in the United States. As of this writing, there are protests, both violent and nonviolent, in at least 25 cities across the country, because 20 years into the 21st century…
  • Q&A: Oakland's Ultra Q drops quarantine EP, ponders future after shelter-in-place

    Q&A: Oakland’s Ultra Q drops quarantine EP, ponders future after shelter-in-place

    Ultra Q, Courtesy: Andrew Diaz. Some bands can get by on streaming royalties for a while in the event of a catastrophic pandemic, but Oakland’s Ultra Q is not a “streaming band,” frontman and bandleader Jakob Armstrong said. Brothers Enzo and Chris Malaspina, Kevin Judd and Armstrong, the youngest…
  • REWIND: An American reviews the would-be Eurovision 2020 entries, Part 2

    REWIND: An American reviews the would-be Eurovision 2020 entries, Part 2

    Daði og Gagnamagnið. Courtesy. It’s time for Part 2 of an epic American analysis of the would-be contestants in the canceled Eurovision 2020 competition! The good news is there’s nobody as profoundly bad as Russia in this set. And in fact, Iceland is in here, and it always…
  • Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery - May 26

    Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – May 26

    Clockwise from top left: Inhaler, Tim Baker, Mike Polizze, Seth Walker, Sara Rachele and JC Stewart. Every week, there’s a plethora of new music at our fingertips. Artists on platforms like Spotify and Bandcamp are plentiful, and the radio offers a steady deluge of new singles, but who…
  • INTRODUCING K.O.: DJ and visual artist Ko Lee steps into a new realm with "Sadderday"

    INTRODUCING K.O.: DJ and visual artist Ko Lee steps into a new realm with “Sadderday”

    K.O. (Ko Lee). Ko Lee is still new to writing and recording her original songs as K.O., but the Angeleno has been making art of the visual kind for several years, usually using herself as the subject. While she’s grown a massive online fanbase, Lee is quick to…
  • Insert Foot: Terrible things still not as horrible as more 'We Are the World'

    Insert Foot: Terrible things still not as horrible as more ‘We Are the World’

    Rendering: Adam Pardee/STAFF. I heard Lionel Richie was talking about redoing “We Are the World.” Awesome, I immediately thought. The COVID has officially dried up the world’s supply of creativity (as I, ironically, desperately searched for a topic two hours before deadline). As you know, there are too…
  • Rock'N Vino: 'The Delicacy' documentary dives into treacherous waters

    Rock’N Vino: ‘The Delicacy’ documentary dives into treacherous waters

    Filmmaker Jason Wise working on his new documentary, ‘The Delicacy,’ off the coast of Santa Barbara. Courtesy. Filmmaker Jason Wise, best known for “The Somm,” a hit documentary that followed four people hoping to become master sommeliers, summed up his experience shooting his latest documentary as a cautionary tale for…
  • INTERVIEW: Kendal Conrad finds a new voice amid industry uncertainty

    INTERVIEW: Kendal Conrad finds a new voice amid industry uncertainty

    Kendal Conrad. Courtesy. Like just about everyone, life has changed dramatically for Pennsylvania singer-songwriter Kendal Conrad. She had a summer packed with plans sining the National Anthems at sports stadiums, gigs at local bars and restaurants and increase her growing fanbase across the country. That summer schedule now…
  • INTERVIEW: Lindsey Stirling learning to slow down in a pandemic, show love with her wallet

    INTERVIEW: Lindsey Stirling learning to slow down in a pandemic, show love with her wallet

    Lindsey Stirling, Courtesy. Lindsey Stirling is proud to show off the makeshift recording and video studio that she’s concocted for herself in her guestroom at her sister’s Missouri horse ranch. She’s sitting on her bed, to which she’s attached a tall standing shoe rack with her dog Luna’s…
  • INTERVIEW: Foreigner's Michael Bluestein passes the time with original song, beer

    INTERVIEW: Foreigner’s Michael Bluestein passes the time with original song, beer

    Foreigner’s Michael Bluestein. Courtesy: Karsten Staiger. Millions of people around the world are stuck at home due to coronavirus, sometimes passing the time by starting a podcast or recording a song for YouTube. But not all of them are a member of a band that’s sold 80 million…
  • SWMRS' Max Becker determined to return stronger after brain injury, pandemic

    SWMRS’ Max Becker determined to return stronger after brain injury, pandemic

    Max Becker of SWMRS performs at Live 105’s BFD 2017 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View on June 10, 2017. Alessio Neri/STAFF. SWMRS’ Max Becker doesn’t remember undoing his seatbelt, but obviously he did on the fateful drive from Oakland to Denver, where the band was set to…
  • The Wild West of album releases during the COVID-19 pandemic

    The Wild West of album releases during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Stacks of compact discs sit on spindles. Courtesy: Joe McNally/Getty Images. Lady Gaga did it. So did Alicia Keys, then Sam Smith, Rufus Wainwright, The Dixie Chicks and Alanis Morrissette. The 1975 did it twice; from February to March, and then to late May (as of now). All…