Welcome to Weekend Planner. Every Friday we put together a list of the weekend events we think look most interesting and provide them here. Keep in mind there is always a lot more going on, and all it takes is a little digging to find something that will be the perfect activity for you.
This weekend is the last weekend of Noise Pop, “San Francisco’s favorite Indy Music, Arts, and Film Festival”. As such this weekend we are putting together a special Noise Pop edition of Weekend Planner.
Friday, Feb. 27
Swedish American Hall, San Francisco, CA
The National Poster Retrospecticus is a traveling show of more than 350 hand-printed event posters from over 100 of the most prominent poster designers in the USA. The collection features artists like Jay Ryan, Lil Tuffy, Landland and Daniel Danger. Its mission is to celebrate posters, the made-by-hand aesthetic and help spread that enthusiasm around the world! The NPR is produced by JP Boneyard; a poster designer and enthusiast who has been setting up art and music events since 1998.
Enjoy complimentary drinks from The Bon Vivants, courtesy of Mailchimp.
Saturday, Feb. 28
Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
7:30PM, All Ages
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
It can be argued that The New Pornographers have been the best and most consistently great rock band of the 21st Century. While debates like that are rarely ever diplomatic battles of wit, the Canadian supergroup has a dog in that hunt for several reasons, and that’s not even counting the brilliant vocal/songwriting trio of Carl Newman (A.C. Newman), Dan Bejar (Destroyer), and the incomparably cool Neko Case.
As a group, there are few better examples of a collective being greater than the sum of its parts than the New Pornographers. Formed in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1999, the band quickly released their debut LP, Mass Romantic, a peppy, new-wave romp heavier on Case’s keys and vocals than in subsequent albums. 2005’s Twin Cinema was a nearly perfect album, replete with the benefit of coming on the heels of Newman’s mid-’00s prolific period, which also yielded his equally nearly perfect solo debut LP, The Slow Wonder.
The band’s long-awaited sixth studio album, Brill Bruisers, finds them loosening their sonic belt, folding in tastefully gorgeous keys and electronic progressions into their typically fastidious pop oeuvre—most notably on the space-y minimalism and psychedelic soundscape of the Case-lead “We Are the Champions of Red Wine,” which would sound as cozy on the mains at an ’80s nightclub dancefloor as it does in a groovy lounge in 2015. Similarly, “Fantasy Fools” showcases Newman’s experimental bent within progressive pop song structures. “Dancehall Domine,” in yet another unexpected bout of journalistic hubris, is just plain old brilliant.
That the band has remained not only relevant, but also important, for the last 15 years is testament to the subtle genius that their symbiosis conjures. On Brill Bruisers, as on their five earlier releases, The New Pornographers, in pursuit of artistic evolution, seemingly need to look no further than the folks in the room for inspiration. And that is why they’re one of the world’s best rock bands.
HOW TO DRESS WELL
Tom Krell’s boldly naked compositions have garnered accolades from all corners of the blogosphere, the greater underground music-buying public, and anyone with an ear toward ambient pop music. Under his alias How to Dress Well, Krell’s praises have been sung by Spin and Stereogum, each essentially giving their influential thumbs-up to the Chicago-based singer-songwriter. Wrapped within starkly minimalist R&B and often gorgeous, sweeping orchestral moments. Krell’s latest release, What is This Heart?, reached as high as number 145 on the Billboard 200, and earned him the title of “Best New Music” by Pitchfork this past June.
NICK DIAMONDS OF ISLANDS
As frontman for such artistically varied projects as The Unicorns, Th’ Corn Gangg, Islands, Reefer, and Human Highway, Nick Diamonds has traversed a rewarding sonic sound wave since he first hit the national scene around 2002. His most recent collection consists of instrumental compositions he wrote and recorded for the popular Serial podcast, weaving as it does in a murderous kind of flailing wonder, resplendent with full-bodied downers and cathartic vignettes of bedroom-pop brilliance. Expect more of Diamonds’ arm’s-length, moody rock as found on his excellently bleak 2011 album I Am an Attic.
Sunday, Mar. 1
Swedish American Hall, San Francisco, CA
*This is a partially seated show.
JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW (SOLO)
Irish singer and songwriter James Vincent McMorrow is like a musical coin; embracing two sides of the same mind to produce both gentle folk melodies and electronic soul with ease. Raised in Dublin, McMorrow was initially a huge fan of bands like At the Drive-In, learning the drums before taking up the guitar in college and performing a traditional folk styling that fit his reverberating falsetto voice and gentle storytelling.
In 2010, McMorrow recorded and released his debut album, Early in the Morning, in Ireland to instant critical acclaim and soaring sales. Drawing favorable comparisons to songwriter Bon Iver, not only for his hushed acoustic folk but for the isolated location he holed himself up in to record it, McMorrow’s first album was released in the US via Vagrant Records in 2011. His debut, Early in the Morning, eventually went Platinum in the UK, buoyed by wide-ranging praise, television appearances, and headlining spots at popular festivals.
His well-crafted musical characters and ebullient five-part harmonies originally put McMorrow firmly in the neo-folk section of record stores, yet his sophomore album would defy these expectations while retaining his signature songwriting warmth and poignancy. Recorded in 2013 in another isolated locale, this time a small town studio somewhere in south Texas, McMorrow went from heads to tails on that musical coin of his with Post Tropical—a record infused with electronic elements and varied instrumentations. Pianos and horns have replaced acoustic guitars for the most part, and an R&B inspired beats course through the record’s veins. In many ways, Post Tropical is a soul album as much as Early in the Morning is a folk album. It holds all the same emotional tones and lyrical honesty, yet the sunny grooves and stunning textures seem to leave his debut’s cabin in the woods aesthetic far behind. A recent deluxe edition of Post Tropical explores these electronic themes even further with remixes and live recordings. Over the last year, McMorrow has toured the world while continuing to write and arrange new material as he looks ahead to his next toss of the coin.