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Kimbra breaks from Gotye’s shadow with ‘The Golden Echo’

Read my story/interview with Kimbra at The Bay Bridged.

Check out a short bonus Q&A right here on this blog.

See her at the Independent Monday.


Kimbra on her musical fashion sense and future collaborations

The first thing I noticed about Kimbra when we spoke a few weeks ago was how fast she talks; like a gatling gun. We chatted for 15 minutes, but she spoke as many words as a normal person might say in 30 in an interview.

Kimbra was in Los Angeles when we spoke, rehearsing for her tour, which kicks off in San Francisco, at the Independent, on Oct. 20. Half of her traveling crew and band had made the trek from Australia for the rehearsals. 

My story will run this week in The Bay Bridged. Here’s some extras while you wait. You can also read a prior concert review where Kimbra opened for Foster the People. And watch two live videos: Here and here.

Catch Kimbra at the Independent Monday.


There are more than a dozen guest contributors on “The Golden Echo.” Did you ever have to turn down musicians who wanted to help you write or play on the record?

Yeah, there was a time toward the end of the record where I had literally tracked all the drums, and there were still other drummers I wanted to work with, like Thomas Burchin. … It was like, ‘I really want to get you … and mix some tracks.’ I remember feeling like, ‘I’d love to do another record (with bonus tracks).’ There’s so many great moments that didn’t make this record, and I do want to put them out. There’s a lot of people I’d like to bring back into the studio for the next record.

With fear that you’ll answer with words I don’t understand, where do you do you find your own visual style and fashion sense?

It’s part of the self-expression. It’s very deeply tied to the music. When I step out on stage to play a show, I want the fashion and the clothes to reflect the mood of the performance, so I try to anchor to that; “What’s the intention, what’s the mood I want to get across?” And then I find … the fashion I want to come out of that place.

The album cover is a particular thing. I wanted to get across a sense of infinite imagination and a portal into another world – a little bit of an old storybook feel. I was channeling that mood.

Do you ever feel a disconnect between “Kimbra” and “that girl who sings on the Gotye song?” The two aren’t really similar.

When I produce my own music, there’s a different palette of sounds that go with it, and I do a lot more vocal production and … layers. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t explore music more like “Somebody That I Used to Know” in the future… music that’s more intimate and stripped back. I think that (fans) still connect with this work, and, maybe the sound is different. Maybe the genres are different, or whatever. … I think a big part of fans connecting with the music is seeing it live. That really does change so much when you’re able to see the songs performed in front of you. They change a lot in that context.

Photos and videos: Lily Allen and Lolawolf at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Oct. 8, 2014

Videos filmed in HD, so increase the window size and quality on YouTube.

Read my interview with Lily Allen here.

Irish singer Imelda May out to win over America (Win tickets!)

Read my story and interview with the entertaining Imelda, and win tickets to her show, at The Bay Bridged.

Check out a bonus Q&A with May on this blog.

Catch her at the Fillmore Thursday.

Imelda May

Imelda May on avoiding ‘flies,’ making people dance

Full disclosure: I didn’t know that much about Imelda May before I interviewed at Outside Lands in August. I did my research and listened to her music, but I hadn’t closely been following her as, apparently, very many of you do.

After speaking with her, I can tell you that she’s one of the few musicians with whom I can picture myself having a beer. In other words, she’s down-to-earth, engaged, unpretentious and very fun to be around.

My story will appear in The Bay Bridged next week, and she performs at the Fillmore on Oct. 9. The Bay Bridged is giving away some tickets to the show, so stay tuned for that. Until then, here are some outtakes.

Imelda May

You did a good job of exciting the hundreds of people in the front of the Outside Lands stage, who were upset about the Chvrches cancellation. You really won them over.

They were great. I even got a few of the girls that were up front waiting for Paolo (Nutini). They had their spot, and they were not moving! They were going to be there at 6 o’clock this morning. So I caught a bit of them moving as well. I saw them singing along.

You’ve been a parent for a year now. Tell me it gets easier.

It does get better. Well, new stuff will arise. When you think you’ve gotten over one thing, when you think you’ve hang of it, then all of a sudden it’s something new. I was getting only two, three hours of sleep at night the first six months.

You can tell from listening to the new record that your happiness is coming through and were able to be yourself despite having a baby.

It’s not despite it, but because of it! I’m not rebelling against having a child. I’m delighted to be with her, but I still have the same passions.

What are you looking forward to most about coming back to the Bay Area?

I think San Francisco is known for being music lovers. We say, “There’s no flies on it.” Is that an expression here?


It’s like, “fresh;” there’s no staleness. There’s no fooling or pulling over your eyes. There’s no deceiving you. They would smell you a mile if there’s anything slightly fake about it, and I like that.

Zola Jesus embraces operatic past, escapes from L.A.

Check out my interview and story with Nika Roza Danilova at The Bay Bridged before you see her perform Wednesday at Bimbo’s 365 Club.

Catch a bonus Q&A right here on this blog.

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus on recording in wilderness and reheating musical leftovers

I was warned that Nika Roza Danilova may have an icy demeanor, but that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Danilova does take her work very serious, but is a very pleasant interview.

I spoke to her recently, and my story will run in The Bay Bridged  mid-week. Here are three “extras” that didn’t make the story. Catch Zola Jesus Oct. 8 at Bimbo’s 365 Club.

Zola Jesus

On writing Taiga while living on Vashon Island in Washington State:

It’s like Wisconsin in that it’s a very natural world and everything is so epic and majestic there. Definitely with this record I felt a sense of home. I felt the sense of going back to my roots and trying to feel free; trying to feel liberated. I was strained by society and culture, and expectation. To break through, I had to call upon my home.

Tell me about the genesis of “Dangerous Days,” a song that didn’t make your last album as a the first single on this one.

I wrote Dangerous Days a couple of years ago … when I was living in Los Angeles. It never lived past the demo because I didn’t know what to do with it; it wasn’t ready. But it was always in my back pocket. When I was working on this album, I was excited to take some of those songs from my back pocket that I had saved and see if I could fit them in the context of this new record.  They were always right there and I felt like I just needed to adjust them. (With) Dangerous Days, especially was especially because I felt like I had the direction for it that I needed all along. 

Why did you switch record labels, to Mute from Sacred Bones?

I just wanted a change. I’d been on Sacred Bones my whole musical life and they are my family and my best friends. But I wanted to try something a little different. Mute I trusted, and I loved their legacy.

Lily Allen returns with more responsibilities, same identity


Lily Allen was “retiring,” said the English press, ever excited to exaggerate. She was “burnt out on the rock and roll lifestyle.” She was “being domesticated.”

While there was some truth to those stories, fat chance. The English singer-songwriter (performing Wednesday, Oct. 8 at the Fox Theater in Oakland) rose to prominence with the help of a MySpace page, had a hit debut record, became a press darling, had some issues with alcohol, toplessness and the celebrity feud circuit, became a press punching bag and released two more albums, and through it all became the U.K.’s celebrity scene. Then she met the man who would be her husband. He helped herself reign in her behavior – that part is true. Then they had two kids. And she decided to temporarily put her music recording and touring on hold.

But make one thing clear. Her new loves did not change who Lily Allen is.

“I still get drunk, and I still cuss, and I still wear slutty clothes on stage,” Allen said in a recent interview from Atlanta, where she was preparing for her U.S. tour. “I don’t see why the two have to be mutually exclusive.”

Read More

If you’re wondering what happened to the concert photos and videos this week; follow me on Twitter (@RomiTheWriter) and YouTube (Roman Gokhman).
Radio Roman: “I Feel Everything” - Waters

This is a song Van Pierszalowski and co. have been playing for a while, but if you’re not from the Bay Area, or perhaps Los Angeles, you likely haven’t heard it yet. This is another tune that Grouplove fans are sure to love, as that band’s drummer, Ryan Rabin, is producing WATERS.

The band is releasing an EP, “It All Might Be OK,” next month

Listen to the song (below), read my story about WATERS, and watch a video.


Photos and videos: Lykke Li and Mapei at the Fox Theater in Oakland; Sept. 21, 2014.

Check out an interview and story here.

See more Lykke Li in the archive.

BONUS: Journalist Nick DeCicco reviewed the show. Read it here.

Videos filmed in HD, so you can increase size and quality.

Photos and video: Chvrches at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Sept. 18, 2014.

If you haven’t yet, read my interview with the band about why the Fox holds a special place for them, as does the city.

Kopecky Family Band helping raise kids

Read my story about the band today at The Bay Bridged.

Check out a handful of questions that didn’t make the final story here.

Buy a ticket to see them Tuesday at the Independent.

Kopecky Family Band

Lykke Li learns from life experience and readjusts goals

Read my story about how Lykke Li’s upbringing affects her outlook in The Bay Bridged.

Check out my then-exclusive about how Lykke Li came to collaborate with U2 on their new album, “Songs of Innocence.” Right here on this blog.

Catch her show Sunday at The Fox in Oakland.

See some pictures and a video I filmed at Outside Lands in August in the archive.

Lykke Li

Kopecky Family Band will drink to your start-up

Kopecky Family Band, the Nashville indie pop sextet with no family members actually related by blood, put on one of the best early sets at Outside Lands a couple of years ago (check out the video, below). Now they’ll return to the Bay Area for a headlining gig at the Independent on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Soon after, they should be completing a follow-up album to 2012’s “Kids Raising Kids.” I interviewed vocalist Kelsey Kopecky for The Bay Bridged, the the story will run in a couple of days. Here are a few more things you may not know about them.

You guys first bonded in 2007 over a board game, so the story goes. Which one?

It was “Catch Phrase.” At the time, I kept it with me or had it at my house. It’s always a good icebreaker. We even used it in our last band photo shoot. None of us really love the camera, but we were enjoying just playing the game and eating Doritos.

You’ve been through the Bay Area a few times. Do you have any favorite memories?

We had the best time a few years ago. We rented a house on airbnb. It had a hot tub. It was really awesome. It was actually our drummer, David’s, birthday. … There are obviously a ton of start-up companies, and all our friends that we went to college with that live there are part of the different start-ups. So we started a drinking game where any time someone said ‘start-up,’ you had to take a shot. I don’t think we actually (had to) play very long. 

You’ve guest written to a blog about faith, as well as health and mental wellness. How important are those things to you?

I grew up in a Christian environment, so faith was always something that was a ritual in my life that, through prayer and through a code of ethics, became a structure that I think was ingrained in me. I’m so thankful for that foundation. Now as I grow up …,  because I’m so connected to God, I can’t help but want to explore and to learn more about this bigger connection. Even to study other religions and understand this beautiful practice through ritual of different types of physical prayer and different types of devotion.

Kopecky Family Band