Archives for category: Live

Dear faithful devoted blog readers,

The passage of time between blog posts is just a matter of reality at this point. I do not intend to make blogging a more central part of my life. Lately the purpose of keeping a blog has become more apparent to me – to fill in the gaps with what I do not have a chance to say on Decoder or what might not be appropriate in other avenues.


2014 has been a great year for finding new music releases. I have blogged before about Owls’ self-title record (Jade Tree, 2001), and so the reformation announcement was pretty exciting to me. Good news is that the new record really hits my buttons. It’s a strange thing, though – I would call it more “middle of the road” indie rock and certainly not as immediately striking (and probably also will not be as influential, ultimately) as its predecessor. But the hooks are bigger and mathy arrangements are less impenetrable. I have this secret hope that “I’m Surprised” becomes popular enough that I could slip it on in a Friday evening setting and not completely freak out the general public. I’ve spent a lot of time with TWO so far, and I am so pleased that it’s met my (very high) expectations, in its own little way.

Piedmont Apocrypha

Another really special record that I’ve been appreciating this year has been Horseback’s Piedmont Apocrypha, which was released on Three Lobed Recordings in March. Horseback is led by Jenks Miller, an astoundingly talented and versatile guitarist who finds himself recording and collaborating across styles, from noise to folk to black metal and back. Apocrypha sounds a little bit more mellow than some of its older siblings under the Horseback name, but that doesn’t mean it’s less compelling. Particularly gorgeous is the 10-minute-plus ambient second track. Apocrypha is a mix of dynamics, beauty, and exploration that I can only highly recommend to fans of vision quests in the woods, or other Miller projects. I attempted to write a review of the record in greater detail, but I realized I don’t actually understand the tradition of psychedelic music from which it has descended, and quite honestly, the review written alongside the Three Lobed release is just perfect.

Cian NugentI’m still going to shows. Above is a particularly artsy (and accidental) photo I took of Cian Nugent, who played with his band, The Cosmos (No Quarter Records), here in Berlin a few weeks back. It was an aurally rich, complex, and consonant folk-rock blowout orchestra. The droning organ and violin bowing, coupled with the driving rhythm section, created the dense bed of warm sound, over which the Irish guitarist could work in dreamy licks and dustbowl landscape painting. There is really not enough praise for Mr. Nugent and his troupe of open-hearted explorers.

Who knows when I’ll post again on the blog, but maybe someone at some point will find something new in this post. Umbrellas into the future,



On a weekend trip to Leipzig, I stumbled into a Julia Holter show unexpectedly at UT Connewitz. My friend Laura took some nice photos and I got a setlist after the show. I parlayed this into another feature for Decoder Magazine. It was a great show and a lot of fun to put this concert review together.

Though the set certainly focused on The Loud City Song material, Holter also threw in a healthy dose of 2012’s Ekstasis. At one point in the evening, she revealed that it was the first time she was playing her keyboard – probably the result of the not-so-glamorous life of touring. “I shouldn’t have told you that,” she laughed. “It’s not bad… I just need to tame it.”

So that’s just a little taste of the feature. Even if my contributions aren’t your cup of tea, Decoder has some great writing that is very worth checking out.


Set list:
1. “Green Wild”
2. “Maxims I”
3. “Horns Surrounding Me”
4. “Marienbad”
5. “Four Gardens”
6. “City Appearing”
7. “This is a True Heart”
8. “Maxims II”
9. “In the Same Room”
10. “Goddess Eyes” (Encore)
[Photos by Laura Figueroa]

Hello all,

ghost trees is my often dormant music-related blog where I gush about my recent music obsessions, concerts attended, and dump a whole lot of “who cares” onto the world. I had considered completely abandoning it (several times), but out of the blue, I recently got a strangely genuine comment of appreciation. So I decided that I might as well continue slinging words about stuff people don’t care about into the ether.

Xi Hammer at SubMission in San Francisco June 8, 2013

Xi Hammer at SubMission in San Francisco June 8, 2013

What have I been up to? Well I actually have tested the waters of “being a musician” with some friends. We started Xi Hammer, a noisy, psychedelic, slowmo, heavy rock band and played a couple of shows this past spring. Many pieces of the loose collective have moved away from the Bay Area (myself included), so I’m not sure exactly what will happen, but we did spend some time in the studio. We intended to put out some music. Hopefully that’ll happen soon. Of course I’ll promote myself all over my blog, naturally, when that happens.

I also did some traveling, went to some shows, listened to some great music. My favorites from this year, surprisingly aren’t super obscure. I really like the new Appleseed Cast, The National, Wooden Wand, and Aidan Baker albums, and I was completely bowled over by Thurston Moore’s “cosmic glam-distorto psych” band, Chelsea Light Moving’s performance in Seattle in March.

Too much text is always bad news. So I’ll leave you virtual friends with a photo of the traditional/modern/world/improv group Agadetah, that I saw in June. Cool to see these instruments and it was a beautiful setting in Tzfat.Agadetah

Tune in, wash out.DoN

It’s been a while. I’m going to chalk it up to my new, non-music radio show that I started, Green Grid Radio. It has occupied a lot of my free time of late.

Since then I haven’t done much. I’m back at KZSU doing a short music show regularly again. There’s been some good music I’ve been listening to as of late. In some kind of comical response to my own twisted question, yes, I fell for Cap’n Jazz after Owls. I fell hard. And I can almost telegraph now that I’ll be writing on here in a few months that I’m a sucker for Joan of Arc. The other things that have been scratching that itch lately– new Swans (oh my god, that is all I will say), Rella the Woodcutter‘s I Know When It’s Time To Get the Fuck Away EP (gorgeous freaky folk noise, see my review), and Neptune‘s msg rcvd (fantastic music that  sounds like it was made on drugs in a factory)

I decided to post some photos from a recent live performance on KZSU. We were lucky to have Evan Caminiti (of Barn Owl, Higuma, and his own fame) and Vestals (aka Lisa McGee, also of Higuma) perform on Wednesday Night Live. As is the case with everyone else I meet in the bay area music scene, Evan and Lisa were great folks to chat with. Oh yeah, they also play the most beautiful music.

Lisa McGee’s music is as ghostly and dreamy as the apparent effect on this photograph, thanks to the old studio windows at KZSU. Her album Forever Falling Toward the Sky was released on local legendary label Root Strata and received a lot of attention here at KZSU over the summer. Though seeing her perform this in person was a whole new thing. Just warm blankets of bliss.

Caminiti, fresh off the release of 2012’s guitar-driven Dreamless Sleep, followed Vestals on a whole new setup. Lisa told me that he planned to utilize a brand new modular synthesizer in the performance, but troubles in the mail prevented this, and Caminiti shifted his set to incorporate this setup of pedals, effects, laptop, and keys. It was cool stuff. Brand new, dark, dreary, and beautiful. We’re really fortunate to have hosted. Again, college radio has the honor to unleash the best new music to listeners.

That’s it for self-promotional time for now. Have a nice rest of your month of November!