777 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 - Map
Papercuts, Vetiver

Noise Pop + (((folkYEAH!))) Present



The Donkeys, EDJ

Wed, February 26, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Chapel

San Francisco, CA

$15 adv / $18 door

This event is all ages

Subtlety is often an underrated quality. That's partly why Papercuts' new album, Fading Parade band's fourth overall, and first for Sub Pop—is such a breath of fresh air. Papercuts prinicipal Jason Robert Quever's beautiful songwriting is thoughtful, quietly evocative and simultaneously ambitious. This is dream pop of the highest order, but unlike a lot of contemporary bands that fall under the same sonic umbrella, Papercuts isn't trying to emulate shoegaze heavy hitters from yesteryear. Instead, Quever's embraced a gentler, more sophisticated approach to presenting pop music that's steeped in atmosphere.

"There was so much aggressive music when I was younger, and I just felt like trying something different," says Quever. "I don't want to hit people over the head. That's just not who I am. I don't necessarily like to be the center of attention."

Quever may not want to be the focal point at social gatherings, but make no mistake about who is in control of Papercuts. His lush, layered recordings sound like they were made by what's commonly referred to as a "band," but Quever is always the one pulling the strings, whether he's literally doing it on his guitar, producing, or writing. (It doesn't hurt that he's a whiz on a bevy of instruments, including organ and drums.) Though Quever continues to refer to Papercuts as a band, he's finally getting comfortable with the idea of being a lone arranger.

"I've always tried to get away from being the bedroom guy, but then lately I've been realizing sometimes that's worthwhile," he says. "Maybe that's the school I'm from: trying to make interesting records any way you can, with whoever might be around."

Papercuts' first three albums—2004's Mockingbird, 2007's Can't Go Back, and 2009's You Can Have What You Want—were recorded in San Francisco by Quever at his home studio, Pan American Recording, where he's worked with artists like Port O'Brien, Beach House, Cass McCombs, Still Flyin', and The Skygreen Leopards. Pan American was partially used to make Fading Parade, but for the first time Quever also left his comfort zone by heading to The Hangar in Sacramento and handing over some of the recording reins to Thom Monahan (Beachwood Sparks, Au Revoir Simone, Vetiver, Tussle). It turned out to be a great match, and with Monahan handling the technical details, as well as his live band helping out, Quever avoided sweating the small stuff and was able to spend more time being a performer and arranger.

"I didn't have a heart attack by the end," says Quever. "It was actually enjoyable the whole way through, and I'm excited to play these songs live instead of feeling, 'God, I never want to look at a guitar again.'"

Crafted over the course of several months, Fading Parade is meticulously designed pop music, with a fully developed sense of space and a sturdy wall of sound. With the aid of strings, autoharp, Mellotron, Moogs, 12-string acoustic guitars, piano, Echoplexes, analog tape and digital recording, Fading Parade is wide-ranging and adventurous, through the up-tempo jangle of "Do You Really Wanna Know," the soaring and resonant "Do What You Will," the moody swirl of "I'll See You Later I Guess," the folky, piano-driven "Winter Daze," and on. Imagine Belle & Sebastian teaming up with Slowdive and recording with Phil Spector back when he was killing it in the studio rather than, well, you know. It's also Papercuts' liveliest record, due in no small part to the fact that many of the songs were road-tested before being recorded, and Quever found himself writing with live performance in mind. He also got help in the studio from the guys who have made up Papercuts' live band over the past two years: David Enos (keyboard and autoharp), Graham Hill (drums), and Frankie Koeller (bass).
"I just knew that we wanted a big sound, like drums that really rang out a long time," says Quever. "I'd been playing more with a band, so I just thought about trying to get it as dynamic as possible, in a way that's hard to do recording at home."

For Quever, both personally and musically, everything seems to be falling into place, and there is an open quality that can be felt throughout Fading Parade. After enduring a difficult childhood that included the death of both of his parents—he credits the four-track he got after his mom died with both helping him cope and inspiring his career—Quever has a record that was fun to make, soon to be released on a label that made taking his ideas into a bigger studio possible. And he even has a band he loves without having to deal with all the usual annoying band stuff.
Have you been sitting at that computer all day? You’re overdue for a break. The new Vetiver album, The Errant Charm, is a superb soundtrack for an afternoon idyll. Take a moment to load the record on your mp3 player. Hell, if you still have a Walkman, the whole thing fits neatly on one side of a C-90 cassette tape. Select your favorite pair of headphones, and go for a stroll.

This album was made for walking. Vetiver bandleader Andy Cabic spent hours wandering the streets around San Francisco’s Richmond District, listening to rough mixes, tinkering with lyrics and arrangements. You can hear his strides in the tempo of “Hard To Break,” which captures the brisk gait one might adopt while passing through a public green space: Not hurried, just excited to be heading somewhere.

But you’re not there yet. “Hard To Break” is the fourth song, and there’s no need to rush. The album opens with “It’s Beyond Me,” a slow boil of acoustic guitar and vintage keyboards over a roomy beat. Here you’ll encounter almost every sonic idea showcased on The Errant Charm, the album’s universe distilled into one vibrant, six-and-a-half minute song. It builds to a robust character you’ve not heard from Vetiver before, but may have anticipated if you’ve followed them over the last four albums, from their eponymous 2004 debut through 2009’s Tight Knit.
The Donkeys
The Donkeys
We would love to be able to say that the Donkeys are simply four California beach bums who love to surf, drink cheap beer and jam as the sun sets over the Pacific. The long legacy of music hailing from California – from Bakersfield to the Beach Boys, Sweetheart of the Rodeo through Slanted and Enchanted – has shaped our sense that everything and everyone "out west" is laid back, comfortable and cool.

And to be fair, when it comes to the Donkeys, some of this mystique is true – two of the band's members are indeed surfers, and all four have been known to down a six pack or two. But like California, the real-life Donkeys (best friends from Southern California, Timothy DeNardo, Jessie Gulati, Anthony Lukens and Sam Sprague) are much more... real. If their backstory contains those top-down cars and suntanned utopian surf tableaus, it also contains the malaise and the escape fantasies familiar to all suburban kids of the 80s and 90s. Miraculously, the music manages to comfortably communicate both moods at once. Any expression of existential ennui – "is this all there is?" – is simultaneously soothed by an unrushed guitar lick and a harmonized twang that becomes almost, dare we say, meditative.

Part of this magic comes from the fact that there's no artifice to the Donkeys' songs, from the matter-of-fact breakup blues of "Boot on the Seat" to the playful recollections of a late, drunken night narrated on "Nice Train." These are everyday lives in the postmodern world expressed with a deep respect for classic songs from the 70s through the 90s -- for spacey grooves and soulful, jangly swagger -- that elevates the subject matter beyond the ordinary. Living on the Other Side, the band's second album, is not meant to hit you over the head with a flamboyant single – instead, imagine Ray Davies jamming with the Byrds, or a Gene Clark-fronted Buffalo Springfield -- and you'll get a sense of the tradition that informs this band.
The new project from Eric D. Johnson!
Venue Information:
The Chapel
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110