Fast Times.! with Andrew St James & Friends
Burning Curtains, Fast Times, The Gonks
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“When people ask what’s going on with the San Francisco music scene, point them in the general direction of Andrew St. James.” – Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chroncle
Andrew St. James was born the accidental child of The Rolling Stones’ tour caterers. After riding the Voodoo Lounge Tour in utero, he was born somewhere in Northern California, and taken in by a family of political lobbyists in San Francisco. Considered a vocal prodigy, St. James developed an early interest in baroque classical music, touring internationally in choirs and by age 11 was singing for the San Francisco Opera. Following the death of his biological father, St. James, then 16, recorded a solo album with a handheld recorder while hitchhiking the Pacific Northwest. The recordings found their way to veteran Bay Area producer Jim Greer (Foster The People, Galactic, Geographer), who in turn began working with St. James on his first proper release. Doldrums, recorded during his senior year of high school, was released September 2013 to critical acclaim.
After briefly attending college on the east coast, St James headed back to California on a motorcycle where he joined Greer to record his second LP The Shakes, released in 2014, which according to Pittsburg In Tune “cements St. James’ status as one of the most promising young artists around.” Followed by several years of touring he eventually landed in Los Angeles where he capitalized on his talent as a songwriter and started collaborating with some of LA’s larger acts such as Cold War Kids and Mark Foster.
Born out of time visiting and creating in Los Angeles, The Big Ole Veronica Apology Record, released in 2017, is a commentary on flat mass culture, American indifference, and a self-expressed “millennial malaise.” Despite its subversive undertones, “The Apology Record” is an upbeat collection of songs the Bay Bridged refers to as “lyrically charged folk-pop […] with gorgeous harmonies, indelible hooks and an infectious high energy.”
Andrew St. James currently lives in San Francisco, where he continues working with long-time producer Jim Greer. His latest release, Liberation Music.! For Boring People was recorded in November of 2016. Written in the aftermath of the presidential election, the songs are an exploration of national tension and personal turmoil.
Liberation Music offers exactly what music needs right now: a voice for those cerebral members of the new generation, out there hiding in plain sight, observing and relating on the level we should all expect from our troubadours. St. James’s lyrical subversion and musical vulnerability explores just that, revealing the very core social values and personal ambitions of today. "Boring People" is about all of us, how we are brainwashed by the media, having to work ten times harder to keep up with the onslaught,” says St James. Filled with catchy singles such as I'm Ready, Inside The Mess You Made, and the gorgeous Forever Waiting, Forever There, his sly look on life translates onto this record. If "Liberation Music" could be best summed up in a lyric, it would be from the records breezy pop song, Inside A Wonderful Mind: "While you were looking for the answers, I was looking at the dancer..."
Andrew Kerwin, Steve Oriolo, Scott Rideout, Tyson Vogel. We have a split 7" soon to be released with our comrades Happiness; a full length, recorded in the womb of Olympia WA. in the building; more to come... and shows, shows to sound our song, sow the melodic word, upon deep nights and gilded streets.
There are two pieces of evidence of the debut live performance of FAST TIMES – a new project from Bay Area music scene stalwarts Andrew St. James, Duncan Nielsen (Doncat, Geographer), and Cody Rhodes (Sandy's, CURLS, Geographer).
One is a shaky video taken by a member of San Francisco band Sandy's from the green room at The Chapel, showing an enamored crowd and a widely grinning St. James, minutes into the trio’s rousing track “Tuesday Night.” The other, from the opposite angle and taken just a few moments later, a still photograph by local music photography luminary Paige K. Parsons of Nielsen, smiling back, eyes sparkling.
The magic – overwhelming, slightly disorienting – that abundantly and undeniably entered the room, is there in both.
The result of a bond formed from years of supporting the various iterations of each other's musical offerings, the trio comprising FAST TIMES came together in the first part of 2019 as an experiment which now, months later, feels for each like a fated path. Their easily-found spirit of collaboration has already yielded a prolific, well-crafted tangle of songs, and those demos, now passed in secret through the Bay Area music community in the weeks following the Chapel show, continue to build excitement.
Steeped in nostalgia and given voice with the earnest lyrics of both St. James and Nielsen, and guided by the much-lauded Rhodes, the tracks are at once wistful ("10th Grade") and tender ("Heaven Sent"), while still reactive to the complicated miasma of the now ("I Believe"). They are familiar, but provoking. They live and breathe, resoundingly, in the present. Now, a much-buzzed future awaits, and as their name may portend, there’s no trio better suited for its arrival.
The Gonks is an indie rock band made up of Sami of The She’s and Sonny & Ava of Sonny & The Sunsets.
777 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA, 94110