Aural Geography: San Francisco

A new feature to the World of Wingrove is Aural Geography, where I will use the home town of the artist who has produced album of the week, or similarly another big release. The plan is then to pillage Wikipedia and come up with some other bands from that area. This will be a mix of some names I like, some big names and some hip names. Maybe I’ll even re-word a bit of history!

Fortunately, the feature gets off to a relatively easy start with a big US city like San Francisco, the hometown of Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek. Musically, San Francisco’s big contribution was the ‘San Francisco Sound‘ in the mid 60s to early 70s. This was a more jazz-influenced freewheeling rock, a polar opposite to the concurrent sounds from over the water, the ‘British Invasion’ of 3 minte pop songs, The Beatles, The Kinks etc. The SF Sound is probably summed up best by The Grateful Dead, a ever changing group headed by Jerry Garcia.

The bands I’ve picked from recent times are Beulah and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Beulah released four albums in the period 1996-2003, including the only official full-length LP on the famed Elephant 6 Recording Company, responsible for indie luminaries Of Montreal and Neutral Milk Hotel. Miles Kurosky, lead singer of Beulah has recently finished recording a solo record. BRMC were originally a bigger success in drummer Nick Jago’s homeland of the UK, and the hype surrounding their debut was huge; the backlash against the second LP almost as big. Their debut featured Love Burns, a massive favourite of mine. After losing (and regaining) Jago following drug and alcohol abuse, the band continue to ply their expansive bluesytrade, seemingly improving with age.

Beulah – If We Can Land A Man On The Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart
B.R.M.C. – Love Burns
The Grateful Dead – Friend Of The Devil



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