Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Catacomb Party announces partial lineup for 2015 festival

There was a special pre-annoucement of the Catacomb Party 2015 lineup during its New Years Eve party last week.

Today, we get the official word of the lineup, well the first round of bands, at least, with more to come.

It includes its share of locals (with rapper Zee Will as the main draw), plus Fresno-by-proxy band The Stone Foxes and Goldboot, who should be well know to local indie-rock audiences. Leading the list is Chicago songwriter Tom Krell, who performs under the moniker How to Dress Well.

HTDW may not be a household name, but the guy has strong credibility with those who follow what’s hip. His album “What is this Heart,” received raves on Pitchfork. It received at 8.8 (out of 10)rating. It was also No. 4 on Urban Outfitters list of best albums in 2014.

Click through the jump to hear a track from How to Dress Well and to see the full list of announced bands. Who has you excited?

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Nickfest 2014 announces full lineup, adds Owen, Tera Melos

nickfestLast week, we announced the date for Nickfest 2014, the annual Tower District concert held in memory of local music enthusiast Nick Henebury. Now we have confirmation of the full line-up, which includes Owen (the solo-project from Chicago indie-rocker Mike Kinsella) and the pedal-core band Tera Melos.

Pedal-core is the term I coined for specifically for the band, which incorporates “experimental rock, ambient electronics and unconventional song structure” to create music that is “characterized by their quickly alternating time signatures, start-stop dynamics, two-handed tapping, extended open-ended bridges and the use of effect pedals and samplers.”

Lots of pedals and samplers.

Check out the festival’s full lineup, plus a video from Tera Melos, on the jump.

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Fresno gets representation at SXSW

ICYMI, I was on Valley Edition this morning talking SXSW; specifically, Fresno’s representation at the festival, which runs through the weekend. We talked about three local bands that are getting lots of buzz (both locally and beyond).

1.) Strange Vine

2.) Le Wolves

3.) Light Thieves

Much thanks to KVPR for the opportunity to pass along the good word on local music.

You can listen to the segment here.

Top 10 bands/concerts of 2013

It’s coming in right under the wire but here is my list of the top 10 bands (with comments) and concerts of 2013 (in no particular order). Keep in mind these choices are based mostly on my taste. Feel free to debate it all in the comments section. That’s what it’s there for.

1.) American Sharks
Technically, I discovered this Austin band in 2012, but I started following them in 2013 and their album wasn’t released until September, so I’m counting it. Takes the doom of stoner-rock and add a in some punk-rock punch.

2.) Deafheaven
Most recent discovery and I am late to jump on the bandwagon, but whatever. I should hate this band, what with the screeching black metal vocals, but I don’t. I don’t hate them at all.

3.) Broncho
Another band I “technically” discovered in 2012. But it was late 2012 and it was 2013 by the time I was listening to the album (on repeat).

4.) Werebear
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen/heard a local band that made me jealous. The moment I heard “Night of the Werebear,” I wished I’d written it.

5.) Dope Body
The AV club‘s LOUD feature was good for finding new bands. Sadly, they had the final installment in April. But not before I found Baltimore band Dope Body, which is what Henry Rollins would song like if he did noisy math-rock.

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Missed on Monday: Spanspek, Light Thieves and Van Halen booked for the Mid State Fair

Pro tip for those in the information biz. Don’t get sick. A lot can happen in a day. Here’s some stuff that y’all may have missed on Monday, because I’m getting caught up.

  • Spanspek Music and Arts Festival announced its 2013 date. The annual festival has been held out in Orosi since 2006 and is curated by a couple of local music aficionados. So it has cache for having an eclectic lineup of up-and-coming local bands like Achievement House, Basura, Collecto, Sahab, Strange Vine, Tokyo Death March and Tyrannosaurus Zebra. The festival is booking bands now with updates as soon as they come. Save the date Oct. 4.
  • In case it hasn’t been stated emphatically on this site yet, Light Thieves is good. Like, really good. The band, which does psychedelic space-rock indie dance jams, has a new album all recorded and ready to be pressed to vinyl. Now they need to the money to get it done. They had the money, but it got stolen from the practice space, so now they’re asking for y’alls help. Because that’s what we do these days and it’s nice. See the band’s Indiegogo campaign to learn how to help. For some audio incentive, here is a single from the album. It’s called “Crystal Maps” and it comes with a video you can see on the jump.
  • The California Mid State Fair announced it has booked Van Halen to play July 24 as part of this year’s festivities. This is the original Van Halen (or as original as its been in some time): Eddie and Alex, with David Lee Roth and Wolfgang Van Halen on the bass. Surely, there are plenty of VH fans who will happily make the drive, after the band’s last Fresno show was postponed cancelled. Ticket are on sale Friday.

    You can check out the full schedule bands the fair has confirmed on its website, but it includes John Mayer, Tim McGraw and Huey Lewis and the News. Granted, The Fresno Fair has only confirmed three acts, so far, but I wonder how you think the lineups are looking in comparison?

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Win tickets to Sleepy Sun, Strange Vine and Light Thieves

943381_10151187750814364_678010849_nOne of the benefits of being a touring band is connecting with awesome musicians from other cities and then “hooking” them up with shows in your home town. Strange Vine has always done great job of this, which is a benefit for local fans. I discovered American Sharks through a show the guys in Strange Vine pulled together last year and my life is better for it.

Tomorrow night, they bring their friends Sleepy Sun to Audie’s Olympic. The San Francisco band plays psychedelic rock, which will fit perfectly with Strange Vine and openers Light Thieves. My sense is, this will be one of those slipped-under-the-radar-but-damn-awesome-if-you-were-there shows.

Luckily, you won’t miss it, because 1.) I just told you about it. And 2.) We have tickets to give away.

Just leave a comment below. Tell us what was the best local-show-you-almost missed. We’ll pick winners at random. Contest closes at noon tomorrow (Thursday) and winners will be notified by email. No repeat entries, please. Complete rules and a video of Sleepy Sun are on the jump.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

While starting down the “20 ways to be a better Fresnan” checklist.

Laid-back reggae/rockers The Expendables are playing what’s probably the biggest gig of the weekend, tonight at Fulton 55. If you like Slightly Stoopid, you’ll like them. We hear it’s closed to selling out. So don’t slack. [More]

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Tonight: Ume, Ozmosis Happy Hour and more

If you’re looking for cool live music tonight, the place to be is Audie’s Olympic in the Tower, which hosts Austin rock band Ume, whom I’ve heard a lot of good things about. Two strong local bands back them up — Light Thieves, the new cool-indie-rockers-of-the-moment in Fresno and Style Like Revelators, a quality bluesy-rock band.


Hella shameless self promo here, but my Ozmosis Happy Hour #2 is tonight at Swiggs. There’s sports on the TVs, Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co’s “Steal the Shirt” night and lots of giveaways — including tickets for this weekend’s NOtown Roller Derby bout and Sergio Romo bobbleheads courtesy of the Fresno Grizzlies.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than helping clean up a river.

Strange Vine is my favorite band in Fresno right now. Fact is, they’re a lot of peoples’ favorite band right now. In fact, I gushed about them in the paper today and said they should totally open for The Black Keys (like that FB page, y’all!). But let’s focus on the now: Strange Vine is taking off for a quick tour through Texas and Nashville and up to NYC. Send them off Saturday night at Audie’s Olympic. Indie rock darlings of the moment Light Thieves are also playing. [More]


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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Besides singing “Don’t Drop that Baklava.”

You know how The Cellar Door in Visalia gets all those cool concerts? Well, organizers are saying tonight’s is the biggest one of the year. It’s with ’80s-inspired dance-pop act (and critical darling) Twin Shadow and the very groovy Poolside. In fact, I’ve heard people from L.A. and S.F. have been buying most of the advance tickets. Don’t miss out, local hipsters! Read this interview I did with Twin Shadow to get you ready. [Tickets]


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Tonight: A Tuesday that begs you to get out of the house

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Do you remember when Tuesdays used to the day to go see a band in this city? I do. And I can’t help but notice that tonight’s Tuesday night entertainment harkens back to those days. Some good stuff ahead of you, Fresno. So go see a show.

AT AUDIE’S OLYMPIC: L.A. punk/bluegrass band Old Man Markley arrives for a tour stop thanks to Numbskull Shows. The band is playing here before doing a run of dates with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. [More]

AT FULTON 55: Love the Captive brings us Portland band Aan (as heard on last week’s Ozmosis) plus much-buzzed-about local indie rock band Light Thieves as main support. The bill also features Greener By Color and Actress. [More]

AT TOKYO GARDEN: Another Oregon group, Wintertime Carousel, stops in town to share its indie/folks sounds. Let’s hope the carousel doesn’t melt in the Fresno heat. [More]

AT BABYLON: Itchy-O — a 32-piece masked (!!) marching band from Denver stops at Babylon. It sounds a bit like a concert and the Royal Rumble all in one. With pulsing percussion and electronica fun. [More]

AT ALDO’S: For the club crowd, Aldo’s hosts “Gotham City,” a Batman-themed party with all the usual club flair, plus a costume contest. I hope someone goes as Alfred — or, I suppose, the more probable, Slutty Alfred. [More]

Mark your calendar: Fuse Fest 2012


Fresno’s biggest music festival is back for its fifth year next month. That’s the Fresno Urban Sound Experience, or simply Fuse Fest, happening Sept. 6-8.

The lineup was announced this morning and true to form, it’s packed with local music of all genres — from Achievement House to Your Hero is a Villain, with Before Perils, Light Thieves, Patrick Contreras, Collecto, Niilo Smeds all in the middle. There’s Kat Jones and Blake Jones (no relation), plus the return of Sparklejet. There’s a grand total of 37 acts.

You can get the full band list at, Fresno Famous or The Fresnan.

This year’s festival is stretched out through three days — starting off with an ArtHop event at The Hashtag on Sept. 6, followed by the festival’s first night on Sept. 7 which has a cluster of venues that includes Fulton 55 (two stages), The Lamp Post and Iron Bird Lofts. On Sept. 8, the festival moves to Arte Americas, CMAC, Frank’s Place, ‘Fishbowl’ Stage at Warnors Theatre, Fresno Brewing Company and Tokyo Garden.

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than watching that stripper movie or the talking-bear movie.

I’m hyped for tonight’s show at Fulton 55, which features two of the best bands on our local scene — Strange Vine and Poor Man’s Poison — and SoCal funky folksters He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, who have won over crowds here before. They’re playing the Austin City Limits festival in September too. Anyhow, it’s gonna be a great show and if you don’t go that blue creature on the flier will eat you. [Tickets]


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