A 4F Sampler Platter for Rudolf’s Diner

THE TWO GALLANTS

These guys have become one of my favorite San
Francisco bands and I have proof.  I’ve reviewed them more
than any other SF band: February
’05
November
’05
.  Why am I so drawn to their music?  A
free spot on their guest list?  Sure, but I could always opt
out and play with my cats.  The real reason folks is this
bands youthful, aggressive, passionate fury.  I got a fortune
cookie the other day that read “Nothing can be accomplished without
passion.”  It got me thinking, as fortune cookies do, that as
I age I lose touch with my passion.  It’s there; I just need
to ‘touch’ it more often. The Two Gallants are
certainly in ‘tune’ with their passion.

Anyway, it
was Noise Pop
at Bimbo’s, the
main stage event featuring Two Gallants along with a cast of
others.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, was there to see just
them.  They’ve amassed a huge following of SF high schoolers,
frat boys and even 60 something white couples.  Odd you may
think, but what these fans come to see is a highly literate, poetic
group of young men steeped in the wisdom of James Joyce and critical of
the apartheid of Jim Crow.  What better way to enjoy Cesar Chavez day but
with a white, non-recent immigrant gathering of
scholars?

One thing I can say with certainty about
these scholars is that they have become truly settled in their sound
and performance.  Adam Stephen’s voice, at the age of 25, has
the scarring and raspy-ness of a well-aged rocker and drummer Tyson
Vogel plays with the virtuosity and abandon of Damon Che (Don
Caballero
).  What I’m most struck by in the music is
the poetry.  Check out these lines from what Stephen’s
referred to as his controversial song called Long Summer Day
where he takes on the persona of a black man living in the Jim Crow
south:

ALL IíVE EVER KNOWN IS POOR. OWE MY SKIN TO THE COUNTRY
STORE. DONíT OWN MY WALLS, MY ROOF, MY DOOR, AND HE TELLS ME IíM FREE.
BUT WHY FIGHT THE WILL TO LIVE. HELL MIGHT TAKE BUT HEAVEN GIVES,
THEREíS ONLY ONE SO IíLL FORGIVE.

Perhaps the controversy stems from a white
man, Stephen’s, posing as a black man in the song, or for the use of
that dreaded ‘n’ word, but if you pull away from the political
correctness of it all you find an honest homage to the struggles of a
‘faithful’ god fearing man who has to “fight the will to live” just
like many of us do.  And don’t we all owe our skin to the
country store these days?  The store being a metaphorical
Walmart or a ‘cruel’, money-grubbing record label?  Now, let’s
be very clear, I’m not suggesting ANY real connection between the two
experiences, just poetically.

Regardless, 
there is no enslavement by label here.  They’re on Saddle Creek: the
label run by the founding emo-core god, Bright
Eyes
.  The fit couldn’t be more perfect. 
I’m waiting for the tour featuring both acts.  And what a
lineup that would be!  A chance to see these new world sadly
beatific gurus preaching their longing for lost love and the
emancipation of the soul?  Priceless.

Two
Gallants : Las Cruces Jail

Listen to more of
their music here

BART DAVENPORT

Oh the shows I’ve missed!  But hopefully no
more.  As the cool SF summer approaches I hope to once again
be sharing a pint with a friend and listening to traveling bands make
their stop in our town.  Here are some of the sounds that have
caught my ears lately:

Bart Davenport is no
stranger to the Bay Area.  He’s a local fav that stays true to
the melodic sensabilitites of Paul McCartney with dashes of Neil Simon
in his vocals and production.  He’s playing at the Knockout this Friday
with a few other locals.  Here’s what he says about
himself:

Bart Davenport is the former lead
singer of The Loved Ones, much-heralded San Franciscan garage/blues
band. Maroon Cocoon is his second release on the Antenna Farm label.
Davenport spent a nice chunk of Summer 2004 at his Berkeley house
recording Maroon Cocoon. Playing the majority of the instruments
himself and working on an eight-track, half-inch tape machine, this is
his most stripped-down, carefully honed album yet. Aside from a few
guest musicians, Bart’s friend and housemate Sam Flax Keener was the
only constant presence, contributing his considerable engineering
skills and a few riffs on various wind instruments. Starting with the
wooden modernity of Bossa Nova as a bases, Davenport blends in elements
of British folk, psych, 70s AM soft-rock and the occasional drum
machine. Throughout, his primary emphasis is squarely on the art of the
pop song.

Check out some of his
free work:

Bart
Davenport : Paper Friend

Bart Davenport :
Clara

Bart
Davenport : Beg Steal Borrow

Bart Davenport
: Euphoria

THINK ABOUT LIFE

I just can’t get this band out of my head. 
When they first contacted me I thought (because of their name) they
were some kind of undercover Christian rock band, but as of yet, I’m
not sure.  After seeing them live at the Hemlock some weeks
ago, I realized how special their sound and performance were to
me.  They are a three piece out of Canada that utilize
keyboard loops, drum machine, a drummer, guitarist and two frantic
singers.  Think
About Life
do project that Arcade Fire-esque sound, but much
less produced and even more gutteral.  What is it with
Montreal anyway?  Is it that French resistance nationalistic
passion that has found a home in the bands that have been coming out of
there?  It’s everything the American music scene needs to
jumpstart our own tired, corporate, imperialoist indieness: a good
stroke of Canadian socialist angst! 

Their
self-titled
debut
is full of gut stretching, vein popping love. 
They even feature a rap and a few ballads, but DO NOT FEAR, I’m not
talking Phil Collins!  I’ve preciously posted a but on these
guys, but here’s the info again incase you missed
it:

Think
About Life : Paul Cries

Think About Life on
Myspace

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