Favorite Albums of 2015

These were my most listened to albums that were released in 2015.

Listed in alphabetical order:

Autobahn – Dissemble (post-punk)
Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars (dream pop)
Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us (indie rock)
Crocodiles – Boys (shoegaze)
Deerhunter – Fading Frontier (indie rock, shoegaze)
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (indie rock)
Flyying Colours – ROYGBIV (shoegaze)
Foals – What Went Down (indie rock)
Jack Ladder – Playmates (indie rock)
Ought – Sun Coming Down (post-punk)
Swervedriver – I Wasn’t Born To Lose You (shoegaze, alternative rock)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love (indie rock)
Viet Cong – Viet Cong (indie rock, noise pop)

Spotify playlist: favorite indie rock albums of 2015

Continue reading Favorite Albums of 2015


San Francisco Bay Area live music venues – seating capacity

This was originally posted here about a decade ago and was due for an update as there have been many changes. If you’d like other venues added or corrections made then please comment.

Listed by venue size, smallest to largest.

The Hemlock
San Francisco
55 [info]
Hotel Utah
San Francisco
88 [info]
Thee Parkside
San Francisco
Red Devil Lounge
San Francisco
200 [info]
Brick and Mortar
San Francisco
250 [info]
Cafe du Nord
San Francisco
250 [info]
Swedish American Hall
San Francisco
300 [info]
Monarch Club
San Francisco
300 [info]
Elbo Room
San Francisco
300 [info]
Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco
350 [info]
Rickshaw Stop
San Francisco
400 [info]
New Parish
450 [info]
The Independent
San Francisco
500 [info]
The Chapel
San Francisco
500 [info]
San Francisco
500 [info]
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco
600 [info]
Bimbo’s 365
San Francisco
685 [info]
DNA Lounge
San Francisco
800 [info] small room capacity is 300
Herbst Theatre
San Francisco
892 [info]
Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco
962 [info]
The Mezzanine
San Francisco
1,000 [info]
Regency Grand Ballroom
San Francisco
1,050 [info]
The Fillmore
San Francisco
1,150 [info]
UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall
1,400 [info]
SF Design Concourse
San Francisco
1,600 [info]
Zellerbach Auditorium
2,089 [info]
The Warfield
San Francisco
2,250 [info]
The Fox Theater
2,800 [info]
The Paramount
3,040 [info]
Masonic Center
San Francisco
3,165 [info]
Berkeley Community Theater
3,500 [info]
Bill Graham Civic
San Francisco
7,000 [info]
Greek Theater
8,500 [info]
Concord Pavilion
12,500 [info]
HP Pavilion
San Jose
19,190 [info]
Oracle Arena
19,596 [info]
Shoreline Amphitheater
Mountain View
22,500 [info]
Oakland Coliseum
63,140 [info]
Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara
75,000 [info] 76,976 record





Spotify – Discover Weekly playlist and music discovery

There is a recent article written by Ben Popper on The Verge about Spotify’s new Discover Weekly feature. These are my thoughts.

I realize my listening tastes and habits are not only unique to me but fall into a very small percentage of listeners who almost obsessively seeks out up-and-coming artists and dives into the second level of albums. Especially considering I’m older than most listeners who are willing to give new artists a shot. I’m usually one of a few people older than 35 at shows with 100 people in attendance, for artists on their first tour, who often times eventually come back a couple years later and sells out 2000 seat venues.

I really like Discover Weekly and think someone should’ve done it a decade earlier. Perhaps most listeners wouldn’t use it, and that could be part of the reason for not implementing it, but at least give me the option to enable it. If it’s worth a damn then I’ll continue to use it. These music companies have plenty of data to make it successful and it’s a shame that most fail to capitalize on that data. (Apple Music anyone?)

After reading in this article how Spotify creates Discover Weekly it seems like common sense. Maybe they didn’t have the data or resources until recently to implement it successfully. Who knows? (EchoNest acquisition) That may sound pompous but it’s out of frustration with Apple, and other services, producing products that have been mostly treading water for years.

Another related thought. It irks me that many artists are in multiple bands yet there is no easy and automated way to keep track of it all. Take Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade for example. His projects are all quite good (Handsome Furs, Divine Fits, Operators) however I need to follow him elsewhere or continually spend time and energy researching his status to see what else he’s doing. There is no reason that these services can’t automatically tell me when a singer/songwriter/guitarist/artist I like has released something under another name. I’m sure the musicians themselves would welcome this and this info exists online. (Allmusic and Wiki)

Spotify can add a little ‘info’ window or overlay telling me this type of stuff.

“We suggested this song to you because the singer in this band is also in this other band which you’ve indicated you like”, etc.

Just one of many ideas I’d like to see them implement. See the end of my post about Apple Music when it was released:

There are still many things I’d like to see Apple Music do that absolutely no one is doing. There is a lot of room to grow music recommendations as a feature, make the experience educational and engaging. Also incorporate it more with social and geo location.

This is exactly the kind of stuff I’ve been looking for since probably 2005.


The Chameleons embark on US tour (Interpol, Editors, post-punk)

The Chameleons UK, an 80s alternative/post-punk band, who influenced modern bands like Interpol, The Editors, Oasis, and The Verve, are playing at San Francisco’s Elbo Room​ on Sept. 21. (Mark Burgess, the original singer, with a backing band.)

event info: The ChameleonsVox w/ Soft Kill & All Your Sisters​

(similar to The Psychedelic Furs, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Stone Roses, Peter Murphy, The Smiths, Kitchens of Distinction, The Church)

See them in your town: LA, Portland, Seattle, Columbus, etc:


Apple Music, this is the savior?

Today Apple released their new Apple Music application and streaming music service, which includes a redesigned Music app for iOS and iTunes for desktops. It also includes a new live radio called Beats 1.

Apple is supposed to be the epitome of design. Simultaneously making something simple and intuitive yet engaging at the same time. After playing with the new Apple Music app, I’m left doubting that I’ll make the switch to Apple Music from Spotify. Spotify isn’t all that special either but Apple hasn’t capitalized on their strengths to surpass Spotify’s weaknesses.

Continue reading Apple Music, this is the savior?


Favorite Indie Rock songs of 2014

Some favorites released in 2014 are:

The Apache Relay, Alvvays, Bear Hands, Bear’s Den, Brace/Choir, Broods, Cloud Nothings, Cousins, Doug Tuttle, Dum Dum Girls, Eagulls, Father John Misty, Future Islands, Like Herding Cats, Mac DeMarco, Milky Chance, Panama, The Rentals, Skaters, Still Parade, Syd Arthur, Temples, Total Control, The Twilight Sad, The War On Drugs, Woods, Yellow Ostrich

See the playlist for the complete list.


iPhone 6 camera lens flare

The iPhone 5 had issues with lens flare. Many photos that had a bright sun in it managed to almost always blow the sun out into a purple mess. Apple’s response? Move the camera.

Now that the iPhone 6 is out I was curious how it handled similar shooting situations. Tonight I went for a run at Crissy Field towards the Golden Gate Bridge and took some photos when I reached the Warming Hut pier.

Lens flare is better but it’s still there and prominent enough that you may have to alter your shooting angle or do some post processing to remove it. There was always a small green dot in the frame that moved around depending on where the sun was. (See the videos below)

I took a photo with 3 different photo apps to confirm that it was something inherent with the camera and not something that the software was doing.

I used Apple’s default camera app ‘Camera’, Camera+, and Manual (Custom exposure camera). Here are the results:

Apple ‘Camera’ app:
iPhone 6 - Camera app

Apple ‘Camera’ app (HDR):
iPhone 6 - Camera app HDR

Manual (Custom exposure camera) app:
iPhone 6 - Manual app

Camera+ app:
iPhone 6 - Camera+ app

I also shot a short video and you can follow the green dot as the sun moves across the frame.

I’m not surprised that the phone does this and I think it mostly handles bright light well for such a small camera but it’s something to keep in mind.