Win Tickets to Phono del Sol!

Panoramic view of Phono del Sol, July 2014.
Panoramic view of Phono del Sol, July 2014.

Phono del Sol is a one-day music festival staged in Potrero del Sol Park by John Vanderslice’s magnificent Tiny Telephone recording studio in conjunction with Do The Bay and The Bay Bridged. It is kid friendly, music focused, civilized and affordable with a great selection of local food and beverages. Much to my chagrin, I’ll be missing my favorite California music festival this year because it’s wedding season and two more beautiful humans in our lives are getting hitched on the SAME DAY, July 11th.

My loss, however, is your gain. Due to the double-booking, Nostos Algos is giving away two regular admission tickets to Phono del Sol (a $60 value). To win these tickets, you need to:

  1. Become a subscriber to Nostos Algos by clicking the “Follow” button, and tell your friends how awesome we are somewhere on Internet (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc)
  2. Send an email to (subject header “Phono del Sol Giveaway”) that includes your full name, where you promoted us, and a short explanation for why you want the tickets. Extra credit awarded if you include a photo from the last local concert you attended.

All entries must be received by midnight on July 3rd, 2015, and the winner will be notified of their remarkable good fortune on America’s birthday, July 4th, 2015. Below you’ll find a selection of my favorite bands, and you can peruse other offerings on the festival’s website.

Sonny & The Sunsets: Sonny Smith has become is a prolific staple of the local music scene in San Francisco. While I’ve seen him perform live many times over the years, I never know what the next show will hold. He is a spontaneous, musically brilliant goofball playing infections 1960s-inspired garage rock that seemingly rolls ashore with the surf at Ocean Beach.

Everyone Is Dirty: This Oakland band is on the verge of many things, most imminently of breaking out from indie obscurity into the limelight. Just like their city, these East Bayers blend raw kickass with polished perspective to deliver a uniquely California sound. So much energy, so great live–they’ll provide a wonderful compliment to the skateboarders shredding next to the main stage.

Tiaras: The debut album from Tiaras has just been released by Mt.St.Mnt (pronounced Mount Saint Mountain), a colony of creators that publish printed and audio art in limited batches. With the indie music scene in San Francisco endangered by real estate scarcity and superficial patrons, this band and this project give us hope for what’s artistically in store for the Bay Area.

Scary Little Friends: Another local band that offers a beautiful 60s-80s-90s mashup of sound imubed with a Jeff Buckley vulnerability that is hard to authentically master. Each song on their album From the Beginning brings such a different vibe that it was impossible to pick just one feature, so you’ll find the first two tracks available for a listen below. So bummed to be missing them.

Tanlines: Never fail, listening to this synth-pop duo makes me want to watch Empire Records. Perhaps its the way the album’s 1980s evocation sparks 1990s nostalgia in my listening heart. Whatever the reason, the band’s newest album Highlights is polished and pleasant from first to last. Also, they built a website that mimics Netflix in a subtle commentary on consumer culture. Brilliant through and through.


A “Crooked River” to The Teddy Bears picnic

In her label biography, Antenna Farm Records describes the music of Dana Falconberry as “stripped-down songs inspired by dreams, memories, and landscapes.” I cannot improve on this except to say I agree. I agree because the imagery which sprang to mind while listening to the track “Crooked River” off Falconberry’s album, Leelanau, is exclusively sourced from a 1989 film I was obsessed with as a child called The Teddy Bears Picnic. This comparison is not literal, the music not similar, but the sense of wonder and magic is present in both song and cartoon.

This bit of nostalgia is (OF COURSE) available for perusal on the YouTubes. What a delightful trip down memory lane courtesy of Falconberry and the Internet.

Throwback Thursday: Nirvana and Patti Smith Smell Teen Spirit

Patti Smith is undeniably cool. In 1980, she straddled the dead space that followed the end of rock and roll (as it was known to that point) but preceded the stranglehold of punk with her seminal album Horses. Nirvana is undeniably cool. After the release of their album Nevermind in 1991, the year that would be 1992 had no hope of swimming with the current and, instead, swam upstream into Grunge. When both artists sing the same song you get two sides of a very hip coin. To piggy-back on last week’s Courtney Love adventure, this week’s Throwback Thursday  gives you the oft-imitated video for Nevermind‘s first single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” in comparison with a Patti Smith video of her “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cover.

Dum Dum Girls, “Coming Down”

The Dum Dum Girls are one of my favorite bands. Self-possessed, bad-ass chicks who play New York-tough tunes with a Los Angeles filter–that sort of hazy smog overlay that softens the punk edges into a 60s infused journey through 1980s femininity; throwback music that is purely of the moment. Sure, they sing about bedroom eyes and heartbreak–typical fare, but Dee Dee Penny’s strength as a singer and incredibly intimidating I-Want-to-Be-Her stage presence stabilizes the music and pushes it forward.

These songs may have been done before, but not like this. Well, maybe they have been done like this but the Dum Dum Girls are awesome, and the music is relatable precisely because it doesn’t try to be obscure. It synthesizes the childhood of an 80s baby into sound, which ends up being supremely cool. This is how they attract Academy of Art kids and the newbies at San Francisco State simultaneously.

If I’m being honest, I sing my heart out to “Coming Down” every time–all the while imagining myself to be an actor at the end of a John Hughes movie. Every time. It’s just that kind of music.

Eat your heart out, Molly Ringwald.