Jose Gonzalez, Live At Bimbo’s 365 (San Francisco, CA – 6/17/06)

Jose Gonzalez - Live At Bimbo's 365 Jose Gonzalez
Live At Bimbo's 365
San Francisco, CA – 6/17/06
By: Kerry M

Three years after the initial release in Europe, Mr. Gonzalez is touring the US in support of his recently re-released debut album, Veneer. The name Jose Gonzalez may not be well known around these parts, but thanks to a clever Sony Bravia television commercial that featured bouncy balls and a hill in San Francisco which made its way around the net last year, many folks are quite familiar with Gonzalez's version of the song Heartbeats and judging by the large crowd and the response to the opening riff, the San Franciso hipsters came to hear that song on Saturday night.

Response to the Gonzalez penned tracks was far less enthusiastic, though always polite. In fact, throughout the entire set the crowd was dead silent. No idle chatter, no clinking of glasses, the audience stood in rapt attention as the Swede with Argentinian genes sat alone in the spotlight working his way through Veneer standouts including Slow Moves, and Lovestain.

Amusingly, Jose made no mention of the fact that he had not penned “The Song They Came To Hear”, Heartbeats, which was actually written years ago by fellow Swedes The Knife. Pity. He also neglected to mention that his closer, Teardrop, another crowd favorite, was courtesy of Massive Attack. Maybe he figured the hipster crowd was well aware of the origins. Maybe. Though, he did feel obliged in pointing out his cover of Kylie Minogue's Hand on My Heart. Perhaps he thought the crowd might not be as familiar with her body of work. A fair assessment on these fair shores.

Indeed, for better or worse, Mr. Gonzalez has developed a bit of a reputation as an adept and creative cover artist. Unforunately, he did not choose to grace the crowd with his infamous version of Joy Division's classic Love Will Tear Us Apart. Perhaps 3 covers in a less than 10 song set seemed sufficient.

Mr. Gonzalez seems poised and content to ride the wave of popularity that has come his way since the downhill bouncing balls of the Bravia commercial and Mute is all too happy to help him bring his clever covers and gentle vocals to fans of the Quiet is The New Loud genre. Though, one has to wonder what will become of him when he reaches the bottom of the hill.

Be Your Own Pet, Summer Sensation (Ecstatic Peace!)

Be Your Own Pet - Summer Sensation Be Your Own Pet
Summer Sensation
Ecstatic Peace!
By: Eric Greenwood

Typically, when the UK press seizes upon a new band, it screeches all sorts of hyperbolic nonsense so loud and so often that by the time the latest "It" band hits our shores, deaf ears greet it together with a collective, anti-climactic yawn. The twist this time is that the new "It" band is from Nashville, Tennessee, but it's the English press that's going berserk.

On the gimmicky end of things, Be Your Own Pet is young- far too young for such incredible things to be happening. Vocalist Jemina Pearl just turned 18 last fall. She's a cuter Karen O with a voice that's so hyper-energetic it borders on annoying. In a whirlwind year, her band has been signed by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth to his Ecstatic Peace! label in the US, to XL recordings in England, named one of the top ten bands to watch by Rolling Stone, and ignited the aforementioned frenzy of buzz in the UK. So, yeah, this band has accomplished more than most bands do in an entire career without even releasing an album.

Ostensibly, this EP explains all the hype. To the cynic it will sound derivative: spunky garage rock with catchy, manic vocals; but, to the novice, it just might be your new favorite band. I can easily relate to both, as the derivations are conspicuous, but it's hard not be excited by a band that's this unconventionally brash.