August Pop Music Picks | Culture


Hazel English at the Great American Music Hall

Student exchange programs – do these city-changing cultural trips really work? Are they even a thing anymore? The ethereal Melbourne artist known as Hazel English swears by them and admits she owes her entire career to one that happened in 2013, when she temporarily left Australia to study at San Francis.

Soon after, the singer (born Eleisha Caripis) had moved to Oakland, met Jackson “Day Wave” Phillips at a bookstore where she worked, and created the collaborative dream-pop persona of her pseudonym, beginning with their first co-writing. aptly, “Never go home.”

Following this spark, they began releasing EPS, leading to his feature film “Wake UP!” Los Angeles. And so far this self-sufficient Sheila, now 31, has no pending plans to return home after nearly a decade abroad, knock on wood. Find her in The City on August 18.


hazelnut english

Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., SF

When: 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 18

Tickets: $15


Florist at the bottom of the hill

When it comes to culture shock relocation, Brooklynite Emily Sprague knows a thing or two. In 2017, after the death of her mother, this singer from the inactive folk-pop combo Florist chose to deal with her grief in a drastic way – by moving, alone, across the country to Los Angeles, something that she would never have had the courage to do so while her parents were alive.

Leaving his father behind was difficult, she says. But she had a specific goal in mind at the end of the trip. “I really wanted to start surfing, so it was a big sign that I set my sights on. I just had a…a feeling about it,” she adds. “I don’t know how. describe it any other way. And I’ve always made my decisions that way – I decide I’m going to do something, and I do it.

Once Sprague got into the rhythms of the ocean, cathartic songs flowed in, enough to figure out 2019’s “Emily Alone,” essentially a solo album but released as Florist’s third set. Feeling both confident and at peace (therapy also helped, she admits), the sweet 4AD singer returned to the Catskills to be near her dad. And in June 2019, she regrouped with her bandmates in a rented living/working space in the Hudson Valley to record the band’s self-titled new set, which comes in at a generous 19 tracks. In the meantime, Beyonce had discovered them and used an instrumental part from their old “Thank You” cut in her 2019 Netflix documentary “Homecoming.”

Now, what does this ex-hodad do when she’s thirsty for surfing? “I don’t know – I’m trying to figure this out,” she says. “But I live seven minutes from a lake and I have a lake pass, so lately I’ve been taking my surfboard up there and paddling in the lake.” Maybe it’s not cawabunga crazy, she adds. “But for now, it’s the best thing to do.”



Where: Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF

When: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, August 11

Tickets: $15 in advance, $18 at the door


Psychedelic furs at The Masonic

Everything that happened in his career was a gift of good fortune, reflects Richard Butler, at 66. This includes the charismatic, sandpaper-singing voice he first showcased on the Steve Lillywhite-produced debut of his band The Psychedelic Furs, as well as over four decades of the band’s utterly unique sound.

“I think it was the result of having two guitarists and a saxophonist – it created an unholy racket,” he said in retrospect. But the same serendipity also applies to his works, oil portraits that look like distorted human faces through a child’s kaleidoscope.

These images have occupied his free time so much, in fact, that it took until 2020 for the Furs to finally release their new masterpiece “Made of Rain,” the first in 29 years. And now, with a bit of a delay, Butler and company have finally arrived in town for a Masonic Auditorium support tour this month. And if you thought the signature “Pretty in Pink” was sonically surreal, get ready for the eerie but ethereal new material – this band just keeps getting better.

And as a concert bonus? Punk X Legends just opened.


Psychedelic furs, X

Where: The Masonic, 1111 California St., SF

When: 8 p.m. August 11

Tickets: $20-$65


Sonny and the Sunsets and Tav Falco at the Great Northern

If budget is a factor in your concert ticket purchases, a great way to save money to close out August could be a great headlining bill with San Francisco’s Sonny Smith ( ahead of his excellent band Sonny and the Sunsets) and volatile rockabilly R&B. brandon Tav Falco, anchoring his classic Panther Burns combo.

When we last spoke to the foppish Falco, the Philadelphian had moved, first to Paris and then to Vienna. But during the pandemic, he moved to an even more exotic location: Bangkok, Thailand, where he talked about the new EP “Club Car Zodiac”. And all that entertainment can be yours for as little as five dollars. It’s not a bad investment for an unforgettable evening.


Sonny and the Sunsets, Panther Burns by Tav Falco

Where: The Great Northern, 119 Utah St., SF

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, August 25

Tickets: $5


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