I’ve lived in San Francisco for a bit under a year now, but I still haven’t shaken the feeling of just having shown up in town, suitcase in hand. My time here has slowly dripped like coffee, although this town has taught me that coffee is more about the pour-over these days. Following an exhausting exit from LA, life seems to be taking a deep and well deserved breath. With this inhalation I’ve been absorbing as much as I can of my new locale, trying to get a handle on just where, exactly, I have ended up. There’s been a lot of exploring of spots both expected and obscure, with Cliff House and Sutro Baths being the former for long-time residents, but the latter for a newbie like me.
The San Francisco I’m most familiar with is a dense city, but to the west lies the more open San Francisco with a different character. The area is sort of the northwest most corner of SF, Ocean Beach being the finish line of Golden Gate Park’s west side.
Climbing up the hill to Cliff House, housing a few restaurants, excellent views, and one giant camera.
From above the former baths become visible, resembling some forgotten ruins, except the ruins were some fancy pools and they were around as late at the 1960s, lost to both fire and demolition.
A pooled gateway to the ocean, the rocky cliffs and bathhouse foundation combine into a precarious but beautiful beachside exploration area. Surfers litter the area, with the rocks certainly adding to both the thrill and the danger.
The contrast of the jagged rocks, the open sea, and fallen opulence. In some ways this aptly describes the San Francisco I’m getting to know, a city of undeniable beauty, but a city worried about what it might become.
I went to the first week of Coachella this year, but the great beast April has kept me from sharing much of that. I didn’t really go with photography in mind, but I did take some shots while I was there. I’ll probably start trickling/spamming those out here for the foreseeable future.
Tame Impala’s Lonerism is what I hope is another completely obvious choice. Like their previous efforts, Lonerism is a somewhat psychadelic rock/pop affair, but that’s oversimplifying to the point of misleading. The best description of this sound came from Pitchfork of all places, stating it sounds “like someone trapped John Lennon’s vocal take from “A Day in the Life” in a jar and taught it to sing new songs”. Considering that ‘A Day in the Life’ is certafiably one of the most beautiful things on this planet, it’s high praise. The album’s title is a big clue as to themes Kevin Parker explores on this album, themes that definitely speak to where my life has been recently. This hasn’t just been an album to me: it has been a soundtrack.
I could have chosen almost any song of this album to show it off, but this track particularly stands out as a microcosm of what Lonerism has to offer: stunningly beautiful resignation.
Throwing up Grizzly Bear as a jam is so obvious, but it still needs to be done. This band is easily my favorite to pop up in the last decade, and their new album shows their reign is in no danger of ending. Pick any song off this album and it will impress: this one in particular showcases that G-Bear hibernate-then-pounce style that they do so well.
I often laugh when I hear a song that is just so damn good for the first time, a laugh of near-disbelief. This album made me laugh a lot. I can’t wait to seem them at the Greek on October 10th.