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The Stones Foxes

BY ELI COYOTE MANDEL

WRITER FOR SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Shannon and Spence Koehler are men of The West. Californians through and through, the brothers know that the Golden State encompasses two halves; abundance and pain. Fruit and fire. Their latest sound flaunts that dichotomy. It’s what they describe as “If Ennio Morricone and T. Rex had a baby.” To that, I say, yep. You can’t help but imagine them jamming out in spandex and spurs.

Born out of both global and personal hardships, “On The Other Side” is an album of the heart. As the world was forced to look inward, so were the Foxes. Quite literally for Shannon, who underwent a painful open heart surgery (his second open heart surgery and fourteenth heart surgery in total). But, out of this pain came a sweeping soundscape that feels like both new territory and a return to roots.

The production of this album was a journey in itself: written by Shannon and Spence, rehearsed in their parents’ basement, recorded in studios and living rooms throughout The Bay, and mastered in Nashville. But through heartaches, hardships and harbingers of doom, the connecting force has always been love; brotherly love, romantic love and, of course, the unbridled love of rock music. They exude this love during their unmissable live shows and when Shannon takes the band out on tour, the world is better for it.

With contributions from their usual co-conspirators (you might even catch Spence on stage) and a bevy of new voices, the band continues its journey into the great void of the future. A little older and a little wiser, they’re pioneers searching for a new world. But along the way, the path is filled with fruit and fire.

Go By Ocean

Go By Ocean is the moniker of San Francisco singer/songwriter/producer Ryan McCaffrey.

On ‘Mend the Morning Light’, McCaffrey’s dreamy mixture of indie pop, storytelling lyrics, and detailed production work is at it’s most potent. Having spent nearly 6 months shaping the EP down to the essentials, Mend the Morning Light is the most concise and lucid of the four Go By Ocean releases. Recorded mostly in his Novato studio, McCaffrey’s haunting melodies soar over ethereal guitar hooks and synthesizers, all held together by gritty bass with electronic and organic drums that never rely on a cliched beat.

While there are echoes of bands like Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene in the attitude and ambitious orchestration of the songs, the sound here is undeniably McCaffrey’s own. And while this EP is a lovely example of the production styles of McCaffrey and Kevin Friedrichsen (bay area producer/mixer/engineer), it’s the songwriting itself that shines the brightest here. Mend the Morning Light is an eclectic, energetic yet undeniably melancholy offering full of songs about isolation, yearning for better days ahead and of course, love. Ultimately it’s the next chapter of a songwriter’s life transformed into melodies that are hard to forget.

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