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Friday October 25 2024
  8:00PM doors -- music at 8:30PM
 •••  ALL AGES
$20 in advance / $25 at the door
The Softies
 minimalist pop
Anna Hillburg
Stephen Steinbrink
 folk pop

The Softies
-from Portland, OR
-The Softies, comprised of Rose Melberg and Jen Sbragia, embody timeless themes of friendship and self-discovery through their minimalist pop soundworld. Since their formation in 1994, they've created uncluttered and fearlessly vulnerable music, contrasting with prevailing trends. The Bed I Made, The Softies’ first new studio album in 24 years, showcases growth while reflecting on life's complexities with lyrics drawn from real experiences. Despite individual pursuits and personal losses, Melberg and Sbragia reunite, channeling grief and rejuvenation into an album that captures the essence of their enduring friendship and offers hope and renewal amid life's challenges. Through their perfectly-paired harmonies and telepathic playing, they navigate the present, past, and future, offering a poignant continuation of their musical legacy, resonating like time spent with an old friend who knows you best.

Anna Hillburg
-from San Francisco, CA
-Tired Girls, the third full-length studio album by Bay Area singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Anna Hillburg, comes out Friday, October 13, 2023, on Speakeasy Studios SF. Co-produced and recorded with Jason Quever of the Papercuts, the pair created an album for lovers of finely crafted and supremely catchy chamber pop.

As always Hillburg’s voice takes center stage, but for Tired Girls she made a conscious choice to dig deeper into her trumpet skills and make more elaborate horn arrangements than her previous records. Lyrically, Hillburg dives into what it is to be a contemporary woman, and how one perseveres, finds inspiration, creates, loves, and lives.

Recorded throughout 2022 at Quever’s studio, the two built dreamy soundscapes with long-time collaborators Logan Kroeber on drums (The Dodos), Josh Miller on bass (Chime School, Extra Classic), and Yea Ming Chen on keys.

In the title track “Tired Girls,” Hillburg gives air to “being fed up with everything women have to deal with. Instead of being angry and fighting for ‘the cause,’ I had more of a playing possum approach where I felt exhausted. Women are sold that you need to check all the boxes: love, looks, a successful career, and a family to be fulfilled. What if your life doesn’t turn out that way? What does life look like then? Are you still allowed to love yourself?” Ultimately, she delivers the meditation of “tuning out what everyone is telling you to do and investing in your own self-worth.”

In the first single “Holdin’ On” listeners find Hillburg playing the dual roles of songbird and trumpeter against layered piano arpeggios that invoke uptempo Satie, with a Shangri-La’s dreaminess. “Holdin’ On is nothing more than me trying to create a feeling of hope and beauty during a difficult time of fear and loss for myself and everyone around me”, says Hillburg.

“Girl Girl Girl” is a western-baroque-pop groover, harkening to the Kink’s Village Green Preservation Society, with lyrics delicately pointing out generational differences between women and all the different lives “girls” can lead. The verse “I’ve been a lot of places and I’ve been a lot of girls” speaks to the heart of the record, looking back and looking forward to the wide-ranging experience of women. Hillburg ponders, “All of the women who have lived before me including all of the women in my family, and the lives they led with fewer freedoms, and how it led to mine filled with opportunities they didn’t have. They were on the frontier of these freedoms, so it only felt right to give it a Western feel.”

The entire record has a real “Ladies, trust your gut” feeling, unsurprisingly, as Hillburg says she tends to write songs about “the reality of womanhood and feminism but ya know, why not make that a little ‘dancey’?” As a collection “Tired Girls” marks her arrival as an artist who has hit their stride. Each track shows her talent and progression as a songwriter and performer.

As a multi-instrumentalist and classically trained trumpet player, Hillburg is a sought-after session and live musician in the vibrant Bay Area music scene, performing regularly with Shannon and The Clams, The Dodos, The Moore Brothers, The Once and Future Band, Will Sprott, Dream Date, Greg Ashley, Shannon Shaw and her All-Star Buddy Band, and more.

Stephen Steinbrink
-from Phoenix, AZ
-Stephen Steinbrink is self-taught musician, songwriter, and artist. Growing up in the the absurd air conditioned climate of Phoenix, AZ, taught himself how to write melodies by reverse engineering pop songs taped off the radio and developed a unique and intricate fingerpicking style on guitar in alternate tunings. Immersing himself in the west coast DIY community in the mid-2000s, Steinbrink left on his first tour at the age of 16 and continued performing internationally for a decade, living an improvised and experimental existence, being nowhere all the time and recording incessantly. He has released 9 critically acclaimed albums of pop music in North America, Europe, and Japan. As a session player and producer, he has collaborated with Boy Scouts, Dear Nora, AJJ, Girlpool, Lake, and Ever Ending Kicks.