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Mark Mulcahy is a legend – even if you aren’t familiar with his 80s/90s indie band Miracle Legion or his solo work, you probably know who he is. Can’t put your finger on it? Close your eyes and channel the most whimsical Nickelodeon show…now think of the theme song…it start’s like this: “Hey smilin’ strange…” Yes, Mulcahy was the force behind Pete & Pete’s frantic, catchy, and memorable opener “Hey Sandy.” And even if you don’t know who he is, people like Thom Yorke, Frank Black, and Juliana Hatfield all do. Each artist honored him with a cover of Mulcahy classic on the 2009 tribute album Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy (Shout Factory).
Mulcahy has seen his fair share of personal ups and downs, but his art form has stayed consistent: beautiful yet odd pop (perhaps this is why he was perfect as the Polaris front man for the beautiful yet odd Pete & Pete). Mulcahy’s musical output slowed down to concentrate on his family man duties after his wife’s death in 2008, but has joined in a few Pete & Pete reunions to play some of the amazing tunes from the show such as “Summerbaby” (aka Little Pete’s favorite song), “Waiting For October,” and “Saturnine.”Last year saw the release of Mulcahy’s first album in eight years, Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You, released on Mulcahy’s Mezzotint label. The album has a certain sadness, as you might expect from the first release after Mulcahy’s loss, but mixed with an intangible lightness that you can’t quite put your finger on–maybe it is part of your childhood responding to THAT VOICE. Mulcahy hasn’t lost it. Quite the opposite, age hasn’t dulled one bit of his indie rock cred or songwriting ability. Live, you’ll recognize all the feelings that Miracle Legion and Polaris once brought, wrapped up in the now older and wiser Mark J. Mulcahy. LAUREN ROSENTHAL
MARK EITZELOne of the most celebrated and idiosyncratic American songwriters of his generation, Mark Eitzel is best known as the leader of the iconic indie rock band American Music Club, who spun beautifully chaotic webs of guitar from Eitzel’s gloomy but compassionate studies of lost souls and alcohol; since striking out on his own, Eitzel has embraced a number of different musical approaches, while his witty but downcast lyrical style has remained constant.â€¨â€¨—adapted from AllMusic.com, written by Mark Deming
VIKESH KAPOORFollowing in the footsteps of Phil Ochs and Pete Seeger, Vikesh Kapoor is on the road to folk fame. The word fame might directly conflict with folk ideals but this young man is definitely bound to build an appreciative audience that good songwriters deserve. In a world where far too many people are too busy to notice their souls being replaced by machines, Kapoor is here to tell us to stop and listen. Kapoor’s dreamy, light, and modern version of the working man’s blues resonates strongly in places like Noise Pop’s home of San Francisco–where regular workers are constantly on guard against the rising tide of the tech boom. LAUREN ROSENTHAUL
The youngest of three brothers and the son of two musicians, Graham Patzner didn't have much choice. Starting on piano at age five and then moving on to violin, trumpet and guitar, the Whiskerman singer and front-man has cultivated a unique sound that is hard to pinpoint. His voice ranges from smoky to soaring, while his songs span a wide array of moods and genres, yet always remain soulful. Behind him is a tight band that includes brother Lewis Patzner (Judgement Day, Devotionals) on cello, Will Lawrence on bass, Nick Cobbett on drums, and Charles Lloyd (Cash Pony) on guitar and sitar. Collectively they form Whiskerman, and they are quickly becoming a force in the San Francisco Bay Area.