Local Wire

John Vanderslice

Here are a few interesting facts about San Francisco's John Vanderslice:

1. He eats a vegetarian burrito every single day; he's been doing so for more than eight years.

2. He once wrote a song called "Bill Gates Must Die," then punk'd numerous national media outlets by crafting an amusing hoax claiming Microsoft was out to destroy him.

3. He owns and operates the renowned Tiny Telephone recording studio -- an all-analog joint where bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Mountain Goats, and Spoon love to make albums.

4. He holds a degree in economics from the University of Maryland.

But all you really need to know is that the 38-year-old songwriter/producer has put out five fantastic albums since 2000, and his new Pixel Revolt is his best one to date. It's melodic indie pop tricked out with myriad sonic goodies, and spotlights Vanderslice's trademark vivid fictional narratives: a Western journalist in Iraq who solicits a prostitute; a homicide detective who suspects one of his colleagues is a serial killer; a bunny rabbit that goes missing in Los Angeles. It also contains his most nakedly autobiographical songs yet, poignantly addressing a recent bout with debilitating depression. No onstage mope fests, however -- Vanderslice and his four-piece band are an upbeat, energetic bunch that more than do justice to his fine, compelling material.

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Michael Alan Goldberg