Music

The Stone Foxes Set the Spotlight on San Francisco's Homelessness Epidemic in "Million Dollar Shoes" (premiere)

As part of the upcoming benefit album Blanket the Homeless, the Stone Foxes shine through the atmospheric, rhythmic rock of "Million Dollar Shoes", a song that sets the spotlight on the San Francisco Bay Area's homelessness crisis.

San Francisco is in the middle of a homelessness crisis. It's been reported that the city's homeless population has seen a double-digit increase over the last couple of years, citing a lack of affordable housing and continually growing inequity gap as root causes. Wanting to help, Marin-based producer and songwriter Scott Mickelson gathered a collective of revered names in current Bay Area music to record a benefit album. Entitled Blanket the Homeless, the album is named after the Bay Area organization that it will be benefiting. Co-founded by Ken Newman, the charity has donated thousands of care packages to the area's homeless population since being founded in October 2016.

Mickelson's all-star team of artists featured on the album includes Fantastic Negrito, Rainbow Girls, Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, King Dream, and many others. Its 15 songs are original works dedicated to supporting the San Francisco Bay Area's homeless population. This includes the Stone Foxes' "Million Dollar Shoes", which opens the album opens. The atmospheric track electrifies with its rhythmic rock instrumentation as lead singer Shannon Koehler drives attention towards a message that highlights the reality of the homelessness epidemic.

Koehler tells PopMatters, "I watch people sidestep folks who are homeless sleeping on the sidewalk downtown nearly every day. It's normal. It's heartbreaking and embarrassing for us as a society. It was that image, of people being walked on, that brought the lyrics out of my head. My brother Spence and I were playing for our family, just jamming after dinner, and he played some chords that made me think of those lyrics, and the song was almost entirely blended at that moment."

"Years and years later, I got a call from Scott asking us to be part of this project, and I knew this was something we'd want to be a part of. As a band, we've connected with many shelters and food drives to do our part to help folks in need over the years. For the last six or so years, we've asked fans to bring non-perishable healthy food to any of our shows in exchange for a free vinyl or a signed poster, and we'll take those food donations to the closest food bank."

"We're passionate about it because it's a crisis affecting our neighbors. So we said yes, and when Scott asked what song we'd like to do, I knew 'Million Dollar Shoes' was the right call. We had only done it acoustic in our parent's living room, so we had to adapt it to be electric, and Scott was instrumental in putting it all together. When we went to Scott's house we had never met Scott, we didn't know Scott, and I don't even think I had even talked on the phone with Scott. But he took us in, started ganging up on me with my big brother making jokes and whatnot, and it turned out to be a fabulous experience."

Director Spotlight: Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock helped to create the modern horror genre, the modern thriller, and the modern black comedy. He changed film, even as he was inventing new ways to approach it. Stay tuned through October as we present our collection of essays on the Master of Suspense.

Film

'Psycho': The Mother of All Horrors

Psycho stands out not only for being one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, it is also one of his most influential. It has been a template and source material for an almost endless succession of later horror films, making it appropriate to identify it as the mother of all horror films.

Francesc Quilis
Film

The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (By the Book)

With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.

Susan A. Phillips
Books

The 10 Best Indie Pop Albums of 2009

Indie pop in 2009 was about all young energy and autumnal melancholy, about the rush you feel when you first hear an exciting new band, and the bittersweet feeling you get when your favorite band calls it quits.

Music
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2018 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.