Sunday, November 25, 2012

tofu and whiskey holiday guide for san francisco bay guardian

Gabba gabba buy 

What to buy your headphone-obsessed loved one? Our picks, from boxed sets to lovely local scores

TOFU AND WHISKEY'S HOLIDAY GUIDE Before I expound on anything, I've got to spit this out: buy local. If you're going to buy something; in particular, if you're going to buy actual vinyl records or CDs or books or musical equipment, get them from an independent store in the Bay Area.

Support Aquarius, Amoeba Music, Black Pancake Records, GROOVES, 1-2-3-4 GO!, Recycled Records, Rooky Ricardo's, Rasputin's, Streetlight, and the smaller mom-and-significant-other type stores; otherwise, the brick and mortars will slowly die and we'll be stuck rifling only through the virtual library, which will inevitably lead to a host of other problems (loneliness, fatigue, hive mindedness) [...]

goldies 2012: waters for san francisco bay guardian


Salty sea-referencing lyrics; grungy, fuzzed out guitar-work; and seriously tripped-out music videos

GOLDIES "It's been a great year for me," says Van Pierszalowski, slightly out of breath after pushing his bicycle up a seriously steep hill. "It's been the first year that I've lived anywhere in a long time" [...]

goldies 2012: the mallard for san francisco bay guardian

GOLDIES 2012: The Mallard 

The band makes "inside-out-echo-laser-garage-psych-rock" 

GOLDIES You always hear of those artists that simply must keep creating, regardless of location, monetary resources, health, or free time. It's the urge, the craving, something deep in the pit of their being. Idle hands and all that. I get the feeling this is just how it is for Greer McGettrick, the Mallard's lead vocalist-guitarist. There's a fire in her belly, and it burns from a sonic tinder [...]

kitty pryde Q&A for san francisco bay guardian (web)

Kitty Pryde on Riff Raff, candy, and going viral

What exactly does it mean to be a pop star these days? Does it mean you have masses of eager (young) fans, breathless feature articles, and a healthy growing buzz on so-called tastemaker sites? Can you do it without a major label, without a proper album, without really touring? Seems like the answer for now is...maybe. It's a world we're all just beginning to crack open. One thing I know for sure, Florida teen rapper Kitty Pryde wouldn't have blown up quite like this before the web [...]

pink thunder cover story for san francisco bay guardian

Hi-fidelity weather

MUSIC Shellacked gummy worms, cherubic Ebay'd figurines, one of those ships in a glass bottle usually reserved for nautical-themed offices, a red bike reflector, a holarctic blue copper butterfly, a vintage stenograph. The physical items sit on separate pedestals as part of the release for Michael Zapruder's newest album, Pink Thunder [...]

tofu and whiskey: zammuto for san francisco bay guardian

Lightning strikes twice

Catching up with Zammuto, plus a new Future Twin track and Woodkid's next concert

TOFU AND WHISKEY If experimental artist Nick Zammuto was pulling from a storied sample library after all those years with beloved former band the Books, he's now building from scratch with his new band, Zammuto. The first Zammuto record sprang from a more angsty place, a fear of the unknown after the breakup of the Books. Skyping from a McDonald's in Springfield, Mass., a humble Zammuto admits to fears about "lightning striking twice," regarding his musical evolution [...]

tofu and whiskey: ssion, misfits cover bands for san francisco bay guardian

Candy apples and razor blades

TOFU AND WHISKEY While I don't miss living in Long Beach, Calif. too much (save for some particular pals and the endless flat biking roads), I do sorely yearn for the yearly costumed Halloween performance — at steak restaurant/dive bar the Prospector — of the Shitfits, a Misfits cover band made up of local musicians. Luckily, in San Francisco, there are numerous bands-costumed-as-other-bands shows in late October, including at least one Misfits tribute: Astrozombies, a full-time tribute act, which will do the horror-punk legends right at Hemlock Tavern [...]

Sunday, October 21, 2012

tofu and whiskey: savanna jazz, hardly strictly bluegrass for san francisco bay guardian

Raise your skinny fists 

Savanna Jazz struggles to keep its building, Clarion Alley Block Party is coming, Dirty Three and Saint Vitus hit SF, Godspeed releases its first album in a decade

TOFU AND WHISKEY Sitting on a pilled blanket out in Golden Gate Park, watching Australia's folk-noise instrumental outfit Dirty Three tear shit up on violin, petting my SPCA-adopted chug and sipping my homemade beer, I thought, "this is magic." And then, "I'm pretty drunk." And finally, out loud, "I'm a cliché right now."

No mind. This is San Francisco. We all fall prey to a rainbow of snarky categories. And this was the breezy, free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Gooey, grey-streaked hippies were dancing all around me. So I'm a cliché and late feminist punk icon Poly Styrene's magnificent screeching vocals ring through my ears every time the thought returns: "I'm a cliché/I'm a cliche," (off Germ-Free Adolescents).
Just a few ticks after the 1977 punk era that spawned Styrene, an LA doom metal band called Saint Vitus arose in '78. Last Tuesday, a configuration of that heavy, Black Sabbath-loving, long-haired freak band played the Independent, much to my delight [...]

tofu and whiskey: george chen and comedian-musicians for san francisco bay guardian

Cynic cave of actualized dreams

Underground musician-comedian George Chen, Club Chuckles, stand-up and burritos, Treasure Island Music Fest, Sic Alps, more music

TOFU AND WHISKEY Kyle Statham, from the Oakland band Fuck, once gave Hemlock booker Anthony Bedard some laconic advice: "Music is easy, comedy is hard." What's interesting to me, is the comedian who brings a guitar to the stage, or the seasoned noise composer who tries his hand at stand-up; it has a boot-strapped vaudevillian, winking variety show appeal. And are you aware that cheeky, string-bean comedian Kerri Kenney-Silver, of The State andReno 911, was once in a riot grrrl band called Cake Like? But I digress [...]

tofu and whiskey: preservation hall west at the chapel for san francisco bay guardian

Reborn on the bayou

The birth of Preservation Hall West, the death of Warren Hellman, the life of Toys That Kill, more music

Tofu and Whiskey There are loud grinding noises and those cinematic electric sparks shooting from a machine below a church pew-like balcony. It's musky and filled with dark bordello wood. The arched main room, the one you see when you walk in the front door of 777 Valencia Street and turn a quick corner, is outlined in bright, bloody red, and there's a stage.

Despite this transitional state a few weeks back, this stage at brand new Mission venue, Preservation Hall West at the Chapel — named after the jazzy New Orleans venue that inspired it — will hold star-powered spillover from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass ( this week, beginning Thu/4; the fest itself is Fri/5 through Sun/7. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans will perform each night of the long weekend with double-dipping special guests including Elvis Costello, Robert Earl Keen, Justin Townes Earl, and Steve Earle. Maybe this means we'll see a bespectacled Costello riding a bicycle from Golden Gate Park to the Mission, with a guitar slung on his back? One can dream [...]

chickfactor for san francisco bay guardian

Pop love Celebrating its 20th anniversary, chickfactor throws parties for music nerds

There was a time, not so long ago, when the fanzine was a glittering portal. It was the best avenue for learning about new, underground, innovative music across the country, before the all-powerful grip of the Internet forced us to idly click our way through back catalogs. The ink and paper projects were passed to friends in the same manner one traded handmade mixtapes. [...]

Dream of the '90s

Antwon and Pictureplane flip inspiration from another decade 

By now, Antwon's mug has probably nestled somewhere in your brain. It's hard to take your eyes off him in the Brandon Tauszik-directed video for Antwon's song "Helicopter," slowly spitting rhymes over a screaming alarm of a beat, wandering Oakland, drinking on porches, pouring hot sauce on breakfast in between scenes from the classic film, Bullit (1968). Or as one media outlet breathlessly noted, "Malt liquor, Steve McQueen, and Sriracha!" [...]

brokeass gourmet for san francisco bay guardian

Rich appetites
The BrokeAss Gourmet teaches life skills with a side of peanut sauce

CHEAPER EATS "By the way, I have the best peanut sauce recipe ever. I would say it's one of the top three things about me, my peanut sauce recipe." Author-blogger-chef Gabi Moskowitz mentions over brunch at the Dolores Park Cafe in her Mission neighborhood [...]

eat to the beat cover story for san francisco bay guardian

Eat to the beat 

Gourmet offerings, high-end snacks, and pop-up chefs come to rock festivals and music venues. Should you give a fork?

EAT BEAT Good food was never the part of the concert plan. In high school, the punks and shredders ate giant Pixy Stix, filled to the plastic brim with unnaturally purple sugar dust — purchased from the all-ages venue snack counter — followed by late night Del Taco red burritos slathered in Del Scorcho and stuffed with crinkle fries. Flash forward a decade or so, and the vegan Malaysian nachos with spicy peanut sauce and pickled veggies from Azalina's were all I could talk about after Outside Lands, save for the requisite "oh my god" Metallica utterance.
I wasn't the only one. From every corner of that packed festival, people — and of course, bloggers — were raving about The Whole Beast (featuring pop-ups from the Michael Mina Group) tucked away by Choco Lands, Andalu's fried mac and cheese, and Del Popolo's massive, industrial-looking rustic pizza truck.
While the higher-end meal options have now been going strong at Outside Lands for a few years — and, granted, food has long been a part of the festival equation — the gourmet pop-up thing, and locally-sourced, quality food offerings are on the menu more and more in brick-and-mortar music venues in San Francisco. Last week, the Great American Music Hall hosted an event dubbed the Great American Pop-Up. Seems it's more open to experimentation in the slower summer months [...]

fresh and onlys for san francisco bay guardian

Fools in love

FALL ARTS "You're at the right place," Tim Cohen mutters, holding a large laundry sack swaddled like a burrito to his chest as he walks up to the tri-level white Victorian on McAllister Street in San Francisco's Western Addition. A prolific singer-songwriter with morose pop vocals and a gruff exterior, Cohen is preparing to once again tour with his band, the Fresh and Onlys. And Cohen is flying out to the East Coast earlier than the others so he can play a few shows in his other incarnation, Magic Trick [...]

Sunday, September 16, 2012

outside lands 2012 review for san francisco bay guardian

The good, the bad, and the delicious at Outside Lands

Recovered yet? We're almost there. It was a frenzied, foggy, dusty and memorable weekend at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park. There were sonic high points that brought us to tears, and bathroom lines that did the same. Here are our favorite moments, a photo slideshow of awesome performances -- and the niggling things that got under our skin [...]

outside lands 2012 for the san francisco bay guardian

Last year, we thought it couldn't get better, and then it upped the ante. Outside Lands 2012 takes place this weekend, and the lineup is packed with legendary performers, reunited favorites, and flashy newcomers, pieced together (some overlapping) in a masterful Golden Gate frame, outlined by all that glorious flora and fog.
There's little to debate; our inboxes have been unequivocally flooded with requests to cover the event from the moment the full list roared onto the web. Who's to say what sparked the revved up offerings and subsequent queries [...]

Saturday, August 4, 2012

two gallants for san francisco bay guardian

Two Gallants recharge with their first new release in five years — and a slot at Outside Lands

Half a decade after their last album release, Two Gallants are back. As you might recall, the folk-punk duo made up of childhood pals guitarist-vocalist Adam Haworth Stephens and drummer-vocalist Tyson Vogel was already something of a legend in San Francisco — known for playing both BART stations and arenas — when it took an unexpectedly lengthy break. There were three years between them playing together, five years between records (their last being 2007's self-titled LP on Saddle Creek) [...]

Sunday, July 29, 2012

charo for san francisco bay guardian

Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza. Charo. Cha-rrr-o (roll those Rs). The name brings to mind glittering sequined bodysuits, impossibly high hair, flashes of iconic moments sitting across from Johnny Carson or arms hooked with Dean Martin in the 1970s, and the perplexing catchphrase that made it into our shared lexicon: cuchi-cuchi.

Passionate, skilled flamenco guitar is the other thing that should be there in your conscious when you dream of Charo. The comedian-actress-drag icon has been playing guitar since before she hit puberty, back in '50s Murcia, Spain [...]

jewish music documentaries for san francisco bay guardian

SF Jewish Film Festival music docs examine violin wunderkinds, Orthodox hip-hop artists, and Ben Lee

"All greatness comes from pain." The simple statement comes from Raoul Felder, brother of legendary R&B songwriter Doc Pomus, in the beautiful, crushing mediation on his brother's life, A.K.A. Doc Pomus, the closing-night film of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
Doc wrote some of the greatest music of a generation: R&B and early rock'n'roll standards such as "This Magic Moment," "A Teenager in Love," "Save the Last Dance For Me," and "Viva Las Vegas" — songs made famous by the likes of Dion, the Drifters, and Elvis Presley. Jewish, debilitated by polio, and vastly overweight, Doc defied expectations while struggling with a lifetime of outsider status and physical pain [...]

grass widow for san francisco bay guardian

Grass Widow looked to the cosmos — and inward to San Francisco — for inspiration on its new record Internal Logic

Grass Widow nicknamed the city it calls home "Planet San Francisco." As in, the city is removed from elsewhere, it has its own humming, insular ecosystem. An inhabitable planet all its own that happens to be attached to the rest of the state and country.

The post-punk trio — bassist Hannah Lew, guitarist Raven Mahon, and drummer Lillian Maring — with lush harmonies and no frontperson used both this foggy city of ours and the unknown planets in the sky above as fodder for the electrifying new full-length, Internal Logic [...]

churches for san francisco bay guardian

Caleb Nichols is impatient. Long part of the Bay Area music scene in bands such as Port O'Brien and his own Grand Lake, he's perhaps forgotten that his new project with Rogue Wave drummer Pat Spurgeon and bassist Dominic East, Churches, is still in its infancy.

That restless feeling might come from the initial burst of interest in the act when its first song, chilling power-pop anthem “Save Me,” went up on Bandcamp. Recorded with close Nichols pal Van Pierszalowski of Port O'Brien and Waters at Tiny Telephone, the song was just the seedling of a new project Nichols came up with while on tour with Waters. [...]

mornin' old sport for san francisco bay guardian

Americana act Mornin' Old Sport moves out West to release its debut LP

In Jimmie Rodgers' 1930s-era song "The One Rose," the country music pioneer wistfully croons "So blue, so lonesome too, but still true/Rosie haunts me, makes me think of you/You're the one rose that's left in my heart."

Midway through Mornin' Old Sport's surreptitiously upbeat, plucky country-folk ditty "Katie" — off the contemporary band's debut self-titled full-length, released July 10 on Misery Loves Co. — singer-guitarist Scott Nanos harmonizes with fiance-bandmate Kate Smeal about their complex love story. "The shadows are calling my number/I know I'm just waiting in line/but I'll sing my vows as I'm pulled underground/I'm Katie's and Katie is mine" [...]

advance base for san francisco bay guardian

Owen Ashworth has this way of making you feel like you've long known him personally. The singer-songwriter-keys aficionado seems an open book, his gold-tipped pages filled with relatable angst, longform stories, and witty musings. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – the project he started in his 20s in the Bay Area and retired some 13 years later in Chicago, 2010 – was something you wanted to curl up with and have a good melancholy moment, a tête-à-tête with the sound in the machine [...]

jd mcpherson for san francisco bay guardian

JD McPherson ushers in a welcome return to rock'n'roll roots

A few musicians with slick hair and black-frame glasses are seen setting up their equipment in Chicago's Hi-Style Studio: amps, a mustard Telecaster, glittering gold drums, a huge stand-up bass, and vintage condenser microphones. What year is this?

The drum hits crack and the bass strings ripple with heavy plucks. The finger-snapping beat is unavoidable, almost cloying in its blitheness. Potent vocals reminiscent of Little Richard suddenly overpower it all. It's Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's JD McPherson — singing so hard a craggy vein in his otherwise smooth forehead bulges — in the video for the single that has brought him this far: "North Side Gal" [...]

post-everything cover story for san francisco bay guardian

Using darkwave, gangster-punk, and '90s house throwbacks, experimental party curators dig deep in the grooves

Long black hair and ripped jean vests in the crowd, billowy hooded capes on the stage, DJs in jersey tanks and caps, and sea of flickering blue lit cell phones; there's something spooky happening out there in Club Land, San Francisco. It's almost as though the dark arts kids have discovered dance music.

Roll your eyes. Of course, that's reductive. Goths and punks have long been venturing into dance clubs. Acts like Gang of Four, Liquid Liquid, and Siouxsie and the Banshees harnessed the power of beats, shooting rhythm directly into the noise decades ago. And then there was the dance-punk revival of the early 2000s, with LCD Soundsystem and its emblematic label DFA out front, and Black Eyes and Liars leading the weirder charge [...]

undercover sabbath for san francisco bay guardian

Fifty local musicians expand the tracks off 'Paranoid' in a one-off performance

MUSIC It's pouring outside and the roads are slick with rain. In a warm red room bordered by the soundproof walls of Faultline Studios, a musician stands at a microphone, arching his back and throat singing for a background track to be incorporated in an exhaustive 16-minute cover of "Electric Funeral" off Black Sabbath's magnum opus, Paranoid (1970). [...]

waters for san francisco bay guardian

San Francisco's Van Pierszalowski picks up where Port O'Brien left off

MUSIC Van Pierszalowski's story writes itself: musician finds love in picturesque European city, swims in fjords, writes a fuzzy grunge-inflected record about it and his travels, and calls the band WATERS (appearing Thu/10 at the Fillmore). "I met a girl," he says from the road. "And I just wanted to get back over there. It was a place to work on songs, refocus."

Even his story before the present wrote itself: young man travels to Alaska to fish with his father and creates chilly, acoustic folk soundscapes, names the band Port O'Brien after an Alaskan Bay. [...]

off for san francisco bay guardian

Punk supergroup OFF! sets off musicians from Circle Jerks, Burning Brides, Hot Snakes, and more

MUSIC Burning Brides guitarist Dimitri Coats was in Keith Morris' tip-of-Los Feliz living room one afternoon when he turned to Morris — Black Flag co-founder and longtime Circle Jerks vocalist — and asked: "Keith, if you were going to start a new band, who would you play with?"

It was a pretty short list. Bassist? Keith wanted Steven McDonald of Redd Kross. And for drums he listed former pro skater Mario Rubalcaba of Hot Snakes, Earthless, and Rocket From The Crypt fame. All the men were game, and, thus, a supergroup was born. Since its late 2009 formation the band, OFF!, has slowly spawned a reputation for an aggressive punk return to form and wildly entertaining, chaotic live shows [...]

sam mcpheeters for san francisco bay guardian

Sam McPheeters has a way with words, and that has translated from lyrics to journalism to his first official solo novel, The Loom of Ruin (Mugger Books, 2012).

The former frontperson to a trilogy of exciting punk and experimental acts (Born Against, Men's Recovery Project, Wrangler Brutes) has long written columns for the likes of VICE Magazine and more, along with his own fanzines. But his first published output came at age 12, Travelers' Tales – a patched-together local legends book assembled with a neighborhood teen [...]

vegan and gluten-free indulgences for san francisco bay guardian

FEAST: Superlative eats for limited diet, charcuterie to quesadillas

True, at first glance a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle sounds like a joke from Portlandia's Allergy Pride Parade. Wave those flags high, besmirched friends. But here's a non-snarky thought: for some people, it's just life. They have actual allergies to gluten and/or dairy.

Or, there are those who simply eat delectable vegan meals for personal reasons and have best friends, family, or partners with high risks of Celiac disease. Either way, any way, whatever way, with all the delicious, forward-thinking offerings in the Bay Area, it ain't so bad. In fact, it's really, really good. Don't hate, just taste. [...]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

bay rising tour for san francisco bay guardian

Summer camp on wheels 

Two local bands are touring the Bay Area on bikes, and invite you to ride along

While Rupa Marya of Rupa & the April Fishes and Gabe Dominguez of Shake Your Peace are crossing their fingers for cloudless, sunny days ahead during their joint week-long bicycle trek around the Bay Area, in some ways, they were brought together by a storm.

It was a storm both physical and figurative: the scattered downpours during their first encounter at the now-dispersed Occupy SF campsite at Justin Herman Plaza last November (11.11.11) during the Occupy Music Festival — where both bands played — and, the subsequent storm of ideas that lead to the bike tour agreement [...]

melvins for san francisco bay guardian

Weird me out 

King Buzzo on longevity, lion taming, and Melvins Lite

Here is a partial list of not quite idioms, butchered sayings, and quasi heartfelt beliefs the Melvins' Buzz "King Buzzo" Osborne peppered throughout a conversation during a phone call last week from his home in Hollywood. "We can't be lion tamers all the time." "You can accuse me of a lot of things, being lazy isn't one of them." "When in fear, or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." "Treat me right, I'll be your best friend. Treat me wrong, you don't exist" [...]

Sunday, April 1, 2012

switchboard music festival for san francisco bay guardian

Marathon of sound

Eight hours of wildly eclectic acts -- and perhaps a giant flute or two -- at this Sunday's fifth annual Switchboard Music Festival

There is just no easy way to define longtime Oakland band, Faun Fables. But here goes: send a classically-trained dark folk duo into the brush and bramble of a snow-tipped forest as part of a nefarious fairy tale, then ask them to sing for their supper. See? It's difficult [...]

bachelorette for san francisco bay guardian

Bachelorette's computer folk lands in Oakland this weekend

Ask the initially shy New Zealander Bachelorette how she makes music, and you'll get a fascinating mouthful.

“Some of the stuff I make, it's almost psychedelic disco, other times I think the music is quite folky,” she begins, “in that kind of computer-based way.” Pausing she then adds, “Lately people have asked me to describe the style and I describe it as computer folk. The computer is my folk instrument. It's just me on stage and I have a couple of computers and samples and a guitar, a lot of sampling and looping live – I construct the songs differently every time I play, so there's an element of improvisation" [...]

creators project for san francisco bay guardian

Zola Jesus, Shabazz Palaces, and more at Creators Project

Along with all the epic-sized Lite-Brites and wing-flapping guardian angels at Creators Project this weekend in soggy Fort Mason, there also was plenty of super bass-heavy, heart-pumping, mind-expanding live music. Again, all free [...]

cloud nothings for san francisco bay guardian

Cloud somethings

It's unsettling how the first track off Cloud Nothings' new LP makes one want to drop everything and flop on the ground in an arrested development expression of perma-teen angst. It's hard to even type these words when the song is playing. It's hard to lift my hands. I just want to listen to the melancholic chug-chug of dangling chords, bursts of crashing cymbals, and singer-guitarist Dylan Baldi's stretched-out moan, “No Future/No Past.” I don't want to do anything [...]

burger boogaloo for san francisco bay guardian

Feeding time

Pack the earplugs and napkins, it's time for the second annual Burger Boogaloo

In San Antonio last week, waking up on a living room floor with assorted Burger Records crew members and friends, record label and brick-and-mortar record shop owner Sean Bohrman, 30, was already thinking three steps ahead [...]

noise pop 2012 for san francisco bay guardian

Everlasting Noise

Noise Pop 2012: It's 20 years for the massive music and film fest -- tender memories with Archers of Loaf, Cursive, Thao, and more

NOISE POP Thao recalls hosting impromptu beer trivia with Mirah during their joint show a few years back, a festive moment she says is telling of Noise Pop. Cursive vocalist Tim Kasher retained playing one of the "most hungover shows imaginable" many years ago at Bottom of the Hill and it still being one of his favorite shows. Archers of Loaf bassist Matt Gentling has a fuzzy memory of playing the fest in 1997 with Spoon and Knapsack. Roddy Bottum and Jone Stebbins of Imperial Teen once declared themselves "King and Queen of Noise Pop" due to a tireless week creeping nearly every show [...]

Saturday, February 4, 2012

bands on the rise cover story for san francisco bay guardian

Bands on the Rise 2012

Moombahton mavens, doom metal masters, post-apocalyptic art wavers: 12 local music acts you need to know this year

There's no underlying theme running through the 12 acts profiled here other than geographic: they all reside somewhere in the Bay Area. Well, that and we think they'll break huge this year. Or at least, deserve a larger audience in 2012. It's not based on buzz or hype, I can assure you of that. It's about their artistic output, innovation, and listenability, the grand scheme of the band's lifespan (just how many EPs did they record?), and the current cultural zeitgeist as we see it.

Perhaps what links them is what divides them — their musical diversity. As opposed to recent years, we are not in 2012 overloaded with a single genre. That blanket, behemoth of fuzzed out garage rock, which at times felt overdone, overhyped, and overworked, is finally expanding. That's not to say we aren't fans of garage, it's just a note that there's so much more out there in our freaky little section of the West Coast. This year feels electric; it began with a refreshing mix of acts on the rise [...]

doomtree for san francisco bay guardian

Bangarang: DIY hip-hop collective Doomtree is back

There's something undeniably envy-inducing about a music collective. Everyone lives their separate lives yet they have continuing influence on one another; they hover nearby for comfort and camaraderie, maintain a steadfast family, and encourage a breeding ground for creatives. The emcees, DJs, lyricists, and producers in the Twin Cities-based DIY hip-hop collective/label Doomtree seem to have that system down pat. Under their own monikers, they create praise-worthy individual records. Together, the group carves out quality time and records masterpieces [...]

carlton melton for san francisco bay guardian

Dome rock

Carlton Melton — ex-Zen Guerrilla — creates psychedelic noise in a geodesic structure

"I don't know if you've ever been in a geodesic dome," says drummer-guitarist Andy Duvall, formerly of Zen Guerilla, and currently one third of the improvisational space rock outfit Carlton Melton. "But if you stand right in the middle, there's a sweet spot" [...]

sfsketchfest delocated for san francisco bay guardian

Ben Gibbard pops up at Cobb's, plays the theme from "Mannequin"

It was well past midnight when a surprise musical guest was announced Saturday night at Cobb's. “Jon,” the host of the Delocated Witness Protection Program Variety Show, which swung through SF Sketchfest last weekend (and airs on Adult Swim as simply Delocated), came back out to the stage after the last of a thrilling round of comedians – Eugene Mirman, David Cross, Paul Rudd. Approaching the modified mic in a ski mask, baby pink 49ers jersey, and gold lamé bootie shorts, “Jon” introduced (and I'm totally paraphrasing here, because I can't recall his exact joke) “Sven Jibberd of Meth Cat for Tootie" [...]

michael jackson cirque du soleil review for san francisco bay guardian

Last night with Michael: Cirque Du Soleil revives the King of Pop

I consider myself a casual Michael Jackson fan; I've long owned worn vinyl copies of Thriller and Off the Wall, and have fuzzy memories of attempting -- painfully -- to learn the dance moves in the videos for "Beat It" and "Scream" (oddly, a personal favorite). But I know I will never fully appreciate what Michael did for his fans, how much he obviously meant to the costumed group sitting in front of me at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on Tuesday evening during Cirque du Soleil's thrilling new production, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. But I was there for the spectacle of it all, and spectacle I got [...]

collin weber for san francisco bay guardian

Create and destroy

WINTER LOOKS: Collin Weber is the designer to the (garage rock) stars

You might have spotted Collin Weber running through the Mission on the way to the Knockout, frantic, with a bag full of satin bows to complete a trio of Sailor Moon costumes. Or perhaps you've seen his handy-work elsewhere, in the colorful capes and pointed hats Shannon and the Clams wear in their video for "Sleep Talk" or the sixties striped shifts the Dirty Cupcakes sport in "I Want It (Your Love)" [...]

michael jackson cirque du soleil for san francisco bay guardian


The spirit of Michael Jackson returns with Cirque du Soleil

There are so many extravagant things you could say about the late King of Pop, our holy father of stage theatrics and sequined gloves, Michael Jackson. The moon-walking man, the storied myth, the embattled legend.

If you want to get at the core of his power, the lifelong devotion of his millions of followers, try to envision a scenario that took place decades ago; look back at a then-12-year-old choreographer named Laurie Sposit, mimicking dance moves in her bedroom plastered with Michael Jackson posters. "I also wanted the red [Thriller] jacket but my dad wouldn't get it for me, I was traumatized," says Sposit from a brief stop in Phoenix, Ariz [...]

21st century for san francisco bay guardian

Time is now

Bay Area folk-pop septet the 21st Century finally releases the album that was "fated to never be completed."

Last spring there was no end in sight. The future seemed bleak for what was once a promising project — the chance of a lifetime for Bay Area septet the 21st Century. Now, a full year after its intended release, the colorful debut album, The City, will see the light of day [...]

Saturday, January 14, 2012

dick dale for san francisco bay guardian

King of the beach

At 74, the legendary Dick Dale keeps riding those surf guitar waves

In the beginning, the ocean was quiet. And before Dick Dale, the chords were thin, flat, and sweet. A young surfer growing up in picturesque 1950s Southern California, Dale changed the course of rock'n'roll with the thick, wet reverberating sound of Middle Eastern-influenced surf guitar and a little song called "Misirlou" [...]

cunt sparrer for san francisco bay guardian

Cunt Sparrer is heading to San Francisco for New Year’s Eve Eve

It starts off in your basic living room, two girls laughing then launching into a sweet, stripped down lo-fi version of Cock Sparrer’s oi classic “Take ‘Em All.” The musicians, Jennie Cotterill and Sara Lyons, play acoustic guitar and organ respectively, and harmonize “Take 'em all, take 'em all/Put 'em up against a wall and shoot 'em.” The disparity between the lyrics, origins, and this whole set-up encapsulates the appeal of Long Beach’s Cunt Sparrer, a trio that also includes Jen Kirk-Carlson and sometimes Myra Gallarza of Cotterill and Kirk-Carlson's other band Bad Cop/Bad Cop on drums.

More than a tribute act, Cunt Sparrer has been rearranging and rejuvenating Cock Sparrer tunes and other traditional punk hits for the past few years and through those efforts gained some deserved social media recognition — its Youtube clips routinely garner upwards of a thousand views, and on Twitter there was the biggest compliment of all: a tweet of approval from Cock Sparrer itself [...]

Sunday, January 1, 2012

year in music: rearview mirror for san francisco bay guardian

Rearview mirror

YEAR IN MUSIC 2011: It's a retromaniac's world, but lookin' back ain't so bad. Plus: the top 10 live shows of 2011

"Out of all the records I've recorded, that was the worst experience," says prolific Dinosaur Jr. bassist and Sebadoh guitarist Lou Barlow. He's speaking of Bug, the classic, feedback opening alternative rock album Dinosaur Jr. released on SST in 1988 [...]