San Francisco

The big Hardly Strictly roster reveal

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After weeks of teasers, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass released its full 2013 lineup this week, and it boasts some fresh young artists and a great many cross-generational acts.

The free weekend-long festival in Golden Gate Park will feature appearances by Nick Lowe, Conor Oberst and friends (including First Aid Kit), Gogol Bordello, Natalie Maines, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Bettye LaVette, Allah-Las, Father John Misty, Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers (featuring Edie Brickell), and Bonnie Raitt, among dozens of others. Read more »

Just a pipe dream? SF’s Whirr gets 'Around'

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In the cyclical nature of sonic trends, shoegaze has risen from the grave and out of obscurity again. With old guard bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star releasing new material, acts from this generation are following in their footsteps, reviving what was once out of vogue.

And in the midst of this comes Whirr, a dichotomy of sound, layered and simplistic at the same time, wrapped up in a tight package. Formed in San Francisco in 2011, through what guitarist and founding member Nick Bassett describes as basic boredom, the six-piece outfit decries its shoegaze leanings, searching for a heavier sound. Read more »

Heads Up: 8 must-see concerts this week

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The Internet never forgets. I realized this yet again today after discovering the complete 1979 BBC documentary, Who Is Poly Styrene, and with the more globally appealing announcement that it looks like JT and the rest of the ‘N Sync gang will perform at MTV’s Video Music Awards, Sunday. Oh and Cher has a new video, which is her first in 12 years! There may be hope for you yet, Gotye (the coffee shop I was at this morning played his hit, which reminded me of his existence.) 

Anyways, this week (and slightly beyond), the Bay Area will host both legendary and up-and-coming must-sees, with the Melvins, Black Sabbath, My Bloody Valentine topping the list, along with Deerhunter and No Age, and newbies the Parmesans, the She's, and Ovvl. All acts to catch if you have the chance (and you do, see below). Read more »

Bomb the Music Industry!’s Jeff Rosenstock: Poster boy for manic depression in DIY rock’n’roll

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To get a feel for why Jeff Rosenstock plays the way he does, you have to go back almost a decade to the sweaty, now-defunct scene in New Jersey and Long Island that caught the tail-end of the big ska-punk boom and the beginning of the emo explosion.

In the late ‘90s-early 2000s, word-of-mouth was still king in that local music scene. Many bands, like Rosenstock’s pre-Bomb the Music Industry! group, the Arrogant Sons of Bitches, entertained consistently at all-age, low-budget shows. It got to a point where kids in nearly every skank pit in the area knew the band’s songs by heart. They had no real radio play, and were seen mostly on shaky handheld video camera footage from Bloomfield Ave Cafe or the like, but still were on tour forever, had discernable sing-along singles, and (almost) released a split in Japan. Read more »

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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Yes, Outside Lands is back this weekend in Golden Gate Park. So that’s a given, especially if you’ve already got tickets to the sold-out festival. But there’s also night shows plus unrelated evenings out with White Fence, King Tuff, Glass Candy, Icky Boyfriends, Paige & the Thousand, and Lightning Dust with Louise Burns and Spells. So be sure to check those out as well, you over-committers.

Also this week, the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass guess-the-lineup game came buzzing back to the web. Listen here to make your guesses. Read more »

With a rising profile, King Tuff still prefers music that sounds like it came out of a trashcan

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Garage rock troubadour King Tuff is no stranger to playing outdoor venues like Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands.

“One time I played in my parents backyard -- another time I played in a shed in Massachusetts, called the Shed, that could literally fit only three people,” says Kyle Thomas, the man, the figurehead behind King Tuff.

But this will be a little different than his parents backyard or a shed in Massachusetts. Outside Lands is a decidedly bigger event  -- already sold out for 2013, and attracting 65,000 people alone in 2012. Read more »

A giddy celebration of El-P and Killer Mike at the Independent

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It's been a big couple of years for El-P, Killer Mike, and the twosome’s recent musical courtship. In 2012, nothing but praise seemed to follow both El-P's Cancer 4 Cure (guest starring Killer Mike) and Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music (produced by El-P).

The momentum gained by those two albums led to this summer's Run the Jewels, a collaborative project and eponymous album that further solidified the hard-edged, spaced-out vibe they've been after together. The pair brought this new material as well as solo sets to the Independent last Tuesday night. Read more »

Before Outside Lands: Midi Matilda on its favorite live shows and OSL fantasies

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San Francisco based duo Midi Matilda has managed to worm its way into a corner of electro-pop music that is highly accessible. As the musicians put it, they aren’t DJs and they aren’t a live band either.Read more »

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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There will be R. Kelly “Trapped in the Closet” sing-alongs all weekend long at the Castro Theatre. It’s not quite a show, though I wouldn’t dare describe it as a standard film either. It’ll be an experience, so it’s on the list of must-sees. Sorry not sorry.

Add to that El-P and Killer Mike, Sebadoh, Rye Rye’s Hard French “After Party,” Rancid, and more -- and you won’t be hurting for choices this week. Hop to it, furry friends. Read more »

Jello sounds off

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When setting up an interview with Jello Biafra, I got this light-hearted warning: “There is no such thing as a short interview with Jello.” It’s true, the legendary punk showman/spoken word enthusiast is full of political ideas, historical references, and elder-punk-dude tales. How can he be expected to keep it brief?

Below, we spend an intense half hour discussing the media, corruption, spoken word, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, Jello Biafra and the New Orleans Raunch and Soul All-Stars, and the future of underground rock’n’roll. (For the feature on Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, see this week’s paper): Read more »