Noise, pop -- two great tastes in one!

Our picks for a bangin' Noise Pop festival

FEB. 27


Song scribe extraordinaire Har Mar ripped it up at Thee Parkside a few Noise Pops back, and buzz band Tapes 'n Tapes made the South by Southwest crowd go nuts (and crawl the wall outside), so you know this is gonna be a blast. Watch for those low-flying groupies of indie comedy fave David Cross too. (Kimberly Chun)

9 p.m. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. Free if you sign up at

FEB. 28


In Northern California we are all familiar with the term hella, typically used to convey abundance. This same definition can be applied to Sacramento's math rock savants Hella, whose chaotic brew of avant musical equations can be compared to a piano falling down an elevator shaft or the sonic vibrations of a song trapped in a quasar. Once made up solely of guitarist Spenser Seim and drummer Zach Hill, Hella has since morphed into a full band with the addition of guitarist Josh Hill, bassist Carson McWhirter, and vocalist Aaron Ross, making for a more contained noise that verges on the fringes of prog. Opening is London's Pop Levi, who describes his slithering psych pop as "Prince making out with Bob Dylan in Syd Barrett's bedroom," and Romy Hoffman, better known as Macromatics, who makes punk-rooted hip-hop and has been known to shout out to Lemony Snicket and Melanie Griffith in the same breath. (Hayley Elisabeth Kaufman)

8 p.m. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. $12. (415) 621-4455


Sure, I remember the first time I heard Josh Ritter, who plays a solo acoustic set as part of Noise Pop. There I was, driving beneath a huddle of midnight pines in the middle of nowhere when a warm drawl lured me off the dirt road and into the airwaves with tales of Patsy Cline's ghost and girls with wooden-nickel smiles — all delivered with the urgency of a young Bob Dylan and the intimacy of Townes van Zandt. Five years later, the Idaho-bred indie folkie still slays me with the Americana mythology of "Golden Age of Radio," and the storytelling voodoo he has cast ever since makes me wish they'd start giving out the O. Henry Award for songwriting. Ritter could be the first winner. (Todd Lavoie)

7:30 p.m. Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market, SF. $15. (415) 861-5016



This Noise Pop show is a warm reminder that all is not lost in contemporary rap music. Yes, it's still possible for hip-hop to both move your butt and stimulate your mind. Prime examples of this are longtime Oakland political wordsmith Boots Riley and his funk-fueled live band the Coup, who are blessed to be back after a recent tour bus accident. With headliner Quannum MC Lyrics Born, who has proven himself a tireless performer at 150 shows a year, you have a hip-hop concert that's guaranteed to deliver on all levels. (Billy Jam)

8 p.m. Fillmore, 1805 Geary, SF. $25. (415) 346-6000


Hybridizing jangled guitar treatments and shrill electronics, No Age make ambient basement rock that sounds like the Stooges if Iggy had moved the rest of the band with him to Berlin. For the past year, this LA duo — embodying two-thirds of the short-lived maniacal punk outfit Wives — has wed lo-fi with New York noise. On "Dead Plane," a song featured on the band's MySpace page, a slow burner of dainty hums builds then takes a backseat to a three-chord commotion of dismantled sounds. Matt and Kim, Erase Errata, and Pant Pants Pants round out this rocktastic happening. (Chris Sabbath)

8 p.m. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. $10.

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