Chris Sabbath

Drama mama

Des Ark's Aimee Argote has it bad — that's why her band sounds so good
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Relationships can suck sometimes. You know, the drama — the toxic chewing at the meat of a romance on the verge of imploding. Your nerves may feel destroyed after going a dozen rounds in an all-night bender over some questionable glance or wry crack, but love's hang-ups do make for the best songs.

Take it from Des Ark's Aimée Argote: she has no qualms about expressing herself and is no stranger to confronting her demons through song. Read more »

Open mind music

Finding life after Deerhoof, Chris Cohen unveils the new Curtains
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Do you ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Not to misinterpret the question asked by a sneering Johnny Lydon of a San Francisco crowd as his band was self-destructing onstage at the now-defunct Winterland Ballroom almost 30 years ago, but seriously, folks, life seems unfair sometimes. In other words, here's a sensible afterthought for your musical mind: there are simply too many damn bands at our fingertips, and sometimes we're only lucky enough to encounter a handful of the really good ones. You might find yourself uttering regrets like "Fuck! Read more »

Wholly noise

The Brutal Sound Effects Festival aims high at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
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Trying to fathom the arcane and somewhat frustrating demeanor that shrouds a Bay Area noisenik is like cross-examining Walt Disney on LSD. I've been at the mercy of Rubber O Cement's Bonnie Banks for the past week, meticulously querying the mumbo jumbo he (or she, as Banks likes to be referred to) sends in response to interview questions while nagging him for answers to my more dogged inquiries. One e-mail reply might yield a pensive thought, only to be followed by a farrago of chaotic imagery — swarms of schizo babble about vocal chord mulch, mosquito broccoli, and rabid zombie snowmen. Read more »

All that jazz

The sax, violence, and noise of Wolf Eyes
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Anyone who's experienced the aural carnage spewed by Wolf Eyes can confirm the patience required to endure their shows.
The Michigan noise-ticians — comprising Nathan Young, John Olson, and newest member Mike Connelly — vigilantly carve a slow burner of nauseating sounds and mangled rhythms into a single, decaying pulse while a thundering reverberation slowly boosts the anticipation of a jam-packed throng.
The trio toy with duct-taped noisemaking appliances, sheet metal, and tapes. Read more »

Surfing new turf

Christopher Willits swings between ambient bliss and grating discord
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Listening to the warm analogs, e-bowed guitar, and post-jazz swing that manifest on "Medium Blue" off Surf Boundaries (Ghostly International) — one of two new albums by Christopher Willits — you might assume that the instrumentation was performed by an ensemble of helping hands rather than simply the Bay Area electronic musician. And you'd be half right. Read more »

Rock till you drop

Hyphy or just plain hyped? The Mall aren't buying the retail pop narcotic.
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"They're the ones that pushed E-40 into hyphy," says Hamburger Eyes photographer Dave Potes, in reference to his friends the Mall, a San Francisco art punk trio, and the hype that surrounds them.
"Yeah, we're part of the hyphy movement," adds Mall guitarist-keyboardist Daniel Tierney, 27, and his bandmates erupt into cacophonous chuckling.
I've heard the "h" word dropped incessantly for weeks now and have pretended to be hip to the Bay Area hip-hop phenomenon. Read more »

Songs in the key of quirk

Feeling Ohio and turning over the Black Keys
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“Let's bleed orange and brown all over this town.” Is it possible for such words of wisdom to induce skull fractures? Try inhaling this foul stench of a battle cry from doomed Cleveland Browns fans for 22 seasons as an Ohio resident, and you tell me if your gray matter doesn't feel starved for another kind of enlightenment. Hailing from "the Mistake on the Lake," a.k.a. northeastern Ohio, does have its share of rewards and quirks. The rent is supercheap and Black Label Beer is a staple in every twentysomething's diet. We have LeBron James — ’nuff said. Read more »

Those lovable peckerheads

Clipd Beaks break the mold
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An aggro dance-punk explosion of smart-ass energy and drunk-kid shit, Clipd Beaks can be summed up in an endless bout of name-game banter: They're tweaked shoegazer for the top 40 soul. Nauseated psychedelia. The guitar-driven grittiness of Prince's "Darling Nikki" meets the smooth-as-glass PM Dawn faux-original "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss." Man, fuck Prince. He doesn't have shit on PM Dawn. What did he give us after Sign of the Times?Read more »

SUPERLIST NO. 813: Bling it on

Where to grill your teeth from here to the East Bay
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Grills, plates, slugs, pullouts — whatever you want to call them — the gold tooth phenomenon, once a staple of hip-hop culture, has now become fashionable among indie rockers, parents, and high schoolers of all ages and races. Though the American Dental Association has strongly advised against bringing the bling to your gum line, as long as Oscar-winning rappers are dropping $30K on their choppers, the golden craze will surely blaze on. Read more »