Though they hit the peak of their fame in the mid-'90s post-grunge era with hits like "Peaches" and "Kitty," the Presidents of the United States of America have enjoyed a more fruitful and fascinating career than many of their ilk.
While still a child in early-'80s San Francisco, Boots Riley witnessed something he didn't quite understand but that would stick with him for the rest of his life. Walking into a theater performance at the venerable Mission District art space Project Artaud, Riley saw actors in body paint writhing around him in apparent agony on all sides. It was meant as a simulation of the AIDS epidemic, with the actors portraying the afflicted. But it didn't enlighten him much as a kid.Read more »
As a member of 2AM Club and a songwriter for artists like Chris Brown and Sean Kingston, San Francisco-raised Marc Griffin is an experienced pop music craftsman. But as Marc E. Bassy, solo artist, he's a forward-thinking R&B auteur with more of an ear towards the genre's growing experimental fringe. Only The Poets, Vol. Read more »
Andrew Jackson Jihad may be the most important punk band in America, but they sure don't look like it. They're cheerful and (relatively) clean-cut. They don't want you to crowd-surf. They don't move around a lot, and when they do they're self-conscious about it. They don't use any distortion beyond a pretty, almost psychedelic phaser. They're technically proficient enough that they could probably back up Dolly Parton if they wanted to. Read more »
The name "Beach Boys" can refer to either of two bands. The first is the happy-go-lucky surf rock band that does songs about cars and California, led by the conservative Mike Love; the second is one of the most audacious and avant-garde bands of the psychedelic era, led by the mad Zen master Brian Wilson. Though most of the music-listening world knows them primarily as the former, the latter has proven far more influential, pushing the Beatles' creativity to breaking point out of rivalry as well as serving as a major touchstone for the last decade or so of indie rock.Read more »
More than any other Beatles album, A Hard Day's Night — which turned 50 last week — embodies the clichés surrounding the band's early period. The cheesy harmonies, the "whoa"s and "yeah"s, the sappy love songs: All are there in abundance. It's also the most obvious manifestation of the John/Paul dichotomy. Though the idea of John as the bad boy and Paul as the balladeer is largely accepted as a myth by Beatles fans, that dynamic is a lot closer to the truth than folks give it credit for, and on no album is it clearer than A Hard Day's Night.Read more »