Johnny Ray Huston


Amanda Kirkhuff creates portraits of wild women without boxing them in

REVIEW Amanda Kirkhuff is drawn to wild women. In a 2007 show at [2nd Floor Projects], she used black and green ink to render some female icons whose strengths are laced with ambivalence. For example, in a portrait of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the pissy, vindictive self-help guru is rendered-times-five in a manner that emphasizes the manic energy in her eyes. Read more »

We've gained control again

Night Control brings enigmatic allure to one of 2009's vogue words

NIGHTDREAM NATION New waves — or should one say Wavves? — of noise pop keep arriving this year. The latest one to splash up against my ears is also undoubtedly one of the best. Night Control's debut album Death Control (Kill Shaman) is the type of recording that keeps on giving, thanks in part to the fact that its stylistic breadth matches its great length. Read more »

Dreams come true

A very unlikely duet between Cass Mccombs and Karen Black

DUAL INTERVIEWS Cass McCombs and Karen Black — not exactly Marvin and Tammi, or Elton or Kiki, or Waylon or Tammy, but undeniably classic from the very first listen. "Dreams-Come-True Girl" kicks off McCombs' new album Catacombs (Domino) in style, immediately staking a claim for song of the year.

The partnership between McCombs and Black seems made in heaven — a strange heaven. Read more »

Fall music machine

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: A seasonal blitz of releases for vinyl heads and pod people


Peter Broderick 4 Track Songs (Tape) A large reissue collection of lovely songs by the man who spans from Berlin to Portland, Oregon.

The Entrance Band The Entrance Band (Ecstatic Peace) Ten Thurston Moore-approved tracks, recorded in Los Angeles.

Robin Guthrie Carousel (Darla). The Cocteau Twin did a fine job soundtracking Gregg Araki's 2004 Mysterious Skin. Read more »

Live on stage

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: The ABCs of this fall's concerts

Asobi Seksu Oct 2, Slim's

Atlas Sound Nov 3, Great American Music Hall

Bad Brains Sept 15-16, Slim's

Beach House Oct 19, Bottom of the Hill

Blues Control Nov 5, Hemlock

Budget Rock Oct 22-25; Bottom of the Hill, Eagle Tavern, and Thee Parkside

Carol Burnett Oct 1, Paramount Theatre

Butthole Surfers Oct 16, Regency Ballroom

Children of Bodom Oct 9, Regency Ballroom

Crown City Rockers Sept 29, Independent

Crystal Stilts Oct 14, Slim's

Damon and Naomi Oct 9, Independent

De Read more »

Night repper

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: 40 ways to rep your love of film this fall

D Tour and Rogue Wave Joe Granato's award-winning doc about musician Pat Spurgeon, with an acoustic post-screening performance by Spurgeon's Oakland band. Sept. 3, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art;

"Cocky White Guys" Jesse Hawthorne Ficks of Midnites for Maniacs serves up a triple platter of cockiness: Risky Business (1983), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), and the very closet-gay Last American Virgin (1982). Sept. Read more »

Electric truth

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: 10 strong currents within Bay Area fall visual arts

1. New wave of California painting My thoughts on the topic are still percoutf8g, but it will soon be time to take on the inspiring subject of new California painters. Amanda Kirkhuff's superb oil portrait of Lorena Bobbitt, currently up at [2nd Floor Projects], is one touchstone. Neil Ledoux's brown invocations at Silverman Gallery earlier this year is another. The next few months bring a blitz of lively, original paintings. Brendan Lott serves up ugly-beautiful America. (Oct.-17-Nov. Read more »

A new ambient

Brock Van Wey brings fresh atmosphere to the genre with White Clouds Go On and On

INTERVIEW Maybe it's in the air? Whatever the case, the subtle morphing of ambient music is bringing some extreme albums. Extremity isn't a quality one usually associates with ambient, a genre that — Brian Eno or not — is too often thought of as meditative Muzak without melody, or comfort music for snoozers. Yet some of the most unsettling and intense recordings of the past twelve months seep out from the ambient realm. Read more »

Collision Fest, Convergence Fest, and "Faux Real"

This year's MCMF says here's to the ladies who launch - the women who make new musical rules in order to break them.

PREVIEW Children, go where I send you. Seek out the wild women of the Mission Creek Music Festival Collision Fest.

Sure there are some sweet boys — any pleasure-seeker with eyes and ears should enjoy Mike Mantle of the Mantles (headlining July 22 at Hotel Utah), or Myles Cooper's solo journey outside the Passionistas (opening a June 24 El Rio bill). But this year's MCMF says here's to the ladies who launch — the women who make new musical rules in order to break them.

Ryder Cooley reps recent Bay Area ingenuity on Thursday at the LAB. Read more »

We walk with a zombie

Nights and days of the dead economy and culture -- in art, movies, books, and song

PHENOM In our heads, in our heads: zombies, zombies, zombies.

Don't blame me for taking a bite out of your brain and inserting an annoying tune in its place — once again, not long after the last onslaught of undead trends, our culture is totally zombie mad.

The phrase "zombie bank" is multiplying at a disturbing rate within economic circles. In music, the group Zombi — hailing from the zombie capitol Pittsburgh — is reviving the analogue electronics of George A. Read more »