Johnny Ray Huston

Undertaker in reverse

Mission Creek Music Festival: Sean Smith brings solo guitar to life in the Bay Area and beyond

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A window in Sean Smith's apartment looks across the street at the park. To the left of this window, inside the room, there's an old sign that says Undertaker.Read more »

Snap Sounds: Kisses

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KISSES
"People Can Do the Most Amazing Things"
(This Is Music)

Kisses has become a Snap Sounds stalwart before even releasing a debut album, because the upcoming album's songcraft is terrific. Read more »

Ride the Iron Horse

Author Kevin Starr sings the praises of the Golden Gate Bridge

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There's a mysterious paradox present in the fact the Golden Gate Bridge was essentially born in the pit of the Great Depression. On the one hand, this marvel of architecture and beauty stands for potential and optimism as made manifest in the dreamiest haven of California. On the other, the Golden Gate is like a metallic siren, known as a place where those who have lost contact with American life go to disappear.Read more »

Shannon and the Clams live on stage

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Shannon and the Clams are playing a show. The occasion calls for a link to the expanded version of my interview with the trio in the current issue of SCENE. There, you'll find Blanchard, Shannon Shaw, and Ian Amberson sounding off about warlocks in the woods, sleeping in the fields, what they like and don't like about Oakland, their favorite death songs and teen romance songs and teen death romance songs, curfews, the sonic appeal of crying, and more. Chow down.

SCENE: Shannon and the Clams open up

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A long version of the interview in the current issue of SCENE:

If I'm going to stay up late and go as deep as I can into the night, so far that I'm just about lost and in trouble, I want the sounds of Shannon and the Clams with me. The Oakland group's album I Wanna Go Home (1-2-3-4-Go! Records) is packed with songs that have been there and will shine a light to lead you back into the day, while letting you have a sip or two and an adventure or three along the way. This is rock 'n' roll music, electric-charged by bassist Shannon Shaw's wild wonder of a voice, guitarist Cody Blanchard's flair for classic crooning and crying, and drummer Ian Amberson's fierce reliability. See Shannon and the Clams live. You will believe.

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Snap Sounds: H.U.N.X.

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H.U.N.X.
"The Locomotion"/"Can a Man Hear Me"/"I Vant to Suck Your Cock"
(www.myspace.com/gayestmusicever)

Kylie Minogue's take on "The Locomotion" has been a highlight of Hunx's DJ sets. It set the dancefloor afire at a Goldies party a few years back. His version is buoyed by Nick Weiss' Hi-NRG-meets-happy-house production.

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Snap Sounds: Beach Fossils

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BEACH FOSSILS
Beach Fossils
(Captured Tracks)
Your pretty guitar — or in Beach Fossils' case, your gorgeous guitars. Lyrics and vocals are virtually beside the point, considering how poetic the guitar sounds are on these songs. Beach Fossils is well-listened enough to admire McCarthy and the Go Team. On "Youth" and "Wide Awake," the group comes up with something deeply emotive. You have to make the jump and join me on the other side to find out. Read more »

Eux Autres on World Cup fever and Midnight Special love

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World Cup fever is here, and in honor of anthems past, local pop merchants Eux Autres have created an unofficial song and video for the event. The band's singer-guitarist Nicholas Larimer is following the action, which requires him to wake up early in the morning, but the midnight hour is another time that he knows a thing or two about. He has a keen appreciation of Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special, a TV gem that, under the watchful eye of Mary Hart's current husband (then married to Carol Wayne), presented live performances by chart-topping acts from 1972 until 1981. I asked him to choose five favorite moments from the show and sound off about them. Read more »

Love, danger, and the enjoyable lightness of Delorean

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On Subiza, Barcelona's Delorean best all the other acclaimed bands (Tough Alliance, jj) who've resurrected the spirit of Madchester, creating something exhilarating with a poignant undertow. Before last weekend's French Open final, I posted member Ekhi Lopetegi's thoughts on Rafael Nadal. Now, on the eve of a Thurs/10 performance at Popscene, it's time for the rest of the interview with Lopetegi, whose relaxed cadences, cigarette voice and thoughtful answers made for a pleasurable conversation. Read more »

World's best (sharp-dressed) drummer?

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See video

You decide. (h/t Nick Larimer and Richard Bott)