Julia B. Chan

Fresh Cuts: The sweeter side of Lemonade and the sensual vocal stylings of Laurel Halo

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This week in music sees new sights, sounds, and surprises from some of 2012's most promising players. From San Francisco to New York to France, these bright young things bring the heat and the beat.

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The silhouette of Cass McCombs at Great American Music Hall

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"Shhhhh," hushed everyone around me. It was like being chided in multi-directional stereo.

It was Friday night in San Francisco and folk rocker Cass McCombs was performing at Great American Music Hall. Read more »

The comeback kids: Indie-pop straight poppin'

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The Bay Area has always been a warm breeding ground for bands and thus has always had a vibrant music scene. Indie-pop is a rock subgenre that has thrived particularly well here. In the 1990s, indie-pop experienced a significant heyday in the Bay -- a phenomenon that may be bubbling up once again. Read more »

The Beat: Eclectic events spin heads, shake butts

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Having too many options can prove paralyzing, but sometimes it can be the reason you end up shaking that ass for days on end. This week, much like the wind, I found myself swirling in four different directions -- musically that is. Not able to focus on just one artist or event (and in a city like San Francisco, why should you have to?) I decided to map out all of my fancies this week. Here are four appealing acts traveling to and performing in The City this weekend -- suck on a Red Bull and see you at the show. Read more »

Fresh Cuts: Kimbra makes good, Girls get limited, and the return of an indie-pop institution

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This week in new music explores the depths of an ingenue with a siren attitude, the quiet ranges of Mount Eerie, mom as muse, and more.

Kimbra: Vows (Warner Bros.)

I have three words to say regarding Kimbra's debut album Vows: I like it. The poppier tracks are infectious (backsides and feet are among the first to fall victim) and the slow jams are worthy of a swoon or two.

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The Beat: The two sides of Birds & Batteries

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What do a parrot and a vibrator have to do with a well-known San Francisco band you ask? Well let me tell you.

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Fresh Cuts: Sunshine-y jams take spotlight as summer approaches

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With dream-pop favorites and a randy R. Kelly, this week is both guilt-free and not-so-innocent. Fresh Cuts has selected the finest new records to blast at your next barbecue; the following truly sizzle.

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The Beat: dirtybird's Justin Martin gets rough, tough, and tender

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Like many four-year-olds, Justin Martin abhorred piano lessons. Unlike most adults however, he's now grateful for those tedious moments in practice and memorization. "Now that I look back, I'm so thankful that my parents forced me to do it," he says, "because the lessons of music I learned at a young age I've taken with me my whole life."

The world-traveling DJ and electronic music producer has recently accomplished a self-imposed goal: a full-length album. An ambition that has previously eluded Martin, debut LP Ghettos and Gardens (dirtybird) is almost 10 years in the making -- his very first record "The Sad Piano" was released on Ben Watt’s Buzzin’ Fly label in 2003.

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Fresh Cuts: Blur singer belts an opera, a new spin on Afrobeat



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This week in new music sees an "English Opera" through the eyes of a Britpop prince, Afrobeat kings, and Adam Bainbridge's kind change of mind.

Damon Albarn: Dr Dee (Virgin)


Dr. Dee is an opera by director Rufus Norris and musician Damon Albarn that debuted in England last summer as part of the 2011 Manchester International Festival -- the work explores the life of Elizabethan academic John Dee. Read more »

Fresh Cuts: Weird-fi, dual-meaning Deutsch wort, and so much more

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This week in new music sees SF-originated the Brian Jonestown Massacre speaking in tongues (not really) with thirteenth release "Aufheben" and the Mowgli Sound The Drum with its debut album featuring the song "San Francisco." Move it or lose it, city slicks! Read more »