Kimberly Chun

Getting Xmas Twisted

Twisted Sister tackles the holidays

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SONIC REDUCER "I saw mommy fellating Santa Claus /Under balls so snowy white last night."

Rude and crude — yes. But outrageous and sacrilegious — and worth stumbling out of the Las Vegas Hilton as fast as your aged legs can take you? Maybe. Though Twisted Sister's Dee Snider gave us plenty of goofy warning that he was going there, giving us "the real story" — meaning his bawdy, rowdy rock 'n' roll story — behind the voyeuristic kicks of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," our last illusions were shattered, sorta, in the spirit of the gently taboo-busting song.Read more »

Espers: high-maintenance psych rock that hopes to hang in there and be of use to humans

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Espers sailed through the Independent not long ago, spreading their ecstatic breed of folk rock tither and fro. I spoke to Meg Baird before the date, while she was getting ready for a show in the band’s hometown of Philadelphia.

SFBG: How did you approach this new album, III (Drag City)? Were you working with any particular narrative or set of images?Read more »

Aughties Bay Area

DECADE IN MUSIC: Meet me at MySpace with your iPod and we'll dance
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Illustration of Kyp Malone, Joanna Newsom, and Devendra Banhart by Matt Furie and Aiyana Udesen

Picture '06, the aughties about half over. Alissa Anderson, cellist of the sweet and elegant Bay Area country-folk ensemble Vetiver, was positively boiling.

"I think if you ask anyone who gets labeled as freak folk, they'll basically tell you they think of it as f-cking garbage and insulting. Read more »

Monster mash note

Lady Gaga: She's not just "another pop chick with blonde hair"
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER "I'm from the underground. And I'm making pop music and I'm not a bit ashamed about it."

So sayeth Lady Gaga on the cellie last year on the way to a radio show at a Raging Waters in San Demos where she was dying to get wet. Alas, she forgot her Jellies at home and didn't want to get her towering D Square pumps splashed ("I'll find a private part of the park and just go in my birthday suit"). Read more »

Answer me!

Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective, and Jimmy Reed answer the eternal questions
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SONIC REDUCER As changeable, transformative chameleon year ’09 draws to a close, El Niño flurries sweep out the past, and all present plunge into the hassle and hustle of the holidays, I'm looking for answers — signposts if not certainties. Read more »

Killer 'Droids

Don't call Japandroids post-hardcore. Plus: Savoy Family Cajun Band, Simian Mobile Disco, and George Hurd Ensemble and Build
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER What is a Japandroid? Sure, it sounds like a mashup of two monikers (Pleasuredroids and Japanese Scream) hatched by guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse when the Vancouver, B.C., twosome were dreaming up a Yeah Yeah Yeahs-style power trio back in '06. But I imagine it looks way cooler than your average Transformer, less like a toaster and more like an Astro Boy-style skin job. Read more »

Friends forever

Peter Bjorn and John celebrates 10 years of togetherness, Them Crooked Vultures dive into the wreck
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arts@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER We can't all cozy up like Plant and Krauss, Timberlake and Timbaland. Fantasy jam sessions sometimes remain just that, as Slash found out when Jack White rejected the ex-Guns slinger's request for a guest turn, but, hey, you can dream: Animal Collective's Panda Bear paired with Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste — bear with me — or Droste coupled with Dirty Projectors' David Longstreth. Read more »

Button pushers

Fuck Buttons bring the noisy ecstasy. Plus: Buraka Som Sistema, Lover!, The Black Heart Procession, and Bellini
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arts@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Bend an ear toward Fuck Buttons' ecstatic second album, Tarot Sport (ATP), and you're only a card flip away from shuffling the Rider-Waite deck of the mind and coming up with visual corollaries for the tracks. Frenetic opener "Surf Solar" obviously boogie-boards to the freedom-first of the major arcana's card zero, the Fool, whereas "Rough Steez" burrows into the deep 'n' dirty low end of the Tower card, and "The Lisbon Maru" cozies down amid warmly glimmering Doppler synths, akin to the Sun image. Read more »

Ty Segall

GOLDIES 2009: Melodicism filtered through a sensibility fostered on the skate vid soundtracks
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arts@sfbg.com

"Anything can really fly in a song with me," says garage-rock savant Ty Segall. Fast cars, and ugly attitudes pasted on pretty ladies, anyone? "But I don't like writing songs with the words girl or baby in them. It's rock 'n' roll, but the bad part of rock 'n' roll is it's been done too much."

Don't get Segall wrong. He may have recently graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in media studies, but he's still an avid student of an ear-popping sound. Read more »

Girls, girls, girls

Brilliant Colors glow, Madonna asks for "more tuna." Plus: Former Ghosts and Big Business
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arts@sfbg.com
SONIC REDUCER Ladies first. As pop's lads rotate in and out of the dawg house — and Lil Wayne pleads guilty to gun possession and Chris Brown decides to "Crawl" — the time has come for the XX-chromosome set to rise to the occasion: Girls, girls, no pushing, shoving, or elbows to the knockers. Just kick it on record, all ye femme talents, past, present, and future.

Tomorrow — and yesterday — is the way for the all-girl Brilliant Colors. Read more »