PREVIEW The poop on surviving and thriving at Outside Lands: After you bike or find parking on the avenues around 36th Street, trek into Golden Gate Park toward Polo Field, being careful not to kick any of those adorable pop-up gophers in the head. Don't lug a cooler: believe it or not, you're not camping, the grub is fairly affordable, foodie-oriented (Three Twins Ice Cream! Hog Island Oysters! Dosa!), and diverse, and you don't wanna be lugging crappage around. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER You might not expect it or detect it listening to the beautifully interwoven fingerpicked guitar, viola, and flute of "Actaeon's Fall (Against the Hounds)" and dark, sparkling, solemn drone of "Enemies Before the Light" off the new Six Organs of Admittance album, Luminous Night (Drag City) but Ben Chasny is a pretty fun guy. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Why did the farmer become a punk rocker?
He got tired of haulin' oats.
So goes the nyuck-fest a Facebook friend unleashed when I typed that the Joseph Gordon-Levitt dance scene to Hall and Oates' "You Make My Dreams" was on my mind. Why? It was only the best thing about (500) Days of Summer. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER The path of true love even the healing, heartfelt, pathologically curious, perpetually vision-seeking path of Newest Age, dance-punk, pop-mantra true love is never smooth. Nor bruise-free, when reality and task of where exactly to place those four feet meets calamity.
"There were kinks to work out when Claire joined the band," says YACHT's Jona Bechtolt on the inclusion of kindred spirit and soul mate (and writer, artist, and musician) Claire L. Evans in his once one-man project. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Truth-telling is one of the most woefully undervalued yet powerful cudgels in an artist's arsenal so I can appreciate Jarvis Cocker's artful, chuckle-inducing application of force on, for instance, "Caucasian Blues," off his second solo disc, Further Complications (Rough Trade). Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Fierce. Bad. Doth Beyonce Knowles and Michael Jackson protest too much? More than two decades separated them, along with crucial biographical details, gender, and a kind of comfort in one's skin. Yet both drink deeply from the same well of R&B pop perfection, after emerging, solo, from the safety and suffocation of the family-like combo. Both faintly evoke Jackson's go-to mom for Prince, Paris, and Prince II (a.k.a. Blanket), Diana Ross. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Roberto Gyemant, a.k.a. DJ Beto, doesn't need to tell you how extra-zesty Panamanian music is: all he has to do is play "Juck Juck Pt. 1," by Sir Jablonsky, off Panama! 2: Latin Sounds, Cumbia Tropical and Calypso Funk on the Isthmus 1967-77 (Soundway), the new compilation curated by the San Francisco native. The bubbly calypso-reggae-funk mutant of a track gets its playful tenterhooks into you and refuses to let go. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER "I guess it's different things at different times. I guess different songs are in different modes." David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors is trying but not very hard to discuss his songwriting process by phone from Richmond, Va. Read more »
TV EYED Did I ever tell you you're my hero, Michelle Forbes? Like, you're the wind beneath my wings, standing out from the sidelines of TV series like Lost, Prison Break, and 24, pulling off the most ingenious little saves by just popping up, feline eyes a-glow, in the strangest, smallest cameo. Read more »