Kimberly Chun

Cheap greats

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kimberly@sfbg.com
SONIC REDUCER Starved for ideas? Dirt cheap, down to your last slice of cheese pizza and Harley beer, and still deeply smitten with fuzz-swathed guitars, ruttin' rhythms, and a complete dearth of chops?
Desperate times call for rotten but still somewhat respectful measures, according to Chris Owen, former Guardian music ad maestro, ex–Killer's Kiss kingpin, Hook or Crook label head cootie, and everlasting primordial rock fan. Read more »

Solomon's, mine

Goodbye, bittersweet Tower.
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kimberly@sfbg.com
SONIC REDUCER Boo! And hiss, while you're at it. Isn't it scary how the music retail biz has changed? As a onetime music store flunky, I was hard-pressed to decide whether it was a trick or treat when I heard a few weeks back about the liquidation of Tower Records — this after filing for bankruptcy twice in the last two years. Read more »

Joy sticks

Bonnie "Prince" Billy and a big fat bowl of Froot Loops
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kimberly@sfbg.com
SONIC REDUCER Skip the cherries — life at times seems like a big fat bowl of Froot Loops — the type that figure-eight, undulate, and connect in the most unpredictable ways. For instance, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, né Will Oldham, and his ungainly, increasingly ecstatic shadow folk-country — that association's only right and natural. Oldham and Gen X cinematic hot-spring stoner sagas — it's altogether plausible. Read more »

Sweet dreams

Tom Carter, Charalambides, and Playmobil tableaux conjure another world
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kimberly@sfbg.com
"It definitely contributes to this kind of cavelike, sort of womblike environment up here."
Tom Carter is surveying his kingdom, a.k.a. the Oakland apartment he shares with his partner, Natacha Robinson, and we both try to make the connection between Charalambides, his 15-year-old duo with ex Christina Carter, and the hundreds of Playmobil figurines that populate damn near every surface around him. The only Playmobil-free space seems to be Carter's cranny-cum-closet-cum-studio housing a computer equipped with Pro Tools and sundry plug-ins that simulate analog effects. Read more »

Reagan youth regurgitated

American Hardcore brings it faster, louder, harder to the screen
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kimberly@sfbg.com
REVIEW Tired of those battered punk-rock veterans of the hardcore years? You know, the geezers rocking in their thrift-store easy chairs, wheezing, "You had to be there — those were the days. I saw Darby when ..." before heading to the acupuncturist? Can you help it that you never saw Flag back before My War? Read more »

Subtle and sincere

Forget the Killers, but Hold Steady
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kimberly@sfbg.com
SONIC REDUCER Honestly, is sincerity back? And if not sincerity, then can we expect at least Bruce Springsteen, Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott, and that word-drunk, narrative-schwinging, Dylan–damaged breed of songwriter that you associate with a kind of East Coasty, epic rust belt, bar-band earnestness that freedom-rocked our worlds in the early ’80s? I know Bob Seger is back — please don't make me listen to the new album.
You can be forgiven for assuming a J. Read more »

Roughin' Justin

If only he'd stuck to his cheesy pistols ...
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kimberly@sfbg.com
SONIC REDUCER Don't be tripping, sit your sexy back down slowly, and I'll try to break the news to you gently: Justin Timberlake and I have a history.
OK, it's not like we sat around in Pampers and OshKosh B'Gosh, playing gastroenterologist with Barbie and GI Joe and gurgling along to "White Lines." Though I am getting a dose of feverish white-line nostalgia listening to coke-daddy ode "Losing My Way" off dusty Justy's new Jive album, Speakerboxxx ... whoops, I mean FutureSex/LoveSounds. Read more »

Grizzly man

Grizzly Bear's Yellow House is warm and welcoming
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New York City band Grizzly Bear's gently ambient Yellow House (Warp) manages to delicately conjure bittersweet associations of musty, memory-cluttered childhood homes and reference Charlotte Perkins Gilman's feminist-modernist novel The Yellow Wall-Paper — but the real household dirt on this band has to remain in one's imagination.
Vocalist-keyboardist-guitarist-autoharpist Edward Droste is up-front about his own sexuality — saying he's been in a relationship with one man for most of the band's existence — but when it comes to the love lives of his straight mates, the sometime journalist and P Read more »

Lennon's boom

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kimberly@sfbg.com
SONIC REDUCER Which John Lennon did you know? Initially, I was too young to know him as anything more than the moptop behind the chipped bobble-headed garage-sale find — and as one of the songwriters behind my parental units' token soft-rock gatefold, the Beatles' Love Songs (Capitol, 1977) (the "White Album"’s "acid rock," as Moms described it, went way beyond the pale). That's all the Lennon I could grasp until the Rolling Stone cover pic that accompanied news of his 1980 murder — that coverlineless image picturing a nude Lennon fetally curled around a clothed Yoko Ono. Read more »

Who's afraid of Jet Li?

Finally, the martial arts star is Fearless
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Jet Li may be fearless, as the title of his new Ronny Yu martial arts epic goes. The five-time all-around national Wushu champion of China may be a formidable opponent on a movie set — and a devout Buddhist much like his Fearless protagonist, legendary Wushu fighter Huo Yuanjia. Read more »