SONIC REDUCER I love the fact that whenever you leave this country, you immediately come to the discomfiting realization that ... you're such a damaged by-product of capitalist America. Case in point: Last week I gazed upon the beauteous, barren, and treeless expanses of Iceland, miles and miles of rock, scrubby grass, and mirrorlike pools of ice. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER In the best of all music fans' worlds, an album will grow on you — like lichen, excessive body hair, or a parasite à la guinea worm, only with more pleasure and less arterial spray, I pray. You like it more and more as you play-repeat-play. It starts with an ear-catching opening track or appetite-whetting overture, as that well-worn pop recipe goes, and builds momentum until track three or four. Read more »
Rock giveth and rock taketh away. Hearing loss — give or take a pound of flesh, hunk of hair, chunk of gray matter, or a tooth or two — seems like a fair trade when there's so much pleasure to be gleaned from the volume and insight, good drunks and bad trips. And Mike Donovan (Ropers, NAM, Big Techno Werewolves, Sounds of the Barbary Coast, Yikes) and Matt Hartman (Henry's Dress, Total Shutdown, Cat Power, Coachwhips) of SF's downlow supergroup Sic Alps are here to remind you of the upside of rock's stubbly downside. Read more »
Break it down to the Beastie Boys' smart-ass advocacy of the everydude, or their ability to agilely swing with hip-hop's developments and evolve with their more adventurous listeners, but Adam Yauch (MCA), Mike Diamond (Mike D), and Adam Horovitz (Adrock) have always maintained a special "relationship" with their fans. Their new concert film, Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That!, a listener-producer "collabo," as Yauch puts it, explodes that bond. Read more »
Sonic Reducer Wonderful, unforeseen taste combinations are everywhere you look — and they go beyond the mundane peanut butter and chocolate, Tom and Katie, horse and donkey paradigms. Take, for instance, cooking shows and stoner rock. Sure, you wouldn't trust Ozzy in the kitchen with an electric knife and a puffer fish — that only seems like a recipe for pain, with, I'm sure, Ozzy "I not only bark at the moon; I also act psycho on TV" Osbourne on the receiving end.
Most teen starlets are probably satisfied to look their hottest on press junkets and don the cutest duds they can find at Fred Segal. But at 15, Q'Orianka Kilcher isn't your average Teen Vogue pinup. Perhaps it's indicative of the added expectations – and attendant ambitions – that come with playing Pocahontas in Terrence Malick's The New World, but Kilcher seemed to be firing on all cylinders, in terms of accomplishments, when she showed up at San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton in gorgeous multiskinned boots and a covetable leather jacket, both of which she made herself. Read more »
With a new full-length on storied UK label Beggars Banquet in their present and a European tour with the National in their recent past, Bay Area band Film School might be assumed to have the world on a guitar string. But think again. Read more »
Punk doesn't get much more soulful – or outta hand – than Beth Ditto. After watching her tear up the stage at Bottom of the Hill, pulling her enraptured audience members up to dance and taking on "I Wanna Be Your Dog," I shouldn't have been surprised to find myself chasing the Gossip vocalist down for a phone interview over the course of days, hooking up at the absolute last second. I, like all her other fans, wanna be led around on a leash by the baby-faced diva from Searcy, Ark. Read more »