Lauren Giniger

Goran Bregovic

If cathartic party music speaks to you, this is your show
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PREVIEW I'm a reactionary when it comes to miscegenated American pop and world music: Paul Simon's South African appropriations (unself-conscious baby-boom entitlement), Vampire Weekend's recent iteration (self-conscious, sneering entitlement), and Beirut's similar (well-meaning, self-conscious attempts at naturalness) foray into the Eastern European musical forms. I mean, come on you well-born Eastern-seaboard Protestants, don't you have your own cultural traditions to plunder?

Without a qualm, one can look toward the Balkans as a source for authentic cultural product. Read more »

Jewish Music Festival

Certain postracial/maxicultural sectors of society are pushing back against the end times
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PREVIEW Oh man, do we live in troubled times. If you possess a certain fundamentalist biblical streak, you might be forgiven for falling prey to thoughts of doom and damnation. For a proven antidote, try gospel music — certain postracial/maxicultural sectors of society are pushing back against the end times with joyous, fervent determination. Read more »

Girls, Girls, Girls

Heartache and unhinged longing: the locals get our motors running
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On Feb. 15, the auspicious day after Valentine's, Café Du Nord hosted Girls' debut — a perfect night to showcase their music, which is full of heartache and romantic longing. I witnessed the birth of a pop sensation that night. I've never seen San Francisco rock kids so unhinged for a band that had never previously played out — they sang, in a state of unrestrained fervor, along with songs only available online.

Those of us giddy in the crowd that night haven't been alone in feeling it. Read more »

The Lumerians

Hypnotic rhythms weirded up by synthesized noise squiggles
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PREVIEW The Lumerians have landed, and with frequent local gigs and one EP under their belt, the band is poised for maximum impact on the Bay Area psych scene. Take a listen to the group's self-titled recent disc on the Subterranean Elephants imprint: there, they've produced five great tracks of hypnotic rhythms warmed up by droning keyboards and weirded up by synthesized noise squiggles.

"Corkscrew Trepanation" drills your brain with its kick- and bass-drum stomp, and layers organ on top of keyboards to cool hypnotic effect. Read more »

Feels like the first time

Who needs to be cool when Long Thaw are in the house?
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At first listen, I thought Oakland's Long Thaw approached their straight-up hard rock with ironic jokiness. After all, this clever bunch sport names like Chile Valentine (né Benjamin Prewitt), Diego Snake (a.k.a. Dan Brubaker), and Mr. Forever (born André Zivkovich). Read more »

Noise Pop: Fuck yeah

Holy Fuck's dance exclamations
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Most articles and reviews about Holy Fuck begin with some comment about whether the band's music did or did not make the writer exclaim, "Holy fuck!" So insert your own exclamatory joke about the group's name here, and let's move past the moniker and go on to the music.

Holy Fuck straddle the rock and electronic divide: they mash together techno beats, dirty lo-fi electronics, and loud kinetic-rock rhythms. Read more »