Michael Harkin

Mauled by success!

Scoping out the wild world of blogger darlings Vivian Girls
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There've been happy coincidences aplenty for the Vivian Girls this year. Two examples: they've recorded and played shows with Fucked Up, which wrote a song with the same name as their band before they ever assembled ("Vivian Girls" appeared on 2006's Hidden World (Jade Tree), and the Vivian Girls began early last year), and, at one of those shows, bass player Kickball Katy found out she wears the same kicks as Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend. Read more »

Jonas Reinhardt

GOLDIES 2008 winner: Wembley-sized dreams for the contemporary Krautrockers
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He doesn't seem like someone who'd perform at an arena, but Jesse Reiner's aural ambitions as a contemporary Krautrocker are Wembley-sized. "I would love it if we were playing in stadiums," he says of his solo synthesizer project, Jonas Reinhardt, citing no interest in celebrity but expressing a deep amazement at the apparent scale of Tangerine Dream's gigs in the '70s. "They were a big band! Read more »

Exuberance with bite

White Fang's wild genius springs from eternal enthusiasm, Portland-style
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They once were distant from the excitement, 40 blocks beyond 82nd Street — a dividing line that Erik Gage dramatically refers to as the "Berlin Wall of culture" in Portland, Ore. He and his bandmates in White Fang grew up in the PDX 'burbs round 122nd Street, starting a CD-R — or, rather, "CD-Gnar" — label in high school. Read more »

Wildildlife by numbers

Math and music
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Whether we're talking about the volatile US economy or the amount of CD-R releases Wildildlife has produced to date, the base-10 numeral system is a useless reference point.

"Three or four, five or six — let's call it 'medium-four.' Or 'five-esque.'" This is the disc count consensus from the Seattle group, whose membership is definitely three: Andy Crane on bass guitar, Matthew J. Rogers on guitar, and Willy Nilz on the drums. Read more »

You can't kill them

They're already the Dead C, New Zealand's unsung free-rockers
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They're on the fringe, and they don't plan to leave it. Though mostly overlooked in their home country of New Zealand during the last two decades, the free-rockers in the Dead C will be the first to tell you that they're not terribly bothered.

"We are not seen as plausible cultural ambassadors," stated guitarist Bruce Russell by e-mail from his home Down Under, citing the failure of the "laughable New Zealand media" to cover what's artistically adventurous as one of the reasons his three-piece rarely can make it abroad to play shows. Read more »

Punk's latest clubhouse

Thrillhouse Records throws their biggest bash to date
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A fire-breathing dinosaur graces the sign above the entrance to Thrillhouse Records, a Bernal Heights hole-in-the-wall wonder of a record shop. Duck in the door and you'll find several shelves of punk, garage-rock, and metal LPs; cassettes and seven-inch singles; a zine library and a sizeable rack of DIY publications for sale; a mixtape trading bin (make one, leave it, and take one); and an awe-inducing black and white Iron Maiden tapestry that hangs above a colorful array of flyers for local shows past and upcoming. Read more »

Sadsters unite over blown speakers

Pink Reason will find a way
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Who leaves a perfectly good acoustic guitar in the street? Read more »

Fishing for hooks

Abe Vigoda makes the 'tropical punk/pop' tag look good
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Jackson, Miss., might not top everyone's cities-to-see list, but Juan Velazquez of Chino band Abe Vigoda makes it sound like a damn fun place to play a show. "Everyone was really psyched, and there were a bunch of younger people there," raved Velazquez by phone while en route from Atlanta to Athens, Ga. Read more »

Dye, dye, darlings

Mission Creek 2008: The smile-inducing shades of Bleachy Bleachy Bleach
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Feel like dyeing? If yes, there are many products available to help you do so, but it's unlikely that any color you choose will be anywhere near as exciting as the fearsome fun that Bleachy Bleachy Bleach conjures up. Read more »

Get the Drift

Mission Creek 2008: Sonic Memory Drawings and outward instrumental rock creeps
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If you haven't caught wind of the Drift, maybe you should take that coat off. This San Francisco outfit's instrumental rock creeps deftly outward and upward into an exhilarating, rapidly unfolding sprawl, channeling dub and old school jazz fusion in its whirring excursions.

Over the phone from SF, Danny Grody, the group's guitarist and keyboardist, happily talked about the band's inception and recording their second album, Memory Drawings, released in April on Temporary Residence. Read more »