Taylor Kaplan

Soul-savers

Australia's Hiatus Kaiyote gets some love from Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, and Questlove

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC "That's it, I'm done. In love." This is what Erykah Badu had to say, late last year, upon discovering Hiatus Kaiyote: an unsigned "future soul" ensemble from Melbourne, Australia, with a Bandcamp page, a single EP to its name, no marketing budget, and everything to prove.

Now, less than a year later, the band has found itself reissuing its self-released debut LP via Sony (with a newly added guest spot from Q-Tip, no less) and co-headlining a highly anticipated bill with D'Angelo and Badu herself, in Detroit later this summer.Read more »

So fresh, so clean

Is laptop-produced, hi-fi music the punk rock of the Internet age?

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MUSIC In 1992, when Pavement released its seminally crusty, DIY masterstroke Slanted and Enchanted, tape hiss and low fidelity were inherent, unavoidable side-effects of recording on the cheap. As much as that fuzzy production sound complemented the band's shambolic, punk sensibility, clean recording techniques were only attainable through studios, spendy gear, and other resources unavailable to most garage slackers in Stockton.Read more »

Philip Glass at 75: an intoxicating series, live scores to 'La Belle et la Bête' and more

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Last June, legendary composer Philip Glass treated our fair city to a one-off collaborative performance with indie-folk visionary Joanna Newsom. Just two months ago, he made a joint appearance with Beach Boys collaborator and eccentric songsmith Van Dyke Parks, in NYC. Last weekend, Glass paid SF another visit with a career retrospective festival, featuring live productions of two original, highly influential film scores. Glass is no ordinary composer, and even at the age of 75, his prolificacy and flair for innovation challenge that of any working musician. Read more »

Yo La Tengo plays the hits at the Fillmore, covers Black Flag

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The last time I saw Yo La Tengo, on its fabulously gimmicky Spinning Wheel tour, the trio delivered an abrasive, garage-y opening set under an alter-ego, Dump, and closed with a Jackson Browne cover. This past Friday, the band took the Fillmore stage with a loose, meditative acoustic set, before eventually closing with an incendiary rendition of a Black Flag song. There's no predicting the content, or structure of a Yo La Tengo show; yet, no matter how vigorously it flips from one genre to the next, it sounds unmistakably like Yo La Tengo.

From its yearly run of Hanukkah shows, to its infamously vast archive of cover songs, the Hoboken, NJ trio of Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew has cultivated a rich mythology over nearly three decades as a band. It’s also maintained remarkable consistency and prolificacy within its recorded material, which, like Stereolab, has caused many a fan to take its casual greatness for granted. Alternating between insistently bouncy pop songs, blissfully droned-out jams, and cozy ballads to wear your autumn sweater by, Yo La Tengo has assembled a wildly eclectic back-catalogue that continues to pleasantly surprise, and occasionally confound live audiences. Read more »

TNGHT whips the Mezzanine's 420 crowd into a frenzy

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Like a microcosm of our ever-morphing music culture, electronic duo TNGHT stands squarely between the traditions of EDM and hip-hop, reaping the benefits of both musical forms, and generating something new in the process. Comprised of Lunice (from Montreal), and Hudson Mohawke (from Glasgow), the pair stopped by the Mezzanine this past Saturday after a two-weekend Coachella run, bringing their shiny, brassy, bass-loaded grooves to a sold-out crowd of ecstatic 420ers. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Justin Timberlake

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JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE
(RCA)

It's 10 songs, seven minutes apiece. A quick look at the track-listing to Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience reveals a giant slice of pop ambition; a brazen comeback effort that practically dares the rest of the Grammy-elite to catch up. Read more »

Unexplored terrain

Composer Steve Reich draws out Radiohead's melodic fragments for new work, 'Radio Rewrite'

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC From David Bowie and Brian Eno's forays into ambience, to the unrelenting pulse of trance and house, minimalist icon Steve Reich's propulsive compositions have irreversibly shaped the pop world's development since the 1970s. Now, four decades into his career, Reich is reversing the formula with "Radio Rewrite:" a new piece adapted from and inspired by the recordings of alt-rock institution Radiohead.Read more »

Noise Pop 2013: Califone, 'Scene Unseen,' and DIIV

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Will 2013 be the year that Noise Pop began downsizing? Or, is the festival simply adjusting its focus towards smaller, rising acts? Either way, this year's lineup was surprising from the get-go, eschewing the name-brand, Flaming Lips-y headliners in favor of rising, blog-friendly outfits like Toro Y Moi and DIIV. Sadly, I couldn't occupy nine venues at a time, so here's a rundown of the Noise Pop shows I did see this past weekend.

CALIFONE
Having listened to Califone's records for over a decade, yet never seen it live, I was curious about the band's strategy in translating its studio material to the stage. From its introductory statement, Roomsound (2001), to the extended freakout-jams of Heron King Blues (2004), to last year's Sometimes Good Weather Follows Bad People, Califone's sound has always been production-oriented, augmenting the rustic twang of blues and roots music with an equally faded, rusted, precarious palette of electronic sound. No one merges the old and the new quite like Califone in the studio; the band's records are visionary, but sadly, its live show didn't quite measure up. Read more »

Fanboy ruminations on the new My Bloody Valentine

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Here I am, listening to m b v for the umpteenth time since Saturday night, and I still can’t believe it exists. Up until last week, I had grown used to “the Loveless follow-up” as a punchline in hipster water-cooler conversation, a tall tale in the canon of guitar-rock mythology. But now, after two decades of broken promises, My Bloody Valentine’s fabled third LP is here. And I can dance to it. And it shows up on iTunes like everything else. This can’t be happening. Read more »

Live Shots: Jessie Ware at the Rickshaw Stop

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It’s only a matter of time before British R&B-pop sensation Jessie Ware outgrows the small, cozy Rickshaw Stops of the music world. Last Thursday, at her first-ever SF show, Ware’s commanding, poised performance showed massive potential, more befitting of a full-on diva for the 21st century than a blog-popster du jour.

While her stateside popularity hasn’t yet caught up to her reputation across the pond, Ware captured the full attention of the indie-music press with her debut LP, Devotion, released last year. Influenced by her earlier work with producers like SBTRKT, the album demonstrated a level of artfulness and musical nuance, atypical of your average vocal pop album. Much like Katy B and AlunaGeorge, Ware has raised eyebrows by integrating big, upfront, Sade-esque vocals into the music-first world of bloggy electronica.

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