Interview

Basic bitch

k.flay skips the kitsch, gets straight to the rapping

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caitlin@sfbg.com

MUSIC The contrast was almost too much to bear. There she stood atop a pile of glittering, emoticoned video shares: Kreayshawn, repping for white girls in Oakland 'til the cows come home. Her N-word spouting sidekick and dookie gold everything, the perfectly-packaged "Gucci Gucci" video and swag-pumping ovaries. Everywhere, just everywhere.Read more »

Our Brother the Native documents love on 'Vows'

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When I call Josh Bertram of Our Brother The Native at his home in Pontiac, Mich., he’s unwinding with hot tea and whiskey after “one of those days” at the office. The 22-year-old art director harbors an insuppressible passion for music, which is tough to convey to his older coworkers. “I feel like they progressively get more and more weirded out by me,” he admits. Bertram graciously welcomes my questions, speaking openly and eloquently about his new album, Vows. Read more »

Go see Kathy Griffin, the parking's better

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Is Kathy Griffin as irritating as oil stains on a pelican's plumage or does she just play it as such on TV? After speaking with the comedian in anticipation of her live show this weekend at the Zellerbach Auditorium (Sat/17), this much is clear: Griffin is certainly committed to her character.

One would expect no less of a woman who has ridden a red-headed whorl of derision-abrasion from a Suddenly Susan sidekick gig to a six-season and counting reality TV show (My Life on the D-List) – not to mention sold out gigs at Madison Square Garden and a memoir entitled Official Book Club Selection that people appear to be liking. Sure, Stephen Baldwin and Dr. Phil have independently sought to strangle her, but they did so in front of her audience. She's like, the most popular unpopular girl ever, Rodney Dangerfield had he dropped the hangdog and set up a RSS feed straight to TMZ. Read on for our scuffle over philanthropy and sailor-style swearing.

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Nneka hits the concrete jungle

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It’s a long journey from Nigeria to Nas and Damian Marley’s side onstage at the Fox Theater (Tues/25). But 28 year old singer Nneka makes the road seem eminently walkable. Born to a father from the Nigerian Igbo tribe, and a German mother, her Erykah Badu like vocalizations didn’t really take off until she moved to Hamburg at 18. Since then, she’s risen to European fame on the verve of lyrics that reposition Africa as it’s own narrator, and are set to driving R&B and hip hop beats. And now the States are taking note of her song. Read more »

Oh Baby, Neon Indian was made in the '80s

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Miniature scrunchies, neon-colored jumpers and babysitters who insisted the tube stay tuned to MTV— awwwww, weren’t ‘80s babies the coolest? I may be partial, due to the fact that I was born in said decade, but so was Alan Palomo, a.k.a. the synth-wizard behind Neon Indian— playing Fri/26 at Mezzanine— and he’s an ’88 boy whose cheeks and beats I always wanna squeeze. 

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Thrifting for the the perfect song with tUnE-yArDs

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The deep piles of used goods can be a bit daunting at some of the best thrift stores, but when you find that shimmering prize, the fuzzy feeling is relative to winning a race or seeing your worst enemy trip into a puddle. For the sole member of tUnE-yArDs, musician Merrill Garbus— playing Sat/20 at Bottom of the Hill— her ultimate find was a white purse with row after row of luscious beads.

“I was in high school, living in Connecticut and we’d take trips into New York City to shop at thrift stores,” she recalls, talking to me over the phone while walking in her Oakland neighborhood. “I used to collect purses, even though I never used them.” Read more »

Oakland's Camaron Ochs may inspire folk-pop Barbie

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Big blonde hair, rosy cheeks, and an adorable little frame ... folk-pop songstress Camaron Ochs -- who'll be performing Wed/17 at Cafe Du Nord -- is a doll. Coincidentally, she is also being stalked by one— the Oakland singer-songwriter has seen quite a lot of Barbie in the past year, the long plastic limbs have been spotted at two East Bay venues where Ochs took the stage: the Stork Club, where the bar is decorated with stacks of cased holiday Barbies and Mama Buzz, the coffee shop/art gallery that hosted an art exhibit of the dolls in adult-style dioramas.

 

“There’s a Bat Girl Barbie at the Stork Club and I want it,” she says with a warm smile. “And I really liked the Barbie on the unicorn at Mama Buzz.”

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Laura Veirs gets excited for summer

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Classic finger-picking and Laura Veirs' girly vocals characterize the feather-light songs she's written about sweet summer days on her seventh album, July Flame. The songs explore desire and happiness in stripped-down folk form, caressing questionable emotions with scents of firewood smoke, extended sunshine, and humid mid-summer evenings - all named after a variety of peach Veirs spied at her local farmer's market. After 10 years in the music business, touring is nothing new to the Portland artist, but the trip supporting this album is different for two reasons: first, this album is being called her best; and second, Veirs is eight months pregnant. I caught Veirs on the phone on a Sunday afternoon, when she was taking a break at her parents' place in Colorado, to chat about the album and the experience of touring while expecting. Read more »

Five Questions: Sara talks, minus Tegan

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It’s been 12 years and the two adorable Canadian Twins are still making perfectly pleasant, political pop. Their latest album, Sainthood, is a stellar collection of matured, electronically hinged tracks that never fail to get stuck in your head. The sassy duo plays at the Fox in Oakland Friday and are sure to reign in a full crowd of Bay Area queer ladies.

It’s hard not to fall for Tegan and Sara, their cute haircuts, charming smirks, and songs that seem to nuzzle up to any mood. And these ladies put on an awesome show with mouthfuls of quirky conversation and honest, adorable blabbing about all sorts of intelligent topics.

Before setting up shop at venue in Austin, Sara took a few minutes to let me in a few tour secrets and proved that her hilariously eccentric stage presence isn’t an act in the slightest.
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DJ Similak Chyld dances to an unfamiliar beat

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DJ Similak Chyld doesn’t mess with inspiration. When asked how she came up with the idea for Afro Chico Electro, her dance party that hits the floor at Triple Crown on Wed/10, she’s narrowed the concept down to a single visual. It’s a purple pencil drawing by graffitist Mode 2 that shows a swath of party people intertwined, their arms thrown in the air, eyes closed, smiles open. There’s a bald girl, a blonde girl, some b-boys, a cool guy in a hat- but they’re all dancing to the same beat. Quote the pint sized Similak, “the idea is basically merging all the genres that I love, to bridge the gap between different crews, djs, artists, etcetera. I figure it makes sense to me- why not throw a party that represents who I am at the core?”

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