Music

Cloud somethings

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It's unsettling how the first track off Cloud Nothings' new LP makes one want to drop everything and flop on the ground in an arrested development expression of perma-teen angst. It's hard to even type these words when the song is playing. It's hard to lift my hands. I just want to listen to the melancholic chug-chug of dangling chords, bursts of crashing cymbals, and singer-guitarist Dylan Baldi's stretched-out moan, “No Future/No Past.” I don't want to do anything. Read more »

Maximum Consumption: Overlap at Public Works pairs the audio with the edible

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So at Public Works this Thursday you can: watch veteran SF DJ Mophono and beat-driven gothsters Water Borders* live, learn about innovative advancements in music-making, peep some short films and new local art, and nibble tasty vegan treats. All in one event, from the safety of your own neighborhood club. Read more »

Localized Appreesh: The Shants

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Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com.

The Shants have done something curiously rare these days: created an authentically Southern and categorically enjoyable stompy blues and folk record in the heart of garage punk and hip-hop obsessed Oakland. That authenticity come from real roots, as these sorts of things often do – the new record, Beautiful was the Night, is said to be a “haunted love letter” to singer Skip Allum's youth in the South Louisiana delta pines. Read more »

Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers score a standing ovation at Herbst Theatre

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Last week, Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés demonstrated a shared skill set with San Francisco 49er tight end Vernon Davis. Both are impressively big men whose physical presence belies a breathtaking agility. 

Performing in front of a packed Herbst Theatre last Monday evening, the 70-year-old Valdés spent the majority of the 90-minute concert alternating between Latin and jazz, delegating and allowing his Afro-Cuban Messengers to shine. Many of the tracks were off Valdés’ recent album Chucho’s Steps (Four Quarters Records), with the constant shifts of “Zawinul’s Mambo” and the cool, breezy “New Orleans” serving as highlights. Valdés, resplendent in a violet velvet sportcoat and purple tones, spoke little, allowing a gesture here and a glance there to guide his team.

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Snap Sounds: Void

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VOID
SESSIONS 81-83

(DISCHORD)

Void was hardcore in a blender. It was loud, frantic, messy, and fast as hell. A brief yet seminal (there's that word again) punk act, formed in 1979 D.C., Void was known equally for its early mix of hardcore and thrash, as its frenzied live shows, which often turned violent. And for such a memorable act, we future listeners were left with little to actually, well, listen to. It was all buried in seven-inches, splits, and hard-to-find comps. Read more »

Noise Pop Roundup 2: Cursive, Budos Band, Emily Jane White, DRMS, Atlas Sound

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My personal strategy for Noise Pop 2012 was to pack in as diverse a personal schedule as possible, taking into account old obsessions (Cursive, Bradford Cox) and favored newer acts (Allah-Las, DRMS), national and local bands and musicians, weird and precious live indie music.Read more »

Promising newish acts at Noise Pop 2012: Surf Club and FIDLAR

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He asked if there were drink tickets. The bartender nodded, saying that the band could have wine now, and then beers on stage. Neither of those options would work for Stockton’s Surf Club, whose members were all sporting big black X’s — the mark of the underaged — at their Café Du Nord Noise Pop appearance. Read more »

From California to Ethiopia with Allah-Las and the Budos Band

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If you could handpick its most redeeming qualities and inhabitants from any time period in the past half century, Los Angeles could actually be a rather magical place. Pluck the psychedelic guitar strains reverberating through Laurel Canyon, scoop a fistful of bronzed sun-kissed surfers and sparkling waves from the coast, add two shakes of downtown weirdness, and you'd likely come up with something along the lines of Allah-Las, the quartet that opened for Budos Band during the Noise Pop lineup at the Independent Thursday. Read more »

Bounce to this: Rusty Lazer does Mardi Gras

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Due to health problems, Big Freedia had to cancel her and Rusty Lazer's Noise Pop gig at Public Works Sat/25. The event been transmutated into a big gay dance party with Double Duchess, DJ Bus Station John, and more. You should still read this interview, though.

With all its technicolor thrift flair, Mardi Gras costumes in state of midway-preparedness, and sleepy passels of breakfast-cooking houseguests, Jay Pennington's New Orleans clapboard house is pretty hallucinatory on the Saturday afternoon of Carnaval weekend. Staring out the window waiting for the bounce DJ to call me up for our interview, I was to be excused for imagining that the shed in the side lot was producing actual chords while the New Orleans monsoon that raged outside hit it. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Islands

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ISLANDS
A SLEEP & A FORGETTING

(ANT-)

Nick Thorburn started constructing A Sleep & A Forgetting alone, on a piano, while processing a painful breakup. His soul-exposing lyrics carry questions and incredulity. Although there aren't many uplifting spots in here — literally every song is sad — his voice oscillates between sunny and depressive, heartfelt and sardonic. Quite a conceptual turn from Islands' last album, Vapours, which featured upbeat, carefree love songs. Read more »