Music

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 »

Cursive gets candid during Noise Pop

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Tears, booze, sex, pain, martyrdom, regret. Against my better judgment, I was singing along with the band. I was singing carefully, with my eyes closed and likely a smile creeping up in the corners of my mouth. I couldn't help it, it came from within, as much as that particular act generally annoys me in packed settings. The swell of angular guitar and thundering drums pulled back mostly leaving higher octave vocals from a scale that slides to and fro: "Your tears are only alibis/To prove you still feel/You only feel sorry for yourself/Well get on that cross/That's all you're good for." Read more »

Whither indie?

As Noise Pop turns 20, tracing sound from Overwhelming Colorfast to Young Prisms

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MUSIC How does one trace the warp and woof of Bay Area indie rock's silky, sick, multihued tapestry — with ticket stubs to long-ago shows, holey concert T's, or grainy snapshots of sweat-swathed guitar players, red eyes gleaming in a haze of smoke machine emissions? Perhaps one way is to chart SF indie's course from the first Noise Pop to the latest 20th anniversary edition, teasing out the tenuous connections between the first fest's headliner Overwhelming Colorfast, reunited this year, and newish local poobah Young Prisms.Read more »

Spanning time with the Flaming Lips

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I ran into a temporal anomaly while driving. My first warning sign was the police cruiser with one headlight flashing its sirens behind me. Wrong place at the wrong time? Well, I was getting pulled over in Sebastopol on the way to Richmond from SF, but when the cop told me I was doing 78 in a 55, it suggested one thing —speeding. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Young Magic

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YOUNG MAGIC
MELT

(CARPARK)

Hearing a band being described as "tribal electronic" gives me a headache, but Young Magic actually pulls it off on its debut full-length, Melt. This New York-via-Australia trio works irregular drum machine beats, swirling synths, and haunting vocals into dark, psychedelic pop songs. The sluggish, heavily reverbed "Night In The Ocean" is sensual and explosive. With its fluttering synths and repeated "I found love with you" vocals, "Jam Karet" is catchy and almost chant-like. "The Dancer" opens with a few creepy music box notes, and features what sounds like a shrieking tropical bird. Read more »

Localized Appreesh: Churches

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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.
 
There's a whole lot of religious imagery going on within new local guitar-and-drums superduo Churches. Most vivid, beyond the obvious, is the guilty, desperate strain in mesmerizing first single, “Save Me,” and its jittery remixes. The track and remixes (available on Bandcamp) are both pleading and sensual, evoking the classic good/evil ecstasy of sacred customs. Read more »

San Francisco honors the memory of Warren Hellman with a free daytime concert

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San Francisco will honor the memory of philanthropist Warren Hellman this weekend with a fittingly free, live bluegrass showcase. The event includes performances by: Poor Man's Whiskey, John Doe, Kevin Welch, Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, The Wronglers (Hellman's old band) with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Gillian Welch, Boz Scaggs, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Earl Keen, Emmylou Harris with special guest The Go to Hell Man Clan.  Read more »