Music

The instruments of my life: Q&A with Beirut's Zach Condon

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Zach Condon, the pied piper of Beirut, is known for a great many things – his quavering voice and heart-tugging music (watch the new video for “Santa Fe” and try not to weep, I dare you), the global journeys on which he embarked to gain such a worldly sound, and, perhaps above all else, his skilled takes on an array of string and horn instruments. He employs their use to enable listeners an audio-vacation: the far corners of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, to the chateaus of French chansons, to his mariachi-filled hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

As Beirut's two Bay Area shows this weekend (at the Fox Theater in Oakland and the Independent in SF) are very, very sold out, I'm assuming there are a few of you out there grasping tickets as you read this. And if not, there are always scalpers (note: we do not condone buying from scalpers). Read more »

Hardly Strictly's fresh blood

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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is a badge of San Francisco life. You move here and inevitably in your citywide journeys you're part of a conversation debating the lineup of this unbelievably free, always-entertaining fall fest that takes in Golden Gate Park the first weekend of October each year.

It's become a staple of the fall calendar, because well, the bands are good and we like our events free in this town. Now in its 11th year, there are still many new-to-HSB acts, along with the yearly frequenters Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, and Ralph Stanley. Festival publicist Tracey Buck says there are at least half a dozen new local bands in 2011, and roughly 50 new touring acts. Read more »

How she does it

Nightlife: Making it werque with Deniz Kurtel, Trouble and Bass, Homo Homecoming, Bootie Oktoberfest Burlesque, and more

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SUPER EGO Three of my favorite dance tracks this year were made by women: "What They Say" by Maya Jane Coles, "Yours" by Steffi, and "The L Word" by Deniz Kurtel. "Wow," you say. "Three whole women. That's practically a quorum!" I know, I know, but these were big underground hits as well — and it's aces that tracks by females are getting more large-scale traction. Read more »

Localized Appreesh: Dreams

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Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. Each week a band/music-maker with a show, album release, or general good news is highlighted and spotlit. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com.

The voice of Billie Holiday blended with a drop of folk and an electro-infused ka-pow of Afro-pop. It's the stuff of dreams, isn't it? Sort of. Dreams, besides being the mind's subconscious porthole, is a new East Bay indie supergroup. Lead by Emily Ritz (of Honeycomb and Yesway) and keyboardist Rob Shelton (of the Moanin Dove) and backed by steel guitar, vibraphone, and a hand-held rhythm section (along with drums), the group skips through genres, time, and traditional percussion expectations. Read more »

Live Shots: Twin Shadow, Diamond Rings at the Great American Music Hall

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If you truly believe that music is moving entirely forward – not cyclical – you need only to have peeked inside during any given moment of last night's Diamond Rings/Twin Shadow live musical appearances at the Great American Music Hall. Your impressions would shift. New wave revival remains viable, those electro-soaked keyboard jams on stage, the half-shaved heads and feathered accessories in the crowd (including the feathery bits attached to the young miss thang who was removed quickly after Twin Shadow began thanks to an illegal sip of costly beer). It's something I've grumbled about in the past, but for no good reason. Read more »

Live shots: Ladytron at the Regency Ballroom

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There are not a whole lot of degrees between cool and being cold. On record, Ladytron has always affected a certain disaffected air, and live they come close to crossing over to the alienating side of performance. Alienation can be intentional. Read more »

Live Shots: Hightower, Walken, and Black Cobra at YBCA

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It was all head banging and high-flying guitar yesterday evening in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' outdoor sculpture garden. With the wailing thrash of Hightower, the electric doom of Walken, and two-man hardcore power of Black Cobra, the event, dubbed Metal Mania, was a success. Read more »

Maximum Consumption: Rhubarb Whiskey pairings

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Booze-soaked bluegrass, could there be anything more befitting for this time of year, on this plot of land? San Francisco is finally warm, if only for the week, so enjoy it while it lasts. Sit on your front porch (read: stairwell or fire escape), whip up a naturally-infused whiskey cocktail, then listen to the rough and tough Americana songs of Oakland's own, Rhubarb Whiskey. Or you can check out the band live this Friday, Sept. 23 at the Plough and the Stars. Read more »

Localized Appreesh: The 21st Century

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Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. Each week a band/music-maker with a show, album release, or general good news during those seven days is highlighted and spotlit. To be considered, contact emilysavage@sfbg.com.

Last fall, eclectic new folk act the 21st Century was given the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to record with legendary producer Stephen Short  (the former owner of Trident Studios who has worked with David Bowie, the Clash, Paul McCartney, Queen, Echo and the Bunnymen et. al.). The Bay Area eight-to-nine piece was thrilled but too broke to cover all the costs of making the album, plus, there were travel commitments (Short is based in Texas). Read more »

Party Radar: Discodromo gets X-rated (and we have the password)

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Perhaps you already are (or probably should be) into the steamy sounds of Discodromo, the Italian DJ-production duo currently residing in Berlin who bitch-slap the gurgling tickle of Italo-disco with some filthy minimal techno trick-outs. Or maybe you just like to watch cute scruffy gay boys having a lubed-up orgy? We say both.

Read more »