Music

Localized Appreesh: The Soft White Sixties

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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.

You know that feeling when you're aware you're hearing a song for the first time, yet it feels as though it's always been there? It's new-to-you but there's something familiar, reassuring – it just works right, pinging back and forth through your ear drums and pulsating brain muscle. That's how I felt when I first listened to the cool swagger of San Francisco's the Soft White Sixties. The hard rocking quintet, formed by Mexican-American singer-songwriter Octavio Genera, has a real tight grip (full disclosure, “real tight  grip” is a lyric from SWS's song “Too Late”) on classic Seventies rock'n'roll – with all the shoulder-shaking percussion, the bluesy rock riffs, and Genera's soul-tinged Southern rock bravado. Read more »

Beirut brings the county fair to the Fox

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We teased you with the show mention in the Hangover column,  now here's the goods:

With flickering string lights strung from the center of the grand ballroom and splayed out brass instruments across the stage, Beirut's performance at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Saturday warmed liked a fancy indoor county fair. The sound, which can be bass-problematic at the Fox, was good this evening, near perfect for the otherworldly folk-marching band from Santa Fe. Ringleader Zach Condon switched back and forth from ukulele to his beloved trumpet, singing in deep baritone throughout, once stepping to his newly rediscovered favorite, the keys. Read more »

Jens Lekman, penguins, and choice words for Kirsten Dunst at the California Academy of Sciences

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Last Thursday, two girls rushed to the front of the stage at the California Academy of Sciences, one visibly shaking with a mix of excitement and concern, her friend trying to calm her. They stood particularly near the stage in the thin crowd watching Geoffrey O’Connor, where otherwise only photographers dared to tread. After bouncing through a song, they turned to each other, then tentatively towards me. “This isn’t Jens Lekman yet, is it?” one asked. “No, not until 8:30,” I said, and she shook my shoulders as a sign of approval, before being pulled away by her friend, to skip off together back inside the Academy, presumably to have a few more cocktails and look at the penguins. (I can relate to the confusion, though, I’m a huge Kanye West fan, even though I have no idea what he looks or sounds like.) Read more »

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 »