Our Weekly Picks: August 29-September 4
James Blake goes country? Nicolas Jaar with a bolo tie? Daughn Gibson's All Hell is one of the most unexpected, quietly subversive records of the year so far, treating lovelorn trucker anthems with the chopped and screwed mentality of the 21st century laptop scene. Though it might not make sense on paper, Gibson's Scott Walker-meets-Johnny Cash croon meshes intuitively with his loop-based backing productions. Just a week ago, upon signing to Seattle's Sub Pop Records, he Soundclouded a new track, featuring samples lifted from the label's own Shabazz Palaces and Tiny Vipers, that somehow remains as country-esque as any of his previous output. A true maverick in a scene overflowing with uninspired, rehashed ideas. (Taylor Kaplan)
With the Reckless Kind, the Emily Anne Band
647 Valencia, SF
If you're looking for some blood and possibly a little nudity on a Wednesday night (who isn't?) Fucked Up has got you covered. Famous for bizarre and unpredictable onstage antics, these Toronto-based punk rockers are all about pushing the boundaries. Whether it's choosing an unprintable band name, getting moshing banned from MTV Live (Canada) after causing thousands of dollars in damage to the set, or releasing a sprawling rock opera that SPIN Magazine named as the best album of 2011, Fucked Up have proven their fearlessness and artistic ambition with every move they've made since they're formation in 2001. Legendary live shows, intelligent and inventive lyric content, and notable contributions to women's shelters are just a few of the elements that make Fucked Up one of the most exciting and deeply respected bands on the scene today. (Haley Zaremba)
333 11th St, SF
"MADison Avenue Party"
Celebrating the diamond anniversary of the iconic humor publication, the Cartoon Art Museum has been hosting the "What, Me Worry?: 60 Years of MAD Magazine" exhibit this summer, featuring a variety of original, hilarious artwork. Help say goodbye to Alfred E. Neuman and cohorts at a special swingin' sixties style event tonight, "MADison Avenue Party: Cocktails, Cartoons and Tunes," which invites fans to dress up in their "Dapper Don" best, sip some "MADhattans," listen to live music, and pose for a sketch from a local cartoonist. Don't be a schmuck! This is your chance to join "the usual gang of idiots!" (Sean McCourt)
Cartoon Art Museum
655 Mission, SF
Tallest Man on Earth
Kristian Matsson, a.k.a the Tallest Man on Earth, is not particularly tall, but the name takes on greater meaning when the Swedish folk singer takes the stage. Matsson's incredible presence and charisma transform him into something larger when he begins to play. Shallow Grave, his debut album, was praised by Pitchfork and featured on NPR. And he continued to garner stateside attention when fellow indie-folker Bon Iver brought him on tour. In his albums, which are both unassuming and enchanting, the influence of Bob Dylan, one of Matsson's earliest heroes, is clear. His recordings — created in whatever home Matsson is currently living in — possess a warmth and charm so often lacking in the current era of overproduction. (Zaremba)
With Strand of Oaks
1807 Telegraph, Oakl.
"Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective"
It's a fantasy — filled with forest spirits, girl power, talking animals, imagination, magic charms, enchanted trees, and budding witches — come true: a 14-film restrospective showcasing the visually luscious, thematically complex works of Japan's Studio Ghibli. Spanning the years 1984-2008, the kid-friendly-but-also-adult-worthy series is heavy on the works of Ghibli co-founder and most-prominent director Hayao Miyazaki, including Princess Mononoke (1997), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away (2001). Even better, each film screens in new, 35mm print form, and all are shown in original Japanese with English subtitles, with a few screenings of Totoro's English-dubbed version thrown in for good measure. (Cheryl Eddy)
Through Sept. 13, $8–$10.50
3010 Geary, SF
Sept. 14-26, $8–$10.50
2113 Kittredge, Berk.
Port Out, Starboard Home
Slap a bottle of champagne on its ass, it's done! Four years in the making, the new play collaboratively wrought by acclaimed New York playwright Sheila Callaghan (That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play) and SF-based foolsFURY finally launches its cruise ship, Crown of the Seas, packed with an oddball set of seekers in sneakers whose spiritual enlightenment comes anchored in a decadent, vaguely sinister bed of ritual. The very brief Bay Area run takes place at co-producers Z Space, before transfer to New York's La Mama in November for the second half of a bicoastal world premiere. Set a course for adventurous ensemble-driven physical theater. (Robert Avila)
Through Sept. 23, 8pm, $12–$30
Z Space (at Theater Artaud)
450 Florida, SF
Massachusetts hardcore band Defeater has a way of creating thoughtful, dynamic albums in a genre that often feel formulaic and stagnant. They have ambitiously committed themselves not just to a concept album, but to a concept career, with each record picking up the story arc where the previous one left off. Defeater's music is set in the broken home of a WWII-era family living on the Jersey Shore. Continuity is only one of the band's tenets — Defeater is dedicated to an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and music career. It prints all of its merchandise on recycled materials and tours in a Greenvan, a vehicle that runs on vegetable oil and bio-diesel. (Zaremba)
With Rotting Out, Hundredth, Silver Snakes, Broken Ties, Troubled Coast
924 Gilman, Berkeley
Anané and Louie Vega
Anané is a singer hailing from West Africa Cape Verde whose musical style blends dance, reggae, and Caribbean influences. She found her way to New York and teamed up with "Little" Louie Vega, one of New York's premier DJs and one half of legendary house music production team Masters At Work. Now wife-and-husband, the Vegas make up a dance music power couple and collaborated together on 2010's ANANÉSWORLD , which clearly displays the vocal and musical range of Anané. They've since been trotting the globe, making stops in club-heavy Ibiza in Spain and Miami's prominent Winter Music Conference. During live sets, the Vegas tag team the decks, switching from soulful, groovy tracks to percussion and horns-heavy Latin house to full on Afro-jack cuts. (Kevin Lee)
With David Harness
Is there one movie, album (vinyl or CD), poster, or book that you have been looking to buy everywhere, but just haven't yet had that stroke of luck? KUSF's Rock-n-Swap may be the place for you — known as a Giant Music Lover's Fair, the event features vendors selling rare music-related gems. Admission is free for USF students, otherwise $3, which you can feel good about because the money benefits KUSF (who has been undergoing a battle for the airwaves and campus support). This is one of the biggest music swaps in California, going strong for more than 20 years. So hunt for that one rare record you've been yearning for, while supporting local, independent broadcasting. (Shauna C. Keddy)
10am-3pm, $3 (free for students)
McLaren Hall at USF
2130 Fulton, SF
Swans, led by Michael Gira, announced their return after a 14-year absence in 2010 with the bleak yet forceful My Father Will Guide Me A Rope To The Sky. Gira and co. use an expansive, cinematic approach with their latest album The Seer, a two-hour long assemblage that flips between meditative drizzle and crashing thunderstorm. Penultimate cut "A Piece of the Sky" blends the spiritual pop feel of the Polyphonic Spree with the studious, methodical post-rock of Tortoise. Following up is "The Apostate," where Swans build a dreadful and disorderly tone and turn primal with noise and curses and yelping. In a good way. San Jose's Xiu Xiu, out with new album Always, opens. (Lee)
With Xiu Xiu
Though Chabon was born in DC, the award-winning author found his way to Berkeley in the mid-'90s and has remained in the Bay Area since. The East Bay acts as both setting and muse in his latest work. Telegraph Avenue: A Novel delves into the lives of both a black family and a white family and their relationships within and between each other in modern Oakland. While Chabon typically constructs fantastic fictional worlds, he grounds his novels in social and political realities. Tonight, the author talks with witty special effects designer Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame, with proceeds going toward college scholarships administered through Dave Eggers' writing school 826 Valencia. (Lee).
With Adam Savage
401 Van Ness