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Capitalism, performance art, and a whole lot of ass-shaking: Notes from a Beyoncé and Jay Z show

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First off: To review a Beyoncé and Jay Z show, in the traditional way that music writers generally review live music — assessing and critiquing the sonic experience, the songs performed, the technical skill and effort put into reimagining and translating studio albums into an engaging performer-audience interaction — is totally missing the point.Read more »

Marc E. Bassy on breaking down musical boxes

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As a member of 2AM Club and a songwriter for artists like Chris Brown and Sean Kingston, San Francisco-raised Marc Griffin is an experienced pop music craftsman. But as Marc E. Bassy, solo artist, he's a forward-thinking R&B auteur with more of an ear towards the genre's growing experimental fringe. Only The Poets, Vol. Read more »

Happy Hour: The week in music

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Happy Friday, friends, and welcome to August. We're only about a month away from summer weather!

As happy hour draws closer, here's a look back at the best music and music news we heard and saw this past week:

-- Sharon Van Etten shone in a free, intimate (though packed-to-the-gills), Pandora-presented evening at The Chapel on Tuesday night [July 29]. Read more »

Watch: Lil B's "No Black Person Is Ugly"

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Because we've all been proving in this space lately that we're intelligent, forward-thinking adults who can talk about ethnicity with nuance, sensitivity, and a deep understanding of the history of class issues and race relations in the U.S. and elsewhere, I'm just going to go ahead and post this new video from the 24-year-old East Bay rapper Lil B, aka Brandon McCartney, aka the Based God — who I am morally and perhaps legally obligated to mention is a product of the fine, tiny Albany public schools that (years before him) nurtured yours truly, among others — without too much commentary. Read more »

Tears, beers, and bruises at Slim's with Andrew Jackson Jihad

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Andrew Jackson Jihad may be the most important punk band in America, but they sure don't look like it. They're cheerful and (relatively) clean-cut. They don't want you to crowd-surf. They don't move around a lot, and when they do they're self-conscious about it. They don't use any distortion beyond a pretty, almost psychedelic phaser. They're technically proficient enough that they could probably back up Dolly Parton if they wanted to. Read more »

Catching up with David Kilgour

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A couple of years ago, on a warm summer evening in the city of Blue Lake, California, I stopped by my friend’s house after work. A man with a curly mop of hair was sitting in the front yard with his toes in the grass, strumming an acoustic guitar.

This isn’t unusual in Blue Lake. The unincorporated town hides among the Humboldt County redwoods and always seems to attract a steady flow of tone-deaf vagabonds. But it turned out the man was not at all tone-deaf and only partially transient. It turned out the guy on my friend’s lawn was David Kilgour of the New Zealand indie rock band The Clean. Read more »

Monday music video mayhem

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Just in case you've been living under a rock slightly behind on your local music coverage for the past couple weeks, allow us to remind you of a crazy little 48-hour contest called the Music Video Race, which saw yours truly judging some rather impressive entries from 16 different local band/filmmaker posses, and which culminated with a premiere party at The Independent on July 20. Read more »

Here are some things that happen when you interview hip-hop legend Biz Markie during a promotional celebrity appearance at an A's game

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Tonight's game starts at 7:05, at which point Biz Markie, the “clown prince of hip-hop,” most famous for his hit sing-songy single “Just a Friend,” off the 1989 album The Biz Never Sleeps, will be throwing out the first pitch against the Houston Astros.

This particular game, the evening of July 23, also falls on the A’s 15th annual Root Beer Float Day, a beloved tradition that raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation by having A’s players, coaches, announcers, the staffs of several radio stations, and celebs of various stature (Real World cast members) scoop and serve root beer floats at $2 each for two hours before the first pitch. Read more »

Smart Bomb goes off in Oakland

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By Micah Dubreuil

As a child, you imagine your toys come to life whenever your back is turned. As an adult in the Bay Area, you imagine that every night you choose to stay in, the bars are all packed with experimental underground DJs, food carts, live visual artists and the kind of freaky electronic jazz you would see in a Blade Runner spinoff series. And yet when you do turn around — at either age — your dreams often fall short (if your toys ever did come to life, please let us know).Read more »

Carletta Sue Kay on strip clubs, literature, and dumpster-diving after art exhibits

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Not long after I sat down with Randy Walker, the male, non-performing ego of one of San Francisco's most undefinable musical acts, vocal powerhouse Carletta Sue Kay (who performs at The Chapel this Fri/25), we talked a bit about college. Walker asked me the prerequisite questions about the social scene and my major, perking up at the sound of a humanities-centric discipline. I asked if he’d done the whole college thing. Read more »