Music Features

Show us the money

Rap ruled at the Bay Area's Showtime at the Apollo auditions
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By 9 a.m. on July 28, 13-year-old Bay Area music-star hopeful Nyles Roberson, accompanied by a support group that included his mom and two other family members, had secured a coveted position at the very front of the line outside the doors of the Oakland Convention Center. Read more »

Still freestyling at 30

Amid satellite and Net radio, proliferating podcasts, and far too many music-delivery options, KUSF hangs on to its heritage of broadcasting radical sounds to the city
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The workroom of KUSF, 90.3 FM, has always looked just this side of combustible. It's a second home to the radio station's new-music volunteers, a tightly packed DIY office space papered with band posters from top to bottom. Ancient desks are pinned against each wall, one holding a beat-down stereo. Two huge metal-hinged lockers loom in the corner, monoliths stickered beyond recognition with archeological layers of rock 'n' roll's past. I stare at them and try to remember the exact location of a Barkmarket sticker I myself put up more than 15 years ago. Read more »

Liege and grief

Rufus Wainwright seeks safe haven
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FULL CIRCLE America is Rufus Wainwright's scorned lover–<\d>cum–<\d>doomed horse-opera hero on his new opus, Release the Stars (Geffen), making Wainwright's fifth album something of a postscript to the bipartite Want recordings (Dreamworks, 2003; Geffen, 2004). Departure comes as Wainwright turns his wry gaze beyond the cloister of his boudoir-proscenium to harness a polemical bent to his grandiose, lush, high-lonesome sound. Read more »

To the ramparts, robots

Daft Punk lead a righteous new French revolution
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Aside from having one of the most awesome health care systems in the world, the Louvre, and an overall sense of sophistication, France is responsible for Daft Punk's entrance into the world and the subsequent rebirth of a limitless club culture. Sure, we've got R. Read more »

Two synthesizers and a microphone

Chromeo has legs!
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molly@sfbg.com

When Chromeo released their Vice debut, She's in Control, in 2004, the electrofunk duo from Montreal mainly stayed a cult favorite, semifamous for their single "Needy Girl" and mostly unknown otherwise. But with their just-released sophomore album, Fancy Footwork (Vice), and their tour with Jock Jams favorites Flosstradamus, it seems their '80s pop–influenced, synth-heavy dance beats may have finally found their temporal groove. Read more »

L.A.'s dark side

Midnight Movies bare the grit of the Sunset Strip
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Just as many Angelenos surely paint San Francisco as a fog-ridden vortex crawling with hippies, a lot of folks here in the Bay Area remain convinced that Los Angeles means little more than sunshine, surfers, and superficiality. So who's right? Neither, to be fair. Take LA: insist that it's all shiny and sparkly, and you're skipping over the seedy and sordid bits of the city's history (also known as "the good stuff"). What about James Ellroy, Raymond Chandler, film noir? And what of the darkness and disillusionment of the Doors and Love? Read more »

Keeping up with Melina Jones

The SF MC finds her balance at GirlFest
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MC Melina Jones represents everything that's right with hip-hop. She's female, she's socially conscious, her lyrics are tight, and she's fully clothed onstage. You won't see the MC from "Sucka Free" (i.e., San Francisco) in any metal bustiers or stripper attire, à la raunch rappers Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown, who, along with their thug-rap male counterparts, helped hypersexualize hip-hop to the point where it's become nearly inhospitable for self-respecting females.

She is a perfect fit for Girl Fest Bay Area, now in its second year. Read more »

Praise the Lordi!

The Finnish monster rockers are coming to Ozzfest
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Even if you haven't heard Lordi's music, you've heard of Lordi — or at least seen their picture. After they won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, a distinction that approximates winning American Idol, the Finnish group became a media sensation. Who can resist a band that performs songs like "Hard Rock Hallelujah" with copious pyrotechnics while dressed in head-to-toe monster outfits? Nobody in Finland, where Lordi's members are national heroes. Read more »

Party with me, Oh My God

And then blow out my eardrums, fool
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The Toxic Avenger pawing ferociously at his slime-dipped guitar while an army of redneck zombies feasts on a moshing drove of punk rockers — now that's a cool visual. Maybe Giuseppe Andrews — Cabin Fever star and an independent filmmaker who's had a number of his movies distributed through Troma Entertainment — can keep Toxie and his flesh-eating pals in mind for his next music video for Chicago prog poppers Oh My God. Read more »

Sweet release

The Federation's Rick Rock brings Whateva he wants
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In the midst of hyphy's ups and downs, Warner Bros./Reprise will finally drop the new Federation album, It's Whateva, on Aug. 14. Read more »