Music Features

Keeping up with Melina Jones

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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!

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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

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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

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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 »

Hyphy and its discontents

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"Hyphy is here to stay because hyphy was created in the streets and the streets will be here forever."

E-40 in an e-mail, June 28

Send a 911 to the 415 and 510: does hyphy have a pulse? Several articles in recent months have suggested the answer is no. Read more »

Free William

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William Hooker is feeling good right about now. The voice of the 61-year-old composer, drummer, and seasoned kingpin of the free-jazz world doesn't betray an inkling of wear and tear. His utterance is eloquent in delivery and animated in expression and possesses a rather youthful quality coated in optimism. Read more »

Toolin' around the Bay

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Nothing's ever straightforward for Bay Area hip-hop. After the hyphy-fueled buzz of the past three years, the road to major-label glory remains beset by difficulties. Read more »

Nuggets of Water

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COLIN BLUNSTONE

One Year

A genuine lost classic from 1971 — full of feathery, jazz-inflected vocals and sublime melodies — from the dejected Zombies vocalist after he had resigned himself to life behind a desk at an insurance office. "She Loves the Way They Love Her" picks up precisely where Blunstone's disassembled ensemble left off, with weaving boogie-woogie and an angelic chorus that dips its wings in soul's waters. Read more »

Black planet

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Heralded as one of the most important reissues of this year, the two-disc Music of Idris Ackamoor on the Em label shines a light on Ackamoor's long-neglected Bay Area contributions to free jazz. But Water's appreciation of local improvisation predates Em's work: in 2003, the imprint put out CD versions of Eddie Gale's Ghetto Music and Black Rhythm Happening, a pair of standout 1969 recordings by San Jose's Gale and his Noble Gale musicians and singers. Both might be described as sprawling if their vast reach weren't so dramatically composed. Read more »

Hot, sexy, and dead?

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kimberly@sfbg.com

What is Water?

The best reissue independent in the country? A label fueled by Cat Power and other wistful girls strumming plaintive guitars? Read more »