Music Features

Sleepless fights

El-P reframes the postunderground hip-hop paradigm with I'll Sleep When You're Dead
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In May 2002, El Producto issued the acidic collage Fantastic Damage on his label, Definitive Jux. Winning universal acclaim for its compendium of broken-home tales, hard-won insights, and teenage misadventures, the recording crystallized a moment when rap musicians could reject the corporate-approved pay formulas proliferating on MTV without losing a receptive and knowledgeable audience.

Five years later that promise has seemingly passed. Read more »

State of the metal address

Where's the thrashin' at?
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If gnashing guitars, thundering drums, and growling vocals are suddenly silenced, will faces still find places to melt? It's been five months since Pound-SF closed, after reportedly being evicted by the San Francisco Port Authority. (As early as May 2006, owner Tony Carracci spoke at a San Francisco Entertainment Commission meeting about his frustration at not being able to obtain a long-term lease for the space.) The all-ages club, tucked into San Francisco's industrial bayside, hosted a large portion of the city's metal shows during its five-year lifespan. Read more »

Screaming for vengeance

With The Locust Years, Hammers of Misfortune lean a heavy, hobnailed boot on the tender throat of commercial rock and take protest music to a new level
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It was the unquiet dead, whispering in the dark, who set John Cobbett on his path.

In December 2001, Cobbett — a longtime Mission District rocker and guitar hero with such notably heavy outfits as Slough Feg, Ludicra, and Hammers of Misfortune — was on the East Coast visiting his identical twin brother, Aaron, a photographer living in Brooklyn, just across the East River from the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center.

"I visited the site. It was at night and freezing cold," Cobbett notes. Read more »

Freewheelin'

Doing it and getting it, or not, with the Trucks
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True to the post-postmodern hyperreal world of the inner-Web, I hit the Trucks' MySpace page before I'd heard their 2006 self-titled CD (Clickpop). Browsing through their photo pages, I saw toy xylophones, lots of keyboards, underwear on the outside, leg warmers, pigtails, and more stripes than a Quiet Riot promo photo. A brief listen to their posted tracks left me feeling old and arrhythmic. Read more »

People's choice

How Lloyd "King Jammy" James changed dancehall and triggered the genre's '80s evolution
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"We ram dancehall and cork party / Papa Jammy in your area."

Johnny Osbourne

The 1980s was a turbulent decade in Jamaica. Government control had shifted from Michael Manley's socialist-leaning People's National Party to Edward Seaga's free market–oriented Jamaican Labour Party. Read more »

On white planes

Booka Shade fly the friendly skies
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By Johnny Ray Huston

johnny@sfbg.com

Life on tour isn't just about partying. It's partly about crafty use of time and space. In that sense, the German electronic duo Booka Shade are expert pragmatists. Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier don't just attempt to write songs while they're on planes or in hotel rooms — they'll record them as well. "In a traditional studio you always have the same atmosphere. Day and night changes, of course, yet it's basically the same," Kammermeier explains over the phone from Berlin. Read more »

Purple reign

G-Stack and V-White of East Oakland's Delinquents drop some very unhyphy solo projects as they contemplate a final album together
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I first heard the Delinquents in 1999, when "That Man!" was in heavy rotation on KMEL. Its subject matter — caring for the kids while the wifey's out cheating — was unique in gangsta rap. "We came from the left with that," G-Stack says, yet the freshness of the concept, combined with a funky Mike D beat and memorable Harm hook, made it an instant classic. Read more »

Axis power

Japanese kraut rock? Fujiya & Miyagi really aren't either
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It has been noted in the mostly laudatory press surrounding their collection of 10-inch EPs, Transparent Things (Tirk/Word and Sound), that Fujiya & Miyagi aren't Japanese. Nor are they a duo. Read more »

Pop goes Panther

A hip-spasming dose of damaged soul
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Prince may have his devoted popites canonizing those purple-clad jewels once again after his recent Super Bowl halftime performance, but in Portland, Ore., there's an equally crude one-man dance-aster who could soon take the crown from His Royal Badass. This beat blaster and master, however, comes in the form of a scrawny gyrator whose elasticlike body rapidly contorts, recoils, and slams against walls during his pop-flushed freak-outs.

Since 2002, Panther, a.k.a. Read more »

Frosty love

Have some coke and a frown with The Clipse
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By Johnny Ray Huston

johnny@sfbg.com

First things first: even if there's been a Michael Mann remake of Miami Vice between the day that Pusha T and Malice first rhymed about Tubbs and Crockett and now, Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury (Re Up Gang/Star Trak, 2006) also hath no shortage of extraordinary future-sounds. Read more »