Music Features

Keys of life

Pianist George Michalski tickles SF's ivories
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PIANO MAN On April 13, 1957, at an assembly room in the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, George Michalski gave his first piano recital. He played John W. Schaum's "Snake Dance" and "The Sphinx" and closed with "My First Waltz," by Bjarne Rolseth, from G. Schirmer's Piano Solo series for students. "My mom was so excited leaving the house that she tripped and sprained her ankle," Michalski remembers. Read more »

Go west, young band

Low Red Land: Creedence meets the Meat Puppets
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Sometimes you get lucky. Every week I have to find a picture to run in the club guide, and one week I picked Low Red Land. They later sent me a self-released 2006 CD titled The Weight of Nations. The disc stayed in my truck's deck for a week.

The trio of 26-year-olds — Mark Devito on drums, Ben Thorne on bass, and Neil Thompson on guitar and vocals — is also no stranger to intuition. Having met at Hamilton College in New York, they'd originally been a four-piece called Great American with another college buddy, Matthew Stringer. Read more »

Deer me

Deerhunter weather the odds -- and deny boners
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Weathered over the years by lineup changes, tension-fueled recording sessions, and a band member's death, Atlanta's Deerhunter have endured their share of setbacks since forming in 2001. But wherever chaos laughs itself into a tizzy, there lurks a handsome reward just waiting to jump out and squeeze our brooding bunch from the Big Peach. Read more »

Endless things

The Junior Boys channel senior citizens to create future sounds
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johnny@sfbg.com

Into the past or on to the future? That's the push-pull current that charges the Junior Boys. The tension is even casually present during an interview with the Canadian duo's singer and veteran member, Jeremy Greenspan. Read more »

On the download: Plan B

Who Needs Action When You Got Words
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PLAN B

Who Needs Actions When You Got Words

(Cordless Recordings)

"It's disgraceful like getting caught pissing in the sink," new British rap talent to watch Plan B spits during one of the many raw, attention-grabbing moments on his stateside debut, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words. Born Ben Drew, Plan B is the angry, guitar-strumming, Cockney-accented East End, London, rapper whose thought-provoking, hardcore lyrics are exactly what hip-hop needs. Read more »

Sincerely again

After 15 years, the Frames still mean well
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Seven minutes into the Frames' latest album, The Cost (Anti-), during a song titled "Falling Slowly," the Dublin, Ireland, veterans capture everything off-putting about their music in two stanzas splayed over a glassy-eyed piano: "Take this sinking boat / And point it home / We've still got time // Raise your hopeful voice / You have a choice / You've made it now."

If vocalist Glen Hansard's tired poesy weren't winceworthy enough, the fact that he's pulled it out on wistful anthem number two of 10 would seem to cast The Cost as the kind of repetit Read more »

Their days are numbered

Lucky Six Parts Seven find happiness without vocals, making delectable sounds
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We're all having a tough time these days in the Bay Area. It might be the worriment of the imminent tax day, our skyrocketing rent, or the recent dissolution of a rocky relationship. Or it could be as mundane as the feeling brought on by chasing down your morning commute through the pouring rain, only to realize that you forgot your bus fare once you finally catch up to it. Read more »

Going mobile

Funky Riddm Records survives the merciless music industry by taking it to the Berkeley streets
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On a recent sunny afternoon in Berkeley, the head-nodding rhythms of Barrington Levy's '80s dancehall hit "Here I Come" could be heard wafting down Telegraph Avenue. As the outdoor reggae mix continued, the music's mysterious source soon became evident. Right off the ave on the corner of Haste were two chunky 10-inch JBL speakers, booming. Read more »

New pluck

Anoushka Shankar strikes out on her own
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

As the daughter of an international musical legend and sister to an entertainment phenomenon, Anoushka Shankar could be weighted down with baggage. But the young sitar virtuoso shows no sign of being bent or bowed. She makes music with her father and teacher, sitar master Ravi Shankar, but shares a tattoo, on the curve of the lower back, with her famous older sister, Norah Jones, with whom she is quite close, despite Norah and Ravi's oft-reported distance. Anoushka might even be considered a bridge, maintaining strong familial bonds with both. Read more »

Beyond the valley of vinyl

Multiple Otomo is an ear-scorching blast of mind's-eye candy
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johnny@sfbg.com

No one turns the tables on the turntable quite like Otomo Yoshihide. San Francisco is a renowned turntablist holy land, thanks to the Return of the DJ comps David Paul has put out on Bomb Records, and the stylus-stylish feats of Q-Bert and the Invisibl Skratch Picklz. Yet the most audio-inventive and visionary SF-set turntable achievements to date probably reside within the new CD-DVD Multiple Otomo (Asphodel), largely recorded during the artist's recent Bay Area visit. Read more »