Music Features

The other home of Bay hip-hop

Move over, Oakland and exurbia hyphy — San Francisco's Fillmore District unleashes its own fresh wave of rappers
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If you don't know about the Filthy ’Moe
It's time I let real game unfold....
Messy Marv, "True to the Game"
I meet Big Rich on the corner of Laguna and Grove streets, near the heart of the Fillmore District according to its traditional boundaries of Van Ness and Fillmore, although the hood actually extends as far west as Divisadero. "Me personally," the 24-year-old rapper and lifelong ’Moe resident confesses, "I don't be sticking my head out too much. Read more »

Smart and dangerous

Twisted fun, too much sun, Stanford cool kids, and the Fucking Ocean
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The Fucking Ocean are seriously fucking refreshing: they've taken cues from Mark E. Smith and Ian MacKaye alike to produce biting, sincere post-punk that's nigh anomalous in American music. In band member John Nguyen's San Francisco home, the current three-piece talked about their politics, new record, playing under the stairs at the Edinburgh Castle, and a shared affinity for Mexican food and DC punk.
It was collegiate rock enthusiasm that initially helped bring about this ensemble. Read more »

Mod couple

Canadian producer Moonstarr and New Orleans rapper Voice cook up a tasty Gumbo
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One of the hottest hip-hop albums of the year comes from the unlikely combination of a six-foot-seven Canadian producer and a New Orleans mother of two. Read more »

Goldies Music winner Deerhoof

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It's hard to picture a band as wild, mild, and Apple O'–pie sweet as Deerhoof causing a ruckus — yet they really have. Just picture the humidly frantic, hopped-up, and happy sold-out scene last year at the release show for Runners Four (5RC) at the Great American Music Hall. Or the national CMJ college radio chart assault by that same brave, increasingly addictive album, notable for the way it brings the voices of Deerhoof's crack instrumentalists — drummer Greg Saunier, guitarist John Dieterich, and bassist Chris Cohen — to the fore along with vocalist-guitarist Satomi Matsuzaki. Read more »

Goldies Music winner Gris Gris

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The incredible thing about discovering a genuinely good band is that it has the ability to throw your entire world out of whack.
The Gris Gris are cooler than your older cousin's garage rock band, the one that first introduced you to a world outside of MTV. They're grittier than that home-recorded cassette you bought at your first punk rock show, and they're more revolutionary than the moment you realized it was OK to like the music that your parents listen to. Read more »

Goldies Music winner Om

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Possibly the heaviest band to ever receive a Goldie from the Guardian, Om consists of drummer Chris Hakius and bass player Al Cisneros, who met in high school in the ’80s and have been playing on-and-off together ever since. Along with guitarist Matt Pike, Hakius and Cisneros formed the landmark ’90s stoner doom–Sabbath worship metal band Sleep, which you better know all about by now.
A couple years ago, after a fairly long hiatus from playing music, Hakius and Cisneros began working together again. Read more »

Goldies Music winner Traxamillion

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When I met Traxamillion, the young producer-rapper was in the lab with Balance, recording a faithful cover of EPMD's "You're a Customer" for a Mind Motion mixtape. Naturally, I would have preferred seeing Trax record an original, but watching him vibe to a classic was perhaps more revelatory. Where many producers insist on their isolation from outside influences, Trax is an unapologetic lover of music.
"Everybody's a fan," the musician, born in East Orange, NJ, and raised in San Jose, points out. "Somebody inspired somebody to make a beat, to rap. That's how I go about my beats. Read more »

San Francisco Jazz Festival: Particular and infinite

Samba and musical collaboration are a way of life, a mode of communication for Marisa Monte
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Marisa Monte is a true musician. Her albums routinely go putf8um around the world, and her shows sell out wherever she plays — whether in or out of her native Brazil — but her approach is not at all that of a pop star. Her musical background is rich and combines the samba traditions of her hometown, Rio de Janeiro, European classical opera training, and Brazilian and international popular music. Music for her is not a means to an end but a process, a way of life, as she explained by phone from her home in Rio.
"I don't do a career. Read more »

San Francisco Jazz Festival: Something else

The musical journeys and spiritual quest of Alice Coltrane
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"Music is the celestial sound. And it is sound that controls the whole universe, not atomic vibrations. Sound energy, sound power, is much greater than any other power in this world."
Swami Satchidananda addressing the audience at Woodstock, 1969

Each year, in addition to its roster of standard jazz players, the San Francisco Jazz Festival tucks a few cards up its sleeve. The past few years have seen performances by the likes of Caetano Veloso, Ravi Shankar, Orchestra Baobab, and João Gilberto, for example. Read more »

Rock between wars: Ecstatic Sunshine

No boring moments on the zippy Freckle Wars
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Vocalless but intensely lyrical electric-guitar duo Ecstatic Sunshine take risks on their first non-CD-R release, Freckle Wars (Carpark) — namely by eschewing a drummer or even a drum machine despite a tendency to craft manic post-rock buildups that seem to predict explosive toms and thundering cymbals. But these happy rockers are more interested in preparing sunshine than predicting rain. For two guys with guitars, they make remarkably unindulgent music.
"Most of the songs took us months to write," Ecstatic Sunshiner Dustin Wong said on the phone from the group's Baltimore practice space. Read more »