Music Features

Straight outta Mill Valley

The Abi Yoyos grow legs and skirt scenes
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Some time has passed since people routinely looked in 924 Gilman Street's direction to familiarize themselves with what's new and interesting in Bay Area rock. However, this doesn't mean that nothing worthwhile passes through its doors. Read more »

In bed with the Long Winters

Masterfully eloquent longing -- of the drunken rapist kind.
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It's become popular to characterize the Long Winters' John Roderick as an intellectual ronin of sorts: a librarian without master who travels the countryside lending his songs and wisdom to brainy 826 benefits. Read more »

Sweet dreams

Tom Carter, Charalambides, and Playmobil tableaux conjure another world
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"It definitely contributes to this kind of cavelike, sort of womblike environment up here."
Tom Carter is surveying his kingdom, a.k.a. the Oakland apartment he shares with his partner, Natacha Robinson, and we both try to make the connection between Charalambides, his 15-year-old duo with ex Christina Carter, and the hundreds of Playmobil figurines that populate damn near every surface around him. The only Playmobil-free space seems to be Carter's cranny-cum-closet-cum-studio housing a computer equipped with Pro Tools and sundry plug-ins that simulate analog effects. Read more »

Smile when you say "mockney"

UK ska-pop princess Lily Allen rules the Euro-singles school
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For those of you living in a cool-free cave out by the FM tower, Lily Allen is hot property. Read more »

Writing wrongs

Billy Bragg keeps the progressive home fires burning and cynicism at bay.
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If there's one person you would expect to condemn the present state of America's political affairs, it would be Billy Bragg, right? Surely Britain's punk poet laureate should be grabbing every microphone within reaching distance to decry the evils of our current administration. But surprisingly, his reaction is quite the opposite. Read more »

Restoration Hardcore

KDVS's Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom IV fest
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Davis might not have those frog signs along the westbound side of Highway 80 anymore — "Live in Davis because it's green, safe, and nuclear free.... Read more »

Rock till you drop

Hyphy or just plain hyped? The Mall aren't buying the retail pop narcotic.
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"They're the ones that pushed E-40 into hyphy," says Hamburger Eyes photographer Dave Potes, in reference to his friends the Mall, a San Francisco art punk trio, and the hype that surrounds them.
"Yeah, we're part of the hyphy movement," adds Mall guitarist-keyboardist Daniel Tierney, 27, and his bandmates erupt into cacophonous chuckling.
I've heard the "h" word dropped incessantly for weeks now and have pretended to be hip to the Bay Area hip-hop phenomenon. Read more »

Grizzly man

Grizzly Bear's Yellow House is warm and welcoming
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New York City band Grizzly Bear's gently ambient Yellow House (Warp) manages to delicately conjure bittersweet associations of musty, memory-cluttered childhood homes and reference Charlotte Perkins Gilman's feminist-modernist novel The Yellow Wall-Paper — but the real household dirt on this band has to remain in one's imagination.
Vocalist-keyboardist-guitarist-autoharpist Edward Droste is up-front about his own sexuality — saying he's been in a relationship with one man for most of the band's existence — but when it comes to the love lives of his straight mates, the sometime journalist and P Read more »

Boys? What boys?

Boyskout's leader Leslie Satterfield sets the Mission camp aflame
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I meet bandleader, videographer, and Mission District indie icon Leslie Satterfield at Ritual café on a summer evening as she walks up Valencia Street looking weather-beaten and weary from her recent travels. Is she just back from a cross-country tour, I wonder? No, she was precisely where you'd expect the guitarist from Boyskout to have been: camping. Read more »

Bringing Knives out

Metric's Emily Haines steps out alone with a solo disc
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Emily Haines is not known for keeping her thoughts to herself.
As part of Toronto's Metric, the notoriously outspoken singer-keyboardist incorporates her political beliefs into wildly infectious synth-rock songs. On 2003's Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (Everloving) and last fall's Live It Out (Last Gang), Haines tackled such unlikely pop-song subject matters as war, Big Brother, and the emptiness of consumer culture with thrilling, often thought-provoking results. Read more »