Music Features

Taking spills

Built to Spill's Doug Martsch bounces back
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> kimberly@sfbg.com

It takes a lot to knock an obsession out of Built to Spill singer-songwriter-guitarist Doug Martsch. Behind the beard, the down-low home life with wife and child, and the phone conversation padded with softly undercutting "Oh, I dunno's," once lay the heart of a raging pickup basketball junkie.
"I kinda got sucked into the NBA play-offs seven or eight years ago," explains Martsch, 37, from his home in Boise, Idaho. Read more »

THE LATE, GREAT JOBRIATH

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Before Hedwig was a glimmer in John Cameron Mitchell's eye, before some Bowie-imitation bathhouse spillage bloomed into Velvet Goldmine's Brian Slade, before Freddie Mercury was frightened mid-rhapsody by thunderbolts and lightning, there was Jobriath, the first (and the lost) truly out, gay glam rock star. Read more »

Calleth he, calleth I

The Ark's 21st-century rock star Ola Salo does his thing, shoots, and scores
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> johnny@sfbg.com

When I reach the Ark's rock idol Ola Salo on the phone at his apartment in Malmö, Sweden, he's getting ready to meet friends to watch his country's team take on Paraguay in the World Cup. Sheer lack of time calls for forward gestures, so I ask him to describe his boudoir, a CD- and book-strewn "one and a half" room apartment. "It looks like a pretty storage room," he says, amusedly. "I have a plastic chandelier. I've got my big black piano and my black angel wings. Read more »

Life's a Giant Drag

And it doesn't help if you write song titles like "You Fuck like My Dad"
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› a&e@sfbg.com

Has anyone ever chosen a more appropriate band name than Annie Hardy?

Speaking with the 24-year-old singer and guitarist of Los Angeles's Giant Drag, I find it impossible to imagine a moniker that better captures the depressing nature of both her band's narcotic grunge-pop songs and her own almost comically defeated outlook on life. She expresses so much bemused disappointment in conversation, in fact, that the name almost seems like an understatement.Read more »

Beast of the Bay

What better song to toast 6/6/06 than Iron Maiden's "The Number of the Beast"?
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the Beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short.... Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty six.

Revelation 13:18Read more »

Schlock tease

Country Teasers jab at the darker crannies of whiteness
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duncan@sfbg.com

"I must have been bit by a spider when I was very young," Country Teasers vocalist Ben Wallers drones on "Spiderman in the Flesh," the opening track to the band's new album, The Empire Strikes Back (In the Red). Read more »

Prep's cool

Ral Partha Vogelbacher proudly fly a pink and green freak flag
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kimberly@sfbg.com

The unassuming men of Ral Partha Vogelbacher are a lot like those nondescript, quietly simmering step sitters of high school their noses buried in books of arcane geography, color theory, and Hapsburg history, mentally dancing along a thin pink and green line between fact and fantasy while their butts are parked in concrete, institutional reality. Imagine Ral Partha as a country and what its five-year plan might be. Read more »

Brilliant corners

All hail the Dislocated Genius of Chelonis R. Jones's electronic soul
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johnny@sfbg.com In the last year of the 20th century, Kodwo Eshun charted musical forms of Afrofuturism in the book More Brilliant than the Sun. Six years into the 21st century, I wonder what Eshun would think of Chelonis R. Jones.

"Camera! Lights! Action!" The words at the very beginning of Jones's debut Dislocated Genius herald an ambivalent performance. "I didn't want to burn it now, burn cork to dance and sing," he soon recites with lack of affect over a marching beat.

Read more »

Sleazy does it

You're soaking in that highbrow dirty humor and sucking down Cotton Candy
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duncan@sfbg.com

Sometimes you want to be, as Thomas Gray so eloquently put it, "far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife." This is exactly how I felt as, against my quasi-agoraphobic intuition, I walked into the Make-Out Room to see San Francisco's Cotton Candy this spring. Read more »

Dishin

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For a complete schedule of the 10th annual Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival shows and events (May 14–22), go to www.mcmf.org. Check Noise, the Guardian's music blog, at www.sfbg.com/blogs/music, for more Mission Creek festival coverage.

Ane BrunRead more »