MUSIC Woody Guthrie would have turned 100 this summer, and numerous centennial celebrations mean that hundreds of people probably have "This Land is Your Land" stuck in their heads at this exact moment. But Guthrie was as much a political icon as he was a catchy folk singer. His "Union Maid" was the anthem of countless labor struggles, and he wrote a regular column for a communist newspaper. "This Land is Your Land" itself was penned in response to the complacent patriotism of "God Bless America."Read more »
MUSIC Half a decade after their last album release, Two Gallants are back. As you might recall, the folk-punk duo made up of childhood pals guitarist-vocalist Adam Haworth Stephens and drummer-vocalist Tyson Vogel was already something of a legend in San Francisco — known for playing both BART stations and arenas — when it took an unexpectedly lengthy break. There were three years between them playing together, five years between records (their last being 2007's self-titled LP on Saddle Creek).Read more »
SFJFF "All greatness comes from pain." The simple statement comes from Raoul Felder, brother of legendary R&B songwriter Doc Pomus, in the beautiful, crushing mediation on his brother's life, A.K.A. Doc Pomus, the closing-night film of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.Read more »
MUSIC Grass Widow nicknamed the city it calls home "Planet San Francisco." As in, the city is removed from elsewhere, it has its own humming, insular ecosystem. An inhabitable planet all its own that happens to be attached to the rest of the state and country.
The post-punk trio — bassist Hannah Lew, guitarist Raven Mahon, and drummer Lillian Maring — with lush harmonies and no frontperson used both this foggy city of ours and the unknown planets in the sky above as fodder for the electrifying new full-length, Internal Logic.Read more »
MUSIC The sad truth of dance music is that the party necessarily ends. Tailor a song too much for the floor tonight and it's lifeless on the street or in the car tomorrow. Factor in the conflation between EDM and electronic music, and the latter can be all too often stuck in the shadow of the club. With his latest solo album, Salton Sea, Danish music producer Tomas Barfod steps out into new territory.Read more »
MUSIC The heyday of the mixtape was the 1990s, when a mix required a gentle touch with the pause button, careful calculations to make sure the songs fit on the cassette, and a delicate winding of the tape spool with the pinky finger, advancing the clear tape to the magnetic. They took hours to complete. They were fragile, often made in a torrent of teenage lust and given with sweaty palms.
With the San Francisco Mixtape Society, you get a semblance of that experience.Read more »
MUSIC If there was ever a genre that needed a good kick in the ass, it was R&B. For every Aaliyah, there have been ten J. Holidays, content to toe the party line and continue singing those same ol' songs. Lucky for us, a slew of exciting artists (the Weeknd, Miguel, How to Dress Well) have revitalized the genre by crafting progressive work and bringing new influences and ideas into the mix. None has shone brighter than Frank Ocean.Read more »
MUSIC In Jimmie Rodgers' 1930s-era song "The One Rose," the country music pioneer wistfully croons "So blue, so lonesome too, but still true/Rosie haunts me, makes me think of you/You're the one rose that's left in my heart."Read more »
MUSIC In 2003, at Moses Music in East Oakland, I stumbled across a CD labeled "Numskull of the Luniz Presents...Hittaz on tha Payroll, Ghetto Storm" (Hitta Records). I bought it and was blown away, not simply by the rappers — one of whom, Eddi Projex, has gone on to be a Bay hitmaker — but also by the cinematic expressiveness of the music, with its moody, minor-key atmospheres and rapid counterpunctual basslines, courtesy of the Mekanix: Dotrix 4000 and Kenny Tweed.Read more »
MUSIC Apocalypse doesn't exactly identify what Brooklyn-born producer and rapper El-P conjures in his music. Sure, furtive sirens blare out almost immediately in his new record Cancer 4 Cure (Fat Possum). Synthetic melodies disfigure themselves while break beats rumble with the intensity of the Bomb Squad, all drowned out through a wash of distorted noise. The lyrics are just as unsettling too: an overpowering technological violence brought to bear on soft human bodies, whose voices are fractured, rendered nearly schizophrenic.Read more »