Music Features

No cheeseburger status updates

Bryan McPherson struggles with contradictions in American culture

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By Aaron Carnes

arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Singer-songwriter Bryan McPherson had this nagging feeling three years ago, that he needed to leave Boston and relocate to the Bay Area. Even he didn't understand from where this itch grew.

"I came out here to go west, just to go somewhere, go as far away as possible, for whatever reason," McPherson explains.Read more »

ABCs of tuneage

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: Follow the sonic alphabet of SF

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emilysavage@sfbg.com

FALLS ARTS The official last day of fall is Dec. 20 (seems really late, doesn't it?). In between now and then, and in these brisk summer days leading up to the official seasonal shift, there's a wide array of noise, just waiting to burst your eardrums 'till they bleed with joy.

Here's a mnemonic device to help you remember some noteworthy upcoming shows and a few general SF music factoids. Read aloud:Read more »

Fools in love

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: The Fresh and Onlys have the record they've always dreamed of making in 'Long Slow Dance'

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Suspended in the groove

Floating Points' unlikely reconfiguration of dance music

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Out of nowhere an isolated house groove surfaced from the ether of the Internet and touched an unexpected chord. It was called "Love Me Like This," a throbbing re-edit of the early 1980s track of the same title from R&B group Real to Reel. Its author was an unknown British musician going by the name of Floating Points, a gerund whose aerial element reminded me at the time of another producer closer to home, Flying Lotus.Read more »

Outer limits

The big ones, the locals, the global travelers, and Beer Lands at this year's Outside Lands

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Last year, we thought it couldn't get better, and then it upped the ante. Outside Lands 2012 takes place this weekend, and the lineup is packed with legendary performers, reunited favorites, and flashy newcomers, pieced together (some overlapping) in a masterful Golden Gate frame, outlined by all that glorious flora and fog.Read more »

Protest song

Occupella, Entirely Talia, and more keep the art of political music alive in the Bay

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arts@sfbg.com

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 »

Halcyon days

Two Gallants recharge with their first new release in five years — and a slot at Outside Lands

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emilysavage@sfbg.com

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 »

Melody machers

SF Jewish Film Festival music docs examine violin wunderkinds, Orthodox hip-hop artists, and Ben Lee

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>>Read Cheryl Eddy's take on this year's SFJFF documentaries here.

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 »

They want to believe

Grass Widow looked to the cosmos — and inward to San Francisco — for inspiration on its new record Internal Logic

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emilysavage@sfbg.com

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 »

Retro future

Danish music producer Tomas Barfod moves forward without escaping his past

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arts@sfbg.com

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 »