Usually around Halloween, I start a top 10 list in my head of the best musical moments of the past year, both live and recorded. Maybe it's my fucked-up state of late I'm not feeling too thrilled about anything but the idea of making such a list didn't cross my mind until a week ago. I had no obsessions, no CD that wouldn't leave the deck. But I could remember a few dismal concertgoing experiences:
Jan. 26: The Heartless Bastards play 12 Galaxies on a Friday at the end of a crappy workweek, wherein I was nearly moved to violence against one of my coworkers. Read more »
An archival recording can assume many forms, contexts, meanings. This year saw the reissue of an album unappreciated in its time (Jim Ford's The Sounds of Our Time [Bear Family]), the compilation of genre-bound obscurities (Numero Group's Eccentric Soul series), the live performance (Gram Parsons Archive, Vol. Read more »
When listeners go mad for a track they hear on London's dubstep pirate radio station Rinse FM, the DJ quickly backspins the vinyl or CD turntable and says, "All right, from the edge!" It's an apt metaphor for music that has San Franciscans like myself clinging to bass bins and feverishly tracking the music's forward march from South London across the globe.
Dubstep was 2007's most fun and relevant electronic music form. The sound encompasses our war-weary planet's apocalyptic throb, with the promise of technology's tones twinkling in the distance. Read more »
Years ago I ended up at a San Francisco Water Department dinner with my father and an old neighborhood friend, eating in the back hall of a half-century-old Italian restaurant in the Excelsior. The room spilled over with thick-armed men who were union, white, and not bad-off and from whom I learned a thing or two about old San Francisco family names and accents that tell you if someone is from the Richmond, the old Castro, or Balboa. Read more »
The first time I heard it was in Peru. The pea-colored haze of la garúa the fog of polluted drizzle that swallows Lima fell about the airport as I waited in line for my preflight pat-down last spring. Suddenly, a fake-Baped tweener cut to the front, blaring a bootleg Kanye MP3 on his dinky Motorola cell. Poor Ms. West sounded like she'd been graduated into a bigger, stronger, faster chipmunk. Read more »
Beeda Weeda, "(I Rep Oakland) I Don't Rep the Bay"
It was a strange year for my long-running obsession, Bay Area rap. After two years of steady building, the scene reached a plateau in 2007, for various reasons. On the one hand, many of the hottest acts from OGs San Quinn and E-40 to youngsters J-Stalin and Beeda Weeda dropped discs in '06 and have spent this year prepping follow-ups. Read more »
I've been slowly falling out of love with pop in 2007. The ambulance-chasing addictions of the late George W. Bush era are sick. But I've been slowly falling more and more in love with Keyshia Cole.
Not only is Cole the only pop star I care about, but she's also an Oakland-raised inspiration. Not only am I kinda crushed out on her, but I've also been looking to her as an example of how to live better. Read more »
Judging from the hoo-ha on the message boards and the late-blooming stories coursing through the mainstream media, this may have been the year the music industry business model truly broke. Read more »
I meet B-Legit in Concord for lunch at the Elephant Bar, an appropriately massive venue for a rapper of his stature and talents. With three albums by the Click a group including his cousins E-40, D-Shot, and Suga T and five solos under his belt, B-La hardly needs an introduction. Along with Too $hort, the Click started the Bay's independent hip-hop scene, beginning with their 1989 12-inch under the name MVP. Read more »