Music Features

Year in Music: Keep on truckin'

Beats that drive motorists crazy
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I do a lot of driving, which sucks. I don't like cars. They stress me out, they mess up the environment, and even 10-year-old minivans are stupidly expensive, but I live in the sticks and do a lot of traveling to places where public transportation is an urban myth, so I don't have much of a choice. However, one thing makes long trips in the car bearable: DJ mixes. Read more »

Year in Music: Nonplussed and pissed

High-impact concertgoing in 2007
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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 »

Year in Music: Grievous angel

Possessions, obsessions made visible
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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 »

Year in Music: Sub obsession

Dubstep from the edge
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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 »

Year in Music: Long walk home

Reconnecting with the Boss
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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 »

Year in Music: Too many Top 10s

Fave-rave lists from Mochipet, Ben Chasny, Bart Davenport, Richie Unterberger, and more
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MOCHIPET'S TOP 10 NOT RELATED TO HIMSELF OR DALY CITY RECORDS

SOLO ARTIST, DALY CITY RECORDS

1. A-Trak, Dirty South Dance (Obey)

2. Dan Deacon, Spiderman of the Rings (Carpark)

3. High on Fire, Death Is This Communion (Relapse)

4. Chris De Luca vs. Phon.o, Shotgun Wedding Vol. 7 (Violent Turd)

5. Ludicra, "In Fever," Sonic Terror Surge 2007 (Alternative Tentacles)

6. Nanos Operetta

7. Larytta, Ya-Ya-Ya (Creaked)

8. GoldieLocks

9. Read more »

Year in Music: Tinny bubbles

Viva el lo-fi revolution
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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 »

Year in Music: Time out?

The good, the Bay, and the hyphy
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This ain't the hyphy movement, bra-bra.

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 »

Year in Music: Hot tomboy love

Keyshia Cole fills in pop's blanks
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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 »

Year in Music: Lady day and night

Rehab the good girl–bad girl paradigm
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kimberly@sfbg.com

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 »