Music Features

Goldie winner -- Music: Kirby Dominant

New wave thuggin' and contemplative domination
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In hip-hop the path to wisdom passes through comedy. It's been that way since Biz Markie got people thinking about romance and friendship and De la Soul got touchy-feely over Steely Dan samples. Think of Prince Paul, who could teach Woody Allen a thing or two about using psychoanalysis as a filter for funny societal commentary. Think of Kool Keith, a man of many masks who has riffed on medical authority as creatively as Prince Paul. Kirby Dominant is adding hot-like-fuchsia chapters to this tradition. Read more »

Goldie winner -- Music: Non-Stop Bhangra

Lose yourself in the rum-tum-tum
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A swish of beaded cerulean silk, jingles of hammered gold, the rousing ring of a tabla — and it's on, desi darlings. Read more »

Global chilling

Pioneering UK producer Tom Middleton releases his debut
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In 1994 an album came out that nearly put a class of DJs out of work. Those manning the decks at so-called chill-out rooms in countless clubs had good reason to fear Global Communication's 76:14 (Arista), for its lush, emotive melodies and almost infinite attention to detail maintained the excitement that surrounded electronic music at the time while fostering a desultory, languid mood. Read more »

Hail "Conqueror"

The heavy evangelism of Jesu's Justin Broadrick
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

"Is that the venue? It looks like a shack!" Justin Broadrick says, and his bandmates laugh uproariously. They've just pulled up outside their venue in Austin, Texas, and it's not looking good. "Sorry," he apologizes to me on his cell phone. "It looks like a shed!" Broadrick is only joking, in surprisingly good spirits for being sick and a man who has a reputation as the king of bombast, the creative force behind the grindcore of Napalm Death in the '80s and the psychotic industrial blast beats of Godflesh in the '90s. Read more »

A shot from the Sahel

Tinariwen's songs of struggle
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Many moons ago, when I moved as a child to Africa, my mother, my sister, and I resided in the Sahel. To be precise: we lived in Bamako, the vibrant capital city of Mali — not to be confused with the medieval empire of the same name. To reside there as a Western black was strange; our Americanness placed us in the novel position of being regarded as de facto aristos, somewhere between such elevated classes as wealthy, regal descendents of the Keita clan and the dispossessed, which included Imazighen exiles. Read more »

From our Bay to Norway

A trip beyond space disco through the super sounds of Oslo and San Francisco
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johnny@sfbg.com

I hear a new world calling me. It's beeping transmissions from some faraway place in the future and the past where a mysterious craft hovers near calypso rock and choruses of friendly voices — some human, some not — echo or call to each other. It's a free-floating territory charted by someone obsessed with creating and sharing sounds that would otherwise go unheard. Only those with a similar obsession seem to respond to its clarion call.

I hear a new world, so strange and so real. Read more »

Bubblegum and barbed wire kisses

The Jesus and Mary Chain resurrected
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Somehow it seems morbidly appropriate that a band like the Jesus and Mary Chain would reappear in a year that has witnessed the sad demise of country tunesmith and pop maverick Lee Hazlewood and the grisly murder trial of überproducer and pop maverick Phil Spector. Siblings straight from a David Cronenberg film, William and Jim Reid had an obsession with classic pop music matched only bya lugubrious death drive. Read more »

"A cautionary tale, carefully delivered"

Fighting words from Oxbow's Eugene Robinson
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duncan@sfbg.com

Make no mistake: Eugene Robinson is a throwback — to a time when people used words like honor without being ironic or embarrassed. Read more »

Death balm

Another Kevin Shields
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Thurston Moore–ites still absorbing the noiseless acoustics of Trees Outside the Academy, his sophomore full-length released last month on his Ecstatic Peace imprint, may be unaware of another basement romp from the Sonic Youth guitarist, which the Los Angeles label Deathbomb Arc put out as a vinyl-only split in August. Read more »

Ready to break out of the farm leagues

Oakland's Ike Dola makes the leap
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

You can't imagine all the types of shit I've seen in my life

You can't imagine all the pain 'til you look in my eyes

Ike Dola, "This Is My Life"

I met Ike Dola two days after his father died. Not only did the 23-year-old East Oakland MC keep our appointment, but he'd also performed the same day his father succumbed to cancer. Read more »