Music

Twin stars

Space and silence and uncanny intuition add up to the xx

|
()

arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Can two voices get any closer — or be laid any more bare — than those of the xx's Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim? The band's spare, pared-down pop is so minimally cloaked, with either instrumentation or pretense, that you could swear the pair were scarily close-knit sibs: the Chang and Eng of U.K. rock — the doubled letters of the xx seem less like a set of female chromosomes than a symbolic representation of Croft and Sim's doubling.Read more »

Keep the faith

Little Dragon escapes the R&B-according-to-hipsters pitfall

|
()

Dreams on 45

Sonny Smith brings you "100 Records" — and the jukebox to play them

|
()

A chillwave primer

Washed Out caps one of a growing number of electronic new waves

|
()

arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Chillwave is atmospheric and can fill the background, washing over you and allowing you to float through the world, or it can work as foreground with drastic beats that make you dance. Chillwave relaxes and excites. You feel it all around yourself. It's multifunctional: the perfect backdrop for walks through SF on blue-sky days, for dipping your toes in the sun-speckled sand, for stealing kisses with your lover, for dance parties. It's faded and fuzzy synth-pop of blissed-out beauty.Read more »

Double vision

Montage master Johan Grimonprez clones Hitchcock

|
()

The just-reissued Vampires of Dartmore album Dracula's Music Cabinet (Finders Keepers) includes a track titled "Hallo, Mr. Hitchcock," in which beloved Hitch silently answers a series of phone calls from a manic, murderous prankster. The track isn't used in Johan Grimonprez's latest unconventional film essay Double Take, but it would be ideal material for the movie. Read more »

Straight from the heart

Best Coast craft love letters to and from California

|
()

MUSIC It's typical to want to leave everything behind at times, because everything just seems the same after a while, no matter where you're from. When Bethany Cosentino ventured to New York City for college and hated being walled in by the snow and skyscrapers, she inundated herself with the warm melodies of the Beach Boys, surf music and 1960s girl groups — the soundtrack of her native California. Read more »

Wise "Blood"

Yeasayer says no to predictability on its sophomore album

|
()

MUSIC Most bands change over time. Change makes most people uncomfortable. I — for all intents and purposes — am most people. Therefore, when a band I care about changes, most of the time I feel uncomfortable.Read more »

Doom and decay

The slow and stoned sound of Saint Vitus — born too late, or too early?
|
()

MUSIC The Bay Area has a strange relation with its musical past — accounts of Phil Lesh's recent somnambulation among the living attest to this, but the same can be said about much of the past 10 years. For better or worse, as the early '00s crawled back into the woods to die, many of us were left with the impression that the past 10 years were composed of a series of disorganized, vaguely parasitic gestures, a theme party where every group of new guests seems to ape a different decade. Read more »

Sound effects

Mincemeat or Tenspeed put the pedal to the mettle
|
()

MUSIC One can infer a lot about a musician's relationship to hardcore from their effects pedals. Black Flag pissed off the jocks by growing their hair out and exploring ponderous jam-band territory, but modulating the guitar signal might have been a more serious affront. Black Dice took the latter tack, with Bjorn Copeland's guitar playing the role of sound generator in contrast to Greg Ginn's Tourette's-stricken riff machine. Read more »

Welcome to violence

Madlib, now in his hardcore phase, hands out sonic pamphlets like a prophet of doom
|
()

MUSIC Late last year, Stones Throw Records announced it would release a full-length album of tunes by its veritable resident producer, Madlib, in 2010 ... every month. Dubbed Madlib Medicine Show, the 12-part series sounds like a rap nerd fantasy.Read more »