Music

Gone, here

The promises of yesterday and tomorrow through Sa-Ra and Shafiq Husayn
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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC No one has ever heard the real Sa-Ra, declares Shafiq Husayn during an evening phone interview. And I believe him.

Formed in 2001 between L.A. musicians Om'mas Keith, Taz Arnold, and Husayn (a former rapper/producer in Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate crew), Sa-Ra Creative Partners is more powerful as a myth than an actual group. It emerged in 2004 as part of Kanye West's ill-fated G.O.O.D. Music venture with Columbia, fomenting buzz for its never-released debut, Black Fuzz. Read more »

Songs of Norway

Annie's Don't Stop brings the perfect pop
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MUSIC Hey Annie fans, relax. How many pop princesses are savvy enough to begin the intro verse of an album's kickoff song with a couplet that casually and subtly incorporates the titles of Shannon's "Let the Music Play" and Chaka Khan's "I Feel for You"? Years in the making, Don't Stop (Smalltown Supersound) has gone through more permutations than a combinatronics expert could comprehend, yet our girl brings the goods — the first seven songs are quip-sharp, catwalk-strut perfection, especially the initial one-two-three punch. Read more »

Punk-rock farewell

Recession sinks Annie's Social Club
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cheryl@sfbg.com

MUSIC In late October, I spent a particularly thrilling evening at Annie's Social Club, watching North Carolina-by-way-of-Venus band Valient Thorr fling copious sweat beads into a beer-soaked crowd. Annie's, one of my favorite spots in San Francisco, was the perfect setting for the show — cozy (but not cramped), dark and low-ceiling'd enough to feel like the coolest basement ever, and packed full of friendly punk and metal fans. Read more »

Trimmings

Talkin' turkey with Joker, Sergio Fedasz of Go Bang!, Monistat the Chaser, and Lowdown's Roost Uno
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superego@sfbg.com

SUPER EGO Child, there is no better place to digest your Thanksgiving giblets than a leather bar. (For all my non-homo homies and vegan amigos, meet me at the rather hopping Mission Hill Saloon — 491 Potrero, SF — for some cheap après-pie Chimay. I'll bring the family-recovery Vicodin. Is Vicodin vegan? Anyway.) Hunky and slightly distressed-skin leather queens will actually cruise the holiday fat off those chunky drumsticks poking through your peek-a-boo chaps with their hungry, hungry, laser-beam eyes. Read more »

Friends forever

Peter Bjorn and John celebrates 10 years of togetherness, Them Crooked Vultures dive into the wreck
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arts@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER We can't all cozy up like Plant and Krauss, Timberlake and Timbaland. Fantasy jam sessions sometimes remain just that, as Slash found out when Jack White rejected the ex-Guns slinger's request for a guest turn, but, hey, you can dream: Animal Collective's Panda Bear paired with Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste — bear with me — or Droste coupled with Dirty Projectors' David Longstreth. Read more »

x plus x equals xx

Two takes on tracks by the xx from the album xx
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x one: 2009 is 1989 all over again. Exhibit 89: The xx intro themselves near Fascination Street, somewhere across the city from the fine times and vanishing points where Memory Tapes currently resides. Truth be told, that year is just one of many pre-millennial ones this sneaky group taps into and renovates. Their minor key, lowercase late night musings shine darkly like Young Marble Giants circa-1979. Read more »

Perfect kiss

Neon Indian mines synth pop gold from the psychic chasms of the '80s
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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC When Black Sabbath comes on, I'm instantly transported to those high school days of driving myself to class and headbanging to every track on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Warner Bros., 1973) so hard I could barely see the road. Led Zeppelin forced me to do ridiculous amounts of air guitar in my room, while the Beatles saw me go through puberty and live in fear of the male species. Read more »

The sky is his

Dam-Funk pilots a Sylver-streaked 21st-century G-funk trek to the heavens
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arts@sfbg.com

Call it revenge of the G-funk era.

Yes, the sound that sparked a bicoastal beef and led to the murder of two rap superstars has made a roaring comeback. It invited mimicry (Kriss Kross' 1992 "Jump" and the Notorious B.I.G.'s 1994 "Big Poppa"); scorn ("It's the money," DJ Shadow noted with dripping sarcasm as he queued up that bleating keyboard line once more on "Why Hip Hop Sucks in '96"); and eventually got played-out like flannel shirts and Doc Martens. But now, it has returned. Read more »

Dutch trick

Tiësto still pop-trances out stadiums, but he's got his eye on the charts
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superego@sfbg.com

SUPER EGO Say what you will about trance: it happened.

In fact, it happened two ways. The first, in all its flaming-poi-twirling, shaman-transcendentalist, goa-gamma-psy-matrix glory, is rooted in underground dance movements of the 1980s, and still provides a few subversive, head-pounding kicks. Read more »

Komeback Kink

Do you remember the Village Green Preservation Society?
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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC MLK's and Bobby Kennedy's assassinations, shaken confidence in Vietnam after a bloody and vengeful Tet Offensive, Haight-Ashbury's rapid dissolving into a breeding ground for lost and burned-out hippies pathetically clinging to the idyllic notion of a "Summer of Love," and a free Charles Manson settling in Laurel Canyon to plot the perverse and gruesome murders his "family" would soon commit. Yes, 1968 was the year the darkness had arrived. Read more »