MUSIC Now in its fifth year, the Treasure Island Festival maintains a mystifying balance: it's both big enough to attract larger acts (Death Cab for Cutie, Empire of the Sun), and small enough to make the event feel intimate (with eyes closed, it's you alone dancing in the Silent Disco). There are rarely timing issues, one act stops, another begins. Precision and organization enrich a festival, whodathunk?Read more »
MUSIC Hermann Hesse's 1930 novel Narcissus and Goldmund is, more or less, the story of man who wanders Medieval Germany after leaving the monastery in search of the meaning of life. He finds organic pleasures like art and the empowering touch of beautiful women. Eventually given the choice of joining an artists guild, he bows out, instead favoring the freedom of the road less traveled.Read more »
MUSIC "We were listening to these old [Jamaican]records that were just incredibly psychedelic and very alive — breathing and pumping with groovy consciousness," says Alex deLanda, bassist of San Franciscan outfit, Extra Classic. "But they were recorded on four-tracks."Read more »
MAXIMUM CONSUMPTION Looking to gorge on super-sweet, Swedish-made indie pop? Peter, Bjorn, and John, the nearly-twee trio who made whistling cool again for a minute in 2006 with indie hit "Young Folks," is returning to the States for a thematic "All You Can Eat" tour. The band's food-friendly jaunt includes multiple nights in each city, and specialty food truck tie-ins. I spoke with John Eriksson via phone while he hovered near a grilled cheese truck:Read more »
MUSIC Something unexpectedly noisy is happening in the museums of San Francisco. There are two shows taking place in the next couple of weeks that will defy expectations of appropriate gallery sound levels.
The idea for one event was born when artist-quilter Ben Venom wrote a proposal to bring heavy metal music to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Venom's massive heavy metal quilt, See You on the Other Side, is currently on display in between two motorcycle gang-inspired jackets as part of the ongoing BAN6 exhibition.Read more »
MUSIC Michael John "MJ" Hancock is in a silly mood. Out on the road with his band ANR (which stands for Awesome New Republic), the drummer-singer picks up my call and says, "Awesome New Republic answering service." I give pause, waiting a tick for the beep, assuming this was an answering machine. But he was there, in the van in Grand Rapids, Mich., on the phone after a "long, deep night drive." Flustered from the confusion, I chattily ask about the current tour.Read more »
MUSICOne way in which to think about the development of what could now be called "ambient electronic music" is to trace the attempts by musicians who fall under that banner to work against and around time.Read more »
MUSIC What's so funny about sweetness and light? Bright, explosive jolts of jubilance and snappy uplift? Everything and nothing, Givers might say. The Lafayette, La., band embraces an ecstatic fun-for-all aesthetic on its debut, In Light (Glassnote) — though sultry-voiced vocalist-percussionist Tiffany Lamson still feels a need to defend her group's rollicking, bubbling bliss bombs.Read more »
SOUND TO SPARE For some gays the definition of a good night out dancing isn't Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, or whatever else is making it in music's top 40 these days. Instead, we go against the grain, defy the unwritten rules, and satiate our dance floor needs to more primal, aggressive tunes. Enter Erase Errata.Read more »
MUSIC Outside Lands has stepped up its game in its fourth year. The mix of bands this time around is truly inspired — if a bit pilfered from old lineups at other fests like Treasure Island. No matter, it's riding high in 2011.
This was not always the case. Last year, the Golden Gate Park festival seemed lackluster in the music department; the lineup wasn't as solid as it had been previously, and it lacked that one giant-but-dependably-awesome act like Radiohead (or this year's Arcade Fire). In the process, it may have lost a festival-goer or two.Read more »