Sonic Reducer

Cohen koan

In praise of Leonard Cohen past and present. Plus: Richard Swift, Beausoleil, Friendly Fires, and more
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER What becomes a pop legend? Mink, knighthood, screaming nubiles, Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction, or the Companionship of the Order of Canada? Read more »

Agit-aggregator

All the news that's fit to implant in your Auto-Tune. Plus: Bruce Springsteen, Lily Allen, Ahmad Jamal, and more
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SONIC REDUCER Due to April 1 budget cuts, the original content in this space has been replaced by a selection of music news items from the wire.

MADONNA ADOPTING COUNTRY OF MALAWI

LILONGWE (Rutters) — Madonna announced her plans to adopt the entire southern African nation today after local friends told her that her adopted Malawian children, David and Mercy James, were lonely and needed companionship. Read more »

SXSW the un-Safeway

South by Southwest redux: Sparking with PJ Harvey, Metallica, codpieces, and buffalo checks
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SONIC REDUCER Sparks. No, not the band, or the caffeinated boozy beverage, toasts of rock collectors' circles and past South by Southwests, respectively. I'm talking about the real dealie, flying furiously off the spot where a sander met the metal-codpieced crotch of what appears to be a Suicide Girl-gone-to-seed, right here at the '09 installment of FXFY — otherwise known in impolite company as Fuck by Fuck You fest. Read more »

Sleeper cells

Welcome back, Jacko. Plus: Bee Gees, Mt. St. Helen's Vietnam Band, Mirah, and more
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SONIC REDUCER Pop monoliths come and go, but these days they mostly seem to be going: tumblin' down quietly, as with the soon-to-be-shuttered Virgin Megastore on Market Street, or crumbling — and grumbling — noisily, as with the war of words accompanying Radiohead's reputed snub of Miley Cyrus and Kanye West at this year's Grammys. Read more »

Change on the range

U2 toes No Line, while Neko Case searches the dust for enlightenment. Plus: Lake, Telekinesis, and more
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Who's afraid of growing up in public? Chris Brown and Britney Spears both know the hazards of maturation amid the clatter of public chatter. Still, self-respecting musicmakers such as U2 and Neko Case, who know they must evolve — tax-dodging accusations, IMAX 3-D shrugs, fanboy crushes, and overwhelming side projects aside — are trying, judging from No Line on the Horizon (Universal) and Middle Cyclone (Anti-). Read more »

Grimm tales

Larkin Grimm, plus Tindersticks, Estelle and Solange, and Efterklang
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER "My father told me never to play covers. It's such a hole to fall into. People want to hear stuff they've heard a thousand times. Especially white people — they all want to be safe, and covers just make them feel safe."

Larkin Grimm takes the briefest breath, standing beside a frozen creek next to a cowboy trading post in South Dakota's Badlands. Read more »

Maus trapped

Maus Haus, plus Mushroom, Two Sheds and an Horse, One Hundred Suns, and Raphael Saadiq
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER San Francisco street rats, go play some other day. House heads, scamper beneath some disco ball far away. Read more »

Days of being wild

Noise Pop 09: Oh say can you see Thee Oh Sees?
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER A much-floggied, foggy notion worth repeating: if the natural creative energy coming off John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees could be harnessed, we'd all be muttering, "What global warming? When's the next Oh Sees show? Mama needs to warm her digits with some superheated, Grade-A crudo rock 'n' roll."

Yep, dude has been in a grillion bands including the Coachwhips, Pink and Brown, OCS, the Hospitals, and now Thee Oh Sees and the Drums. Read more »

Iran here

Niyaz tantalizes with electronic and acoustic sounds propelled by Sufi poetry. Plus: NOFX, Yo Majesty, and more
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER One can tumble into the disconnect between the reactionary brouhaha last year regarding then-candidate Barack Obama's proposed engagement with Iran, and the reality, as Iranian-born, Indian-raised vocalist Azam Ali knows it.

"I always tell my American friends, 'People love America so much in Iran, you wouldn't be able to pay for a meal — they love Americans that much,'" says the Niyaz frontperson by phone from Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and bandmate Loga Rami Read more »

Married with band

Fucked Up stick together for the music, not the paychecks. Plus: Fiction Family, RZA, and more
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER They play together yet dislike each other — that's Fucked Up. Literally. The Toronto legends of hardcore — add as many "post-"s as you like to that descriptor — and their grew-up-together-but-grew-apart relationship may sound like the tale of so many other long-running rock bands, sticking it out for the big checks, groupies, coke binges, and Courvoisier. Read more »