SONIC REDUCER Grease monkeys gotta scratch their coconuts and wonder: why have the words garage rock become so dirty? Especially when a garage-rock explosion of sorts seems to be going off all around us.
Few want to be tagged as such though their affection for three chords; adoration of the square-one pleasures of guitar, bass, and drums; and love of a classic pop hook are out there for all to see. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER The perfectly passive postmodern approach to pop nostalgia? Allow the milky waves of 1970s, '80s, and '90s retro navel-gazer rehash to simply wash over you like so many warm, narcotic jets of synthetic baby formula. The opposite tact is the one that San Francisco trio Mi Ami takes: reject the rockist, retread trappings of the old and stale and make new and likely original sounds from a place of authenticity and openness. Breathe. Good. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Wow, 80 years old and such a beauty: I took a peek at Oakland's Fox Theatre yes, a distant relation to San Francisco's late, lamented Fox before the holiday break and, whoa, wolf whistles. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER "I'm going to start smoking again. I'm going to start eating bad and quit working out."
Here, have a few determinedly daft new year's resolutions from an old hand at San Francisco music-making from Chuck Prophet, who happens to be headlining the old year out at Starry Plough Dec. 31. Don't say he never gave you anything. But seriously, our Prophet?
Actually '09 vows are the last thing Prophet wants to be burdened with. "I'm just lazy," the singer-songwriter confesses from his South of Market mini-HQ. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Light a candle, burn a wand of sage, and singe your bangs. Then fondle a frosty pink hunk of rose quartz and ask the goddess, "Are crystals the new wolves or at least the new bears? Maybe even the new alps/mountains?" 'Cause I swear, I'm not a miner '49-er, tweenie-bopper, or otherwise but I can almost smell the crystals everywhere. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER You don't have to look back very far to find those purple waves of nostalgia lapping at your heels just take a glance at Beyoncé's drippy gloss on Etta James in Cadillac Records. Knowles' star power may have got the Chess Records story made, sorta, but isn't Oakland homegirl Keyshia Cole better suited to play Fillmore-tough girl-gangster James? Read more »
SONIC REDUCER 'Tis the season to max out with shopping merriment, and San Francisco still being a record-picking spot of worldwide renown, it's bittersweet to flip through this year's handsome UK gifty-paperback, Old Rare New: The Independent Record Shop (Black Dog), and spy the "hi-de-ho"-ing Cab Calloway logo of the late, lamented Village Music in Mill Valley. Such an overflowing vinyl goldmine till it shuttered last year another victim of high rents and a wildly fluctuating music marketplace. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER A mashed-up stock market and credit-crunked fiscal outlook be damned just what does the music industry have to do to make you part with your overly stretched entertainment dollar? Pay you to buy, Joe Deflation? Bookended by the double-B bombshells Beyonce's Nov. 18-released I Am ... Sasha Fierce (Sony) and Britney Spears' Dec. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER All allusions to Guns 'N Roses much-contemplated, way-overthought, über-delayed ejaculation Chinese Democracy (Interscope) aside is there such a thing as being too brainy or geeky to rock? Read more »