Sonic Reducer

Real Deal

Kim Deal lays it out, and Danielson confesses. Plus: Chuck D., McCoy Tyner, Robyn Hitchcock, and more
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Been down so long that the initial whooping, joy-drenched Obama-phoria of Nov. 4 felt — at least before learning of Proposition 8's passing — like that moment during the flannel-flying whirl of the early '90s, when the world finally seemed like Kim's playground. When everywhere I looked, ultra-cool Kims like Kim Deal, Kim Gordon, and Kim Thayil seemed to signal the primacy of the K Word. Kim was the kid with perpetual Christmas morning going on. Read more »

Bonjour joie

French catch Yelle gets sprightly. Plus: Blixa Bargeld needs you, The Spinto Band, Diplo, and more
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Zut alors, where is the joie, mademoiselles? Judging from the current pop charts, rage is all the rage: girls just want to "start a fight" is the message from Pink, Brit, and Katy Perry, even as pop's queen Beyoncé, a.k.a., Sasha Fierce, chooses the somber rather than ferocious path with "If I Were a Boy."

Maybe it's too much to ask for a recession-wracked America to find a battered vein of real happiness. And perhaps that's why I'm looking for bliss overseas. Read more »

Budgin'

Budget Rock Seven music fest. Plus: The USAISAMONSTER, Bridge School Benefit, and Against Me!
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Why so glum, Chun? Well, for starters, the economy is sucking about as hard as an insecure groupie attacking her/his fave-rave rocker head-case, and the stock market is making me more nauseated than the time I mixed deep-fried Twinkies and the Giant Dipper roller-coaster ride at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Oh, sure, we're all gonna die giggling with sheer, unrepentant delight when the Barack Star pulls it off come Nov. 4. Read more »

Writing on the Wallpaper

Wallpaper's ironic-hip-cat zazu. Plus: Laika and the Cosmonauts, Grupo Fantasma, Mary J. Blige, Tina Turner, and Killers.
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SONIC REDUCER Everyone knows sex sells. But who knew, so many years ago, when hip-hop was still reporting from the streets and dance music revolved round the love and stardust thrown off those glittering mirrored balls, that overt consumption itself would sell just as well? So much of today's mainstream pop and hip-hop continues to hobble along on the crutch of an all-glam, imagination-free, Benjamin-flaunting, daydream-stoking, showroom/showoff mentality, which masquerades as genuine energy and originality. Read more »

Mashed up

Music meets mastication in the indie rock cookbook Lost in the Supermarket. Plus: Awesome Color and Kayo Dot, Cake, NKOTB, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, and Now and Zen Fest
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Kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Remember the bad ole days when giving a damn about food was uncool? When it was all about toughing out the gurgles in the gut — or snatching sheer, pleasure-free sustenance by grabbing a cheapie, microwaveable green burrito from 7-Eleven and shoveling it down the gullet before racing to the hardcore show at the Vet's Hall.

Well, M.F.K. Fisher be praised and pass the white truffle oil and broccolini. Read more »

Wanderlustful

Gogol Bordello storms Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Plus: Plastic People of the Universe land to Rock 'n Roll
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Sweet home Europa — be it central, eastern, or so southerly that you're smack in the Amazon, shooting the rapids like Aguirre and grabbing inspiration from the jaguar guts of the jungle. Read more »

Everyone's a critic

Taking apart rock journalism and loving country with David Berman of Silver jews
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Music journalism pet peeve no. 538: e-mail interviews that allow mealymouths and word mincers to dodge and defer from behind an iron wall of monosyllables. Additionally, the somewhat-paranoid fear is that some random, low-level publicist-intern is actually answering your painfully researched, earnest questions instead of the artist and laughingly forwarding your e-mail to Facebook buds.

Yet I can see why Silver Jews leader David Berman tries to limit his interviews to online missives. Read more »

No peace, so Justice

Treasure Island Music Festival: Stressing on semiotics and skipping to the bomb-blast beat

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>>Justice for all? Read club snob Marke B.'s response to this essay here.

kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Is it wrong to like Justice as much as you like your iPhone? Can a rocker adore Justice as much as they love AC/DC? What's wrong with the fist-pumping, head-banging reaction the French duo inevitably pull when their pop bombast hits your brainwaves?Read more »

Too hot

Nelly gets soulful and sweaty. Plus: Tricky, Younger Lovers, Janet Jackson, and more
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Turn down the grill, puleeze — last week felt like a little time-traveling trip to Nellyville (Universal), a throwback to '02, as in "I'm getting too hot / I wanna take my clothes off." That snatch of "Hot in Herre," Country Grammar king Nelly's collabo with the Neptunes, could have been the recurring refrain throughout the 80-degree-plus Indian summer sizzle engulfing San Francisky. Read more »

The grateful undead

Outside lands from the inside and a Drum Shop catastrophe. Plus, Mommyheads, Daedelus, Death Vessel, Ise Lyfe, and more
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Looking back at Outside Lands and ahead to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and the last lingering Indian summer sighs and huzzahs of the festival express season, I'd say we all have plenty to be grateful for. Read more »