Taylor Kaplan

Find some poetry

Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek grapples with life and death on his rawest, most intimate album yet

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Pixies 2.0

The alt-rock forefathers forge ahead with new material — and without Kim Deal

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There's something to be said for recording four great, distinctive albums, and quitting while you're ahead. This live-fast/die-fast approach worked wonders for the Velvet Underground's legacy and influence, and one might say it served the Pixies' notoriously frenetic rock explorations equally well.Read more »

The worst music beats the best bomb: A conversation with legendary composer Van Dyke Parks

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“Yours falsely!” Van Dyke Parks chimes, as he picks up the phone at home in Pasadena, where the weather is “room temperature.” He adds, “all we have is the attorneys. Get rid of them, and we can have another perfect day.” Read more »

Year in Music 2013: Taylor Kaplan's top 10s

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Albums

1. My Bloody Valentine: m b v

2. Dean Blunt: The Redeemer

3. Julia Holter: Loud City Song

4. No Joy: Wait to Pleasure

5. Oneohtrix Point Never: R Plus Seven
Read more »

Blitzkrieg what?

Party captain Andrew W.K. and Marky Ramone carry on the Ramones legacy

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC The progression of party-rock champion Andrew W.K.'s career reads less like a linear trajectory than a whirlwind of bizarre, hilarious, and downright enviable undertakings. After he started out as a keyboardist in New York's avant-garde circles, and built his reputation with a handful of ecstatic butt-rock records (most notably 2001's I Get Wet, featuring that iconic nosebleed on its cover), W.K.'s biography plunged into full-on chaos mode.Read more »

Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order altered the course of pop music, go see him live

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Three decades after its initial release, New Order's Power, Corruption, & Lies (1982) might sound deceptively ordinary. From the early '90s successes of Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses, to more recent outfits like LCD Soundsystem and Cut Copy, it's easy to take for granted just how completely the Manchester band's hybrid of guitar rock and sequenced dance music has permeated the modern musical landscape. Yet, as bassist and co-songwriter Peter Hook would have you believe, that fateful LP was the moment that started it all.

"New Order [was] one of the first rock bands that used dance elements, and now everybody does it," Hook tells the Bay Guardian over the phone from a hotel room in Vancouver.

In continuation of a recent tour that featured song-for-song replications of both Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980) by Hook's previous band, the equally revelatory post-punk outfit Joy Division, his current ensemble, Peter Hook & the Light, is set to grace the Mezzanine stage on Fri/27 with front-to-back covers of New Order's first two LPs, 1981's Movement, and of course, Power, Corruption, & Lies. Read more »

Gary Numan: dark music done right at the Oakland Metro

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From Metallica to This Mortal Coil, there's a sense of canned melodrama about most "dark" music that I've long found goofy and unconvincing. On that note, Massive Attack's Mezzanine has always struck me as dark music done right, leaving the angsty ostentation behind, in favor of casually luring the listener downward into its imposing dungeon of groove.

As Gary Numan took the stage in Oakland last Tuesday night, the British artist displayed a similarly nuanced sensibility of what makes dark music work, delivering a relentlessly groove-based set of songs that brooded and seethed with total conviction. Read more »

Live Review: My Bloody Valentine’s SF show feels like something beamed in from another decade

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Swirling guitars… cooing vocals… that all-engulfing wall of noise. It's difficult to describe My Bloody Valentine's sound without veering into borderline erotica, and understandably so; in the guitar rock landscape, few bands make music that's so tactile and exhilarating.

For many of its devoted fans, the band's seminal 1991 LP, Loveless, is inextricably tethered to private moments of introspection and sexuality. Its delicate balance between loud and quiet, menace and seduction, resulted in a sense of emotional ambiguity, allowing the listener to project their own perspectives and yearnings onto those immaculate pop songs.

Fresh off the heels of this year's long-awaited Loveless followup, simply titled mbv, My Bloody Valentine stopped by SF this past Friday for its first Bay Area appearance since 2008, on its first tour in support of new material since the early '90s. Read more »

mbv4-ever

Two decades after its landmark album, My Bloody Valentine returns to SF

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC This is the reunion for which we dared not hope. Until this year, My Bloody Valentine's genre-defining masterstroke of the shoegaze movement, 1991's Loveless, was the last we had heard from the Irish-English band, and as a result, it was canonized as one of those pristine, "perfect" albums, frozen in time and untainted by inferior follow-ups.Read more »

Outside Lands 2013 winners (Paul McCartney, Chic, Bombino) and losers

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Hall & Oates, or Trombone Shorty? Willie Nelson, or Vampire Weekend? This year's Outside Lands presented its 65,000 attendees with some perplexing choices, resulting in what might've been the festival's most eclectic lineup of its now six-year run. As always, Golden Gate Park was a most picturesque venue, with patches of sunlight punctuating the heavy fog, great nighttime atmosphere provided by the purply-lit trees, and a generous smattering of what Grizzly Bear's Edward Droste called, "the bougiest food stands I've ever seen at a festival."Read more »