Chelsea Wolfe

Dark side of the Dude

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More than a year ago, in his rundown on “top substances that have influenced music,” promoter-DJ Marco De La Vega said this: “I...raid my own medicine cabinet, take a couple Vicodin, and listen to a stack of records including [Girls],Tamaryn, King Dude, Chelsea Wolfe, and Zola Jesus.”

Already a fan of the others mentioned in that paragraph, I sought out King Dude (a.k.a T.J. Cowgill) and found that I'd already known his previous work, intimately. I'd seen his black metal band Teen Cthulhu in high school, and for many years had the band's sticker plastered on my black Nissan Maxima, later discovering his band that rose from the ashes of Teen Cthulhu: Book of Black Earth.

It was his turns as founder-creative director of his own clothing label, Actual Pain (Kanye has worn it, OK?), and solo “darkly spiritual acoustic-folk” singer-songwriter that have been the most surprising. Like previous King Dude releases, 2012's Burning Daylight (Dais) is a desolate affair, with subtle plucking and Cowgill's darkly raspy vocals meditating on death, murder, spirituality, and love – or as I wrote in this week's Tofu and Whiskey print music column (Jan. 9 issue), it sounds like “a gravelly demon inside, clawing to get out.” Read more »

Heads Up: 6 must-see concerts this week

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It's likely your first full week back to work after the holidays – and just how does that feel? Painful? Like a dull, numbing pain creeping up your neck? Fix it with fun, like the kind you'll have seeing former Das Racist, Kool A.D. at Elbo Room, doom folk friends Chelsea Wolfe and King Dude at the Great American Music Hall, or producer Jerome LOL at Rickshaw Stop, punk act Kicker at Bender's, or club night Push the Feeling's one-year anniversary show at Underground SF.

Cheer up, Bay Area. There's plenty to hear in 2013.

Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end: Read more »

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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The long-predictable MTV Music Video Awards aired last week, and I'd venture a guess that many of you didn't tune in, and perhaps an even greater number didn't know it was on. For those who missed it, you didn't miss much, just a lot of vanilla pop stars and one awesome Frank Ocean.

For every big name, shiny-toothed act, there are hundreds better – and weirder – under the radar. Imagine if the award show was packed with acts like Chelsea Wolfe (this week at the Rickshaw Stop), legendary punk band the Zeros (at Brick and Mortar Hall), or Oakland's Metal Mother (at the Rock Make Festival), instead of Taylor Swift, One Direction, Demi Lovato and their ilk. Speaking of the latter, how is “Best Video With a Message” an actual category these days? Read more »