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The Vaselines move beyond 'Kurt Cobain’s favorite band'

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Hailing from Scotland in the late 1980s, The Vaselines released just a couple of EPs and one full album before originally calling it quits after two short years together. However, thanks to fans like Kurt Cobain, who covered three of their tunes with Nirvana, and exposed the band to larger audiences around the world, new generations have fallen in love with them in the ensuing years. Read more »

King Khan shares his spiritual side, hosts tarot reading contest

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After talking to Arish “King” Khan over the phone last Friday, I got a sense of a more spiritual and sympathetic side as opposed to the notorious showman he’s become over the years. Along with his band — the Shrines, he'll bring his traveling stage show to the Great American Music Hall on Tuesday. He spoke to me from Berlin, his residence for more than a decade, where he raises his family (yes, the man we’ve seen prance around on stage in sequined undies and flashy, feathery costume is also a father) in what continues to become a rapidly “hipster-fied” artists’ mecca. Read more »

Deltron 3030 is back

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After releasing their self-titled debut LP to cultish acclaim in 2000, Bay Area hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030 mysteriously dropped off the radar for over a decade, resulting in borderline Chinese Democracy levels of superfan speculation. Now, with their follow-up, Deltron Event II, finished and slated for release this fall, the trio is going all out on their first North American tour since the project’s revival. Read more »

Hey SF, RZA is coming

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The Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, and his highly influential production sound, are much too easily taken for granted. You’ve got his Minnie-Ripperton-on-helium tape speeding methods, to which Kanye will forever be indebted; the filthy, resinous 36 Chambers aesthetic that’s informed everyone from MF Doom to Portishead; his prophetic, narrative skits that have irreversibly shaped the dynamics of the hip-hop album.

Even after 20 years in the biz, the Staten Island icon and famed kung-fu fetishist continues to shepherd the hip-hop form in bold, new directions. Expect RZA to reinforce his prestige when he takes the Mezzanine stage this Thursday, with a full live band in tow. Read more »

No longer Painfully Alone: Owen Ashworth lives 'in the now' as Advance Base

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Owen Ashworth has this way of making you feel like you've long known him personally. The singer-songwriter-keys aficionado seems an open book, his gold-tipped pages filled with relatable angst, longform stories, and witty musings. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – the project he started in his 20s in the Bay Area and retired some 13 years later in Chicago, 2010 – was something you wanted to curl up with and have a good melancholy moment, a tête-à-tête with the sound in the machine.

But Ashworth was tired of rehashing the songs he wrote a decade ago, so he broke sonic ties and started anew, with Advance Base. Its tone is similar (hence, comforting), veiled quasi-autobiographical stories pumped out of keyboards and vintage electronic equipment (electric piano, autoharp, Omnichord, old rhythm boxes), with Ashworth's familiar talk-singing sparingly backed by female counterparts. Read more »

Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandra Vu doubles as SISU's lead singer

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If you've ever caught Dum Dum Girls live, you've likely asked yourself, “who is that babe with the flying black hair who's slaying on drums?” That's Sandra “Sandy Beaches” Vu, the quartet's drummer, who also fronts her own music project, SISU (pronounced “see-soo”). Her band mixes minimal electro beats and synth with guitar, bass, and flute, all surrounded by Vu's ethereal voice, a far cry from Dum Dum Girls' chainsaw surf guitar and singer Dee Dee's vibrato. Read more »

SF-born legend Terry Bozzio on UK's reunion, his dad's accordion, and the importance of drum lessons

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Bay Area-born and raised drummer extraordinaire Terry Bozzio (who plays the Regency Ballroom Fri/18 with reunited band UK) has performed with Frank Zappa, Missing Persons, Jeff Beck, Fantomas, and a host of other musicians over the years. Recognized as one of the best modern drummers, he has recorded a variety of instructional videos, been honored by Guitar Center’s RockWalk in Hollywood, and has created some of the most insane custom drum sets ever seen on stage. Read more »

Q&A: Alaina Moore of Denver's Tennis

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Some people look to surf pop as their go to summer soundtrack. But what if, for once, you were to venture off the shore and in to the deep blue sea? You will need a sailboat and a perfectly warm, hazy breeze to put wind to your nautical journey.

Tennis — made up of husband and wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley along with drummer James Barone — is an indie-rock band from Denver that began on board during the couple’s eight-month sailing expedition. Read more »

Heads Up: 8 must-see concerts this week

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This week, most of the crucial shows are hella local (as is that faux pas slang). What can you do? We're all cogs in the Bay Area machine. And we happen to have a lot of impressive musicians within spitting distance. There are cheap shows spread across the hyper-local map starring Religious Girls, French Cassettes, Midnite Snaxxx, Thee Oh Sees, and Il Gato. Read more »

Bachelorette's computer folk lands in Oakland this weekend

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Ask the initially shy New Zealander Bachelorette how she makes music, and you'll get a fascinating mouthful.

“Some of the stuff I make, it's almost psychedelic disco, other times I think the music is quite folky,” she begins, “in that kind of computer-based way.” Pausing she then adds, “Lately people have asked me to describe the style and I describe it as computer folk. The computer is my folk instrument. It's just me on stage and I have a couple of computers and samples and a guitar, a lot of sampling and looping live – I construct the songs differently every time I play, so there's an element of improvisation." Read more »