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Watch: Lil B's "No Black Person Is Ugly"

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Because we've all been proving in this space lately that we're intelligent, forward-thinking adults who can talk about ethnicity with nuance, sensitivity, and a deep understanding of the history of class issues and race relations in the U.S. and elsewhere, I'm just going to go ahead and post this new video from the 24-year-old East Bay rapper Lil B, aka Brandon McCartney, aka the Based God — who I am morally and perhaps legally obligated to mention is a product of the fine, tiny Albany public schools that (years before him) nurtured yours truly, among others — without too much commentary. Read more »

Tears, beers, and bruises at Slim's with Andrew Jackson Jihad

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Andrew Jackson Jihad may be the most important punk band in America, but they sure don't look like it. They're cheerful and (relatively) clean-cut. They don't want you to crowd-surf. They don't move around a lot, and when they do they're self-conscious about it. They don't use any distortion beyond a pretty, almost psychedelic phaser. They're technically proficient enough that they could probably back up Dolly Parton if they wanted to. Read more »

Catching up with David Kilgour

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A couple of years ago, on a warm summer evening in the city of Blue Lake, California, I stopped by my friend’s house after work. A man with a curly mop of hair was sitting in the front yard with his toes in the grass, strumming an acoustic guitar.

This isn’t unusual in Blue Lake. The unincorporated town hides among the Humboldt County redwoods and always seems to attract a steady flow of tone-deaf vagabonds. But it turned out the man was not at all tone-deaf and only partially transient. It turned out the guy on my friend’s lawn was David Kilgour of the New Zealand indie rock band The Clean. Read more »

Monday music video mayhem

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Just in case you've been living under a rock slightly behind on your local music coverage for the past couple weeks, allow us to remind you of a crazy little 48-hour contest called the Music Video Race, which saw yours truly judging some rather impressive entries from 16 different local band/filmmaker posses, and which culminated with a premiere party at The Independent on July 20. Read more »

Here are some things that happen when you interview hip-hop legend Biz Markie during a promotional celebrity appearance at an A's game

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Tonight's game starts at 7:05, at which point Biz Markie, the “clown prince of hip-hop,” most famous for his hit sing-songy single “Just a Friend,” off the 1989 album The Biz Never Sleeps, will be throwing out the first pitch against the Houston Astros.

This particular game, the evening of July 23, also falls on the A’s 15th annual Root Beer Float Day, a beloved tradition that raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation by having A’s players, coaches, announcers, the staffs of several radio stations, and celebs of various stature (Real World cast members) scoop and serve root beer floats at $2 each for two hours before the first pitch. Read more »

Smart Bomb goes off in Oakland

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By Micah Dubreuil

As a child, you imagine your toys come to life whenever your back is turned. As an adult in the Bay Area, you imagine that every night you choose to stay in, the bars are all packed with experimental underground DJs, food carts, live visual artists and the kind of freaky electronic jazz you would see in a Blade Runner spinoff series. And yet when you do turn around — at either age — your dreams often fall short (if your toys ever did come to life, please let us know).Read more »

Carletta Sue Kay on strip clubs, literature, and dumpster-diving after art exhibits

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Not long after I sat down with Randy Walker, the male, non-performing ego of one of San Francisco's most undefinable musical acts, vocal powerhouse Carletta Sue Kay (who performs at The Chapel this Fri/25), we talked a bit about college. Walker asked me the prerequisite questions about the social scene and my major, perking up at the sound of a humanities-centric discipline. I asked if he’d done the whole college thing. Read more »

Why Brian Wilson's next album will probably be a masterpiece

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The name "Beach Boys" can refer to either of two bands.  The first is the happy-go-lucky surf rock band that does songs about cars and California, led by the conservative Mike Love; the second is one of the most audacious and avant-garde bands of the psychedelic era, led by the mad Zen master Brian Wilson. Though most of the music-listening world knows them primarily as the former, the latter has proven far more influential, pushing the Beatles' creativity to breaking point out of rivalry as well as serving as a major touchstone for the last decade or so of indie rock.Read more »

Jimmy Cliff high-kicks his way through 50 years of music at the Fillmore

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Jimmy Cliff is a goddamn maniac. It's about 45 minutes into his 90-minute set at the Fillmore on Saturday night [July 19], and while the sheer volume of ganja smoke in the packed room is making real movement — beyond the standard shuffle/sidestep, white reggae fan head-bob, and occasional 30-second pogo accompanied by the triumphant fist-in-the-air move — seem an insurmountable challenge for most everyone on the dancefloor, 66-year-old Jimmy Cliff is onstage in matching bright yellow-and-red pants, a robe, and a hat, quite literally running circles around everyone. Read more »

Live Shots: OK Go power through technical difficulties at The Independent

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Ok Go’s catalog is the sonic equivalent of Fruit Loops. Bright, fun, tasty, and far from satisfying or substantive. They are also one of our generation’s greatest bands. Because what Ok Go lacks in musical imagination and originality, they make up for tenfold with the way they have revolutionized and thoroughly dominated the art of the music video.Read more »