Music Features

Fresh fruit from old punks

Jello Biafra and others pay tribute to icon Dirk Dirksen
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FULL CIRCLE Once upon a time, at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, the Dead Kennedys blew the Clash off the stage. I think it was early spring 1980. I didn't pay much attention to dates in those days, but I remember this much — I was there.

On that night the DKs delivered their fat, funny broadsides with a joyous abandon that few bands of the era could match. Vocalist Jello Biafra — who finished his set drenched in sweat and wearing only his underwear's elastic waistband — was simply inspired. Read more »

Digital Venuses

UK pop starlets vie for America's heart of darkness
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Call them the new British bitch pack: barefoot soul shouter Joss Stone and her ascendant sistren, skankin' Lily Allen and torchy Amy Winehouse (Corinne Bailey Rae's exempted due to being a queen of nice and hazy sentiment and, well, yes, color). The Pipettes also deliver Ronettes-Supremes paeans but have yet to splash large beyond the UK. Read more »

MCMAF: Renewable source

Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival founder Jeff Ray surveys the dream and the damage
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Van Halen may have made it into the music record books for Most Ridiculous Tour Rider for their demand for M&Ms picked free of the turdlike brown numbers. But musician-director Vincent Gallo might make the rock hitmakers jump with his own Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival must-have. "I'm not going to show you his rider," festival founder Jeff Ray says wryly. "It's a little crazy."

"Oh, c'mon," I say, perched on a couch in the red and yellow office in Ray's Mission flat. Read more »

MCMAF: Renaissance man

A jolly good Vincent Gallo taps into his musical wellspring at Mission Creek
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If Vincent Gallo turned himself into pure music, what would it sound like? For now, I know how the Gallo I'm talking with sounds: enthusiastic, upbeat - occasionally letting loose an endearing rascally cackle - and extremely alive. Over the course of a great couple hours, he's raved rather than ranted, giving himself over to rapture while rapping about everyone from Joe Spinell (star of 1980's gory Maniac and bit-part actor extraordinaire) to Michael Jackson. Read more »

MCMAF: Months of somedays

After years of homelessness and substance addiction, the Chamber Strings' Kevin Junior returns to music making
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When Month of Sundays (Bobsled), the second Chamber Strings album, was released in 2001, singer-songwriter Kevin Junior was hailed as a new pop savant of sorts - a ragged, rainy-day Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson's lost brother, last sighted wandering gray shores amid dingy drizzle and deep dissolution. So where has he been the past six years?

"I got kidnapped by aliens, basically," Johnny Thunders-look-alike Junior deadpans from his Chicago flat. Read more »

MCMAF: The Dilettantes

Taking love to the streets
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Meeting up for an interview anywhere in the Haight in the middle of a Sunday afternoon is a bit of a dodgy prospect. With every easily distracted tourist and bumbling acid casualty in the city making random zigzags through the neighborhood, finding a clear path on the sidewalk is enough of a challenge, never mind finding a quiet place to talk. But there I am, in a booth at Magnolia's, with the three songwriters of the Dilettantes, chatting away over beers without so much as a glance in the direction of all the scattershot energy reigning outside. Lesson? Read more »

MCMAF: This magic moment

YACHT's Jona Bechtolt believes in you, dancing
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YACHT has cancelled his May 11 appearance with Kid606, Trackademicks, Lazer Sword and Luke's Anger.

Enthusiastic and optimistic - Jona Bechtolt would have to be both to schedule back-to-back shows in Bloomington, Ind., and Big Sur, as he did on his most recent tour.

"I'm pretty much into playing wherever there is a desire for me to do so," Bechtolt e-mails en route to Seattle. "Once I played in a bathroom in the basement/rec-room of some kid's grandparents' house in St. Read more »

MCMAF: Runoff to run after

Our selected picks at the Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival
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MAY 10

SO SO MANY WHITE WHITE TIGERS

Guitarist Ned flies back from New York City for the return of the art-punk trio that roared. (Kimberly Chun)

With Triangle, Bookworms, and the Tufffetttes. 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission, SF. Call for time and price. Read more »

MCMAF: Collective hip noises

With Buy Hidden Persuaders, I Am Spoonbender continue to remove our veils
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Should you take this life seriously enough to listen to it, I would suggest you head to local electro-organic thinkers I Am Spoonbender's Web site right now, before you read this story, and download the trailer for their latest self-released album, Buy Hidden Persuaders (IAS, 2006), another three-sided disc (their gorgeous Teletwin 12-inch had concurrent grooves on one side, allowing for a randomly asserted listening experience) from the wizards of esoteric musical realism. Read more »