Music Features

Gui, your music looks terrific

Gui Boratto on sonic architecture and the beauty of Chromophobia
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johnny@sfbg.com

The first clue that Gui Boratto's Chromophobia is an extraordinary Kompakt disc — a song collection that places the German label back at the forefront of the best electronic music — can be found on its cover art. Since its inception, Kompakt has had a signature clean design style for its releases. Developed by one of the label's three co-owners, Wolfgang Voigt, it's made great use of simple circles and basic color combinations. Read more »

Holdin' the weight of the Bay

As Atlantic delays his major-label debut, Da Yellow Bus Rydah, Mistah FAB hits the underground running with Da Baydestrian
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Still looks like slavery

But it's the black legacy

Mistah FAB, "100 Bars"

One night last September, I hitch a ride with G-Stack of the Delinquents and Dotrix of Tha Mekanix to Dem Hoodstarz's album release party in San Francisco. As we park outside the club, Mistah FAB rolls up with a modest posse. In contrast to his usual iced-out Technicolor clubwear, the man also known as Fabby Davis Jr. is low-key, dressed all in black, a pair of designer stunna shades supplying the main clue to his identity. Read more »

Going to town

Pianist Jason Moran and Thelonious Monk's drummer son reconnect with Monk Sr.'s Town Hall concert of 1959
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Would you consider remixing Thelonious Monk? Pianist Jason Moran would, and he has.

He's not playing those remixes, though, when he comes to town this week to re-create the famed pianist-composer's Town Hall concert of 1959. This time through, Moran, along with Monk's son, drummer T.S. Monk, will play the large-band concert relatively straight. But the performance is a primer for Moran's newest musical exploration: a Monk-based multimedia performance titled In My Mind.

Moran says the idea stems from an SFJAZZ request that he replicate the Town Hall show. Read more »

Family values

A first from Last of the Blacksmiths
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Forty years ago Rufus Wanta sent lyrics to one of the song-poem studios that were popular at the time. The record he eventually received from the company was, with its tacky torch-song treatment, a big disappointment. Call it poetic justice, then, that keyboardist Nathan Wanta uses words penned by his grandfather in a song written by his band, Last of the Blacksmiths. Read more »

Gimme my Prince

Gimme my Prince: Looking for a real rock star experience in a purple fog
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Iggy Pop spit in my face at one of the Stooges' sold-out shows at the Warfield last month. And I loved it. The crowning moment, however, came just before that, when he stared me down and mouthed the lyrics of "1970": "Beautiful baby, feed my love ... all night ... till I blow ... away," then slithered away from the seesawing mass in the pit. Read more »

Rhymes with work

Men are from Mars, Björk's Volta is for Venus
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johnny@sfbg.com

I have some Björk memories stowed on shelves and in crates. There's the signed copy of the Sugarcubes' "Birthday" 12-inch from the days of the group's English-language interview with Melody Maker, when Björk showed up late and apologized with the immortal first words "I was shitting" (a moment that all who mistook her for a cute elf should have noted). And I've got a great teenage Kodak shot of a friend who helped start riot grrrl long before she picked up a guitar, sitting on Björk's lap.

But whither Björk? Read more »

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 »

The Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival 2007

Picks, previews, and hot, wet, MCMAF fun
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