Music Features

More fun?

What's so weird about the first Stooges album in three decades, The Weirdness?
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duncan@sfbg.com

"Have you heard this yet?" I asked the cashier at Green Apple Books and Music's annex, laying The Weirdness (Virgin) on the counter. The black cover with the ominous Stooges logo in reflective silver seemed somehow dangerous in and of itself.

"Yeah. It's all right," he answered. "It could've been worse."

"So it's no Fun House?"

"Not even. But it's not bad. It could've been really embarrassing."

So, how is The Weirdness — aside from not too embarrassing? Read more »

Resurrection blues

Is it 1969, OK, as the Stooges gear up to play across the USA?
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kimberly@sfbg.com

Sure it's all about puppy love, music-geek boners, and clean-cut strangers offering to be their dog now, but as Iggy Pop declared during a crowded onstage interview at this year's South by Southwest fest in Austin, Texas, back when the once-decried Stooges first burst blown-out, bratty, and oozing monosyllabic menace, bristly distortion, and snotty attitude from Ann Arbor, Mich., "the two things were, 'They can't play.' " He gestured toward the two other surviving original Stooges, guitarist Ron Asheton and his brother, drummer Scott, then nodded almo Read more »

Local Grooves

Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound and Xiu Xiu
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ASSEMBLE HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND

Ekranoplan

(Tee Pee)

It only takes a quick look over the cover art (a gauche sci-fi trip) and song titles ("Summon the Vardig," "Message by Mistral and Thunderclap") to get the Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound's vibe: paint-thinner psych, boys-club rawk. Read more »

Keys of life

Pianist George Michalski tickles SF's ivories
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PIANO MAN On April 13, 1957, at an assembly room in the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, George Michalski gave his first piano recital. He played John W. Schaum's "Snake Dance" and "The Sphinx" and closed with "My First Waltz," by Bjarne Rolseth, from G. Schirmer's Piano Solo series for students. "My mom was so excited leaving the house that she tripped and sprained her ankle," Michalski remembers. Read more »

Go west, young band

Low Red Land: Creedence meets the Meat Puppets
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Sometimes you get lucky. Every week I have to find a picture to run in the club guide, and one week I picked Low Red Land. They later sent me a self-released 2006 CD titled The Weight of Nations. The disc stayed in my truck's deck for a week.

The trio of 26-year-olds — Mark Devito on drums, Ben Thorne on bass, and Neil Thompson on guitar and vocals — is also no stranger to intuition. Having met at Hamilton College in New York, they'd originally been a four-piece called Great American with another college buddy, Matthew Stringer. Read more »

Deer me

Deerhunter weather the odds -- and deny boners
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Weathered over the years by lineup changes, tension-fueled recording sessions, and a band member's death, Atlanta's Deerhunter have endured their share of setbacks since forming in 2001. But wherever chaos laughs itself into a tizzy, there lurks a handsome reward just waiting to jump out and squeeze our brooding bunch from the Big Peach. Read more »

Endless things

The Junior Boys channel senior citizens to create future sounds
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johnny@sfbg.com

Into the past or on to the future? That's the push-pull current that charges the Junior Boys. The tension is even casually present during an interview with the Canadian duo's singer and veteran member, Jeremy Greenspan. Read more »

On the download: Plan B

Who Needs Action When You Got Words
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PLAN B

Who Needs Actions When You Got Words

(Cordless Recordings)

"It's disgraceful like getting caught pissing in the sink," new British rap talent to watch Plan B spits during one of the many raw, attention-grabbing moments on his stateside debut, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words. Born Ben Drew, Plan B is the angry, guitar-strumming, Cockney-accented East End, London, rapper whose thought-provoking, hardcore lyrics are exactly what hip-hop needs. Read more »

Sincerely again

After 15 years, the Frames still mean well
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Seven minutes into the Frames' latest album, The Cost (Anti-), during a song titled "Falling Slowly," the Dublin, Ireland, veterans capture everything off-putting about their music in two stanzas splayed over a glassy-eyed piano: "Take this sinking boat / And point it home / We've still got time // Raise your hopeful voice / You have a choice / You've made it now."

If vocalist Glen Hansard's tired poesy weren't winceworthy enough, the fact that he's pulled it out on wistful anthem number two of 10 would seem to cast The Cost as the kind of repetit Read more »

Their days are numbered

Lucky Six Parts Seven find happiness without vocals, making delectable sounds
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

We're all having a tough time these days in the Bay Area. It might be the worriment of the imminent tax day, our skyrocketing rent, or the recent dissolution of a rocky relationship. Or it could be as mundane as the feeling brought on by chasing down your morning commute through the pouring rain, only to realize that you forgot your bus fare once you finally catch up to it. Read more »