Music Features

The rise and fall of the Donnas

But don't count out the Bay Area-bred all-girl band yet
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kimberly@sfbg.com

The Donnas have every right to be bitter — and the general nonexistence of delectable male groupies is just one item on a laundry list of spoilers. Read more »

Robe of glory

Geoff Muldaur considers himself lucky
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"The Jim Kweskin Jug Band was sort of the first group of goofballs who didn't wear uniforms, who didn't have set patter. It was the acoustic precursor of the Grateful Dead," Geoff Muldaur says on the phone from Los Angeles. "Bob Weir got our first album and ran over to Jerry and said, 'We've gotta form a jug band. You've gotta hear this shit!' "

Before iTunes and Pandora.com, getting your hands on a new record was sometimes like receiving a password to a part of your spirit you didn't know existed. Read more »

From hardcore to soft

Drag the River dredge the country and roots stream and come up with the goods
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What happens when you can fit your entire tour into a pickup truck? When your song can follow a Neil Young track in a juke joint? When you're able to blend your steel guitar with indie rock unironically? What happens when you stop playing loud and start getting real?

Things get really, really good.

Could this be the culmination of what was intended when Armchair Martian guitarist-vocalist Jon Snodgrass and All frontperson Chad Price decided to unplug their amps and form Drag the River? Read more »

So fresh, so clean

DJ Fresh is just a hustlin' dude -- albeit one who has spun alongside Nas and assembled his own all-star Tonite Show
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Some weeks ago I ran by Melrose Middle School in East Oakland to catch DJ Fresh in action. Voted third-best DJ in the United States at the International Turntablist Federation finals in 1999, the 26-year-old veteran is a nationwide presence in hip-hop and handled the 1s and 2s behind figures such as Nas and Common before going on to produce a series of album-length projects during the past two years with Bay Area luminaries such as Mistah FAB, J-Stalin, and Sac-Town kingpin Smigg Dirtee. Read more »

Believe the buzz

The Makes Nice lick freakbeat candy wrappers for the benefit of all
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Signed to Frenetic Records and publicized by Fanatic Promotion, local boys–made–groovy the Makes Nice are surprisingly mellow. Perhaps they've been consorting with a resurrected British freakbeat muse — it's been "more relaxed than you'd think, given the name and all," vocalist-guitarist Josh Smith writes via e-mail, discussing the group's deal with Frenetic. The San Francisco label — also home to releases by one of Smith's previous bands, the Fucking Champs — is proving an ideal base for these kind and raucous rockers. Read more »

Just bounce to this

Flipping for the United Kingdom's Switch
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While the majority of techno and house music producers have been obsessed recently with exploring their genre's '80s and '90s origins via time-warp disco maneuvers, a select few dance connoisseurs have been making great leaps into the future. London artist Dave Taylor, who records as Switch for Freerange Records and his own Dubsided imprint, is at the forefront of pogoing, digitally chopped-up house music that sounds more like 2080 than 1980. Read more »

Space disco disks

Some oddity odysseys to trip on
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BLACK DEVIL DISCO CLUB, 28 AFTER (LO)

Imagine Klaus Nomi's more butch and less robotic brother riding the peaks and valleys of a Giorgio Moroder blip roller coaster, and you have a glimpse of the personality of this EP by Bernard Fevre, who sure looks cute in the (circa late '70s?) photo foldout within its shiny black jewel box. Was all of 28 After recorded 28 years ago, when Fevre was influencing what would become acid house, or was it spruced up recently? Whatever the answer, its six tracks are a treat. Read more »

2007: a disco odyssey

Lindstrom expands the dance floor -- and the space between your ears
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johnny@sfbg.com

What is space disco? Well, it's a term some people have thrown around when the music of Hans-Peter Lindstrøm is written about or discussed. What does the man from Oslo, Norway, think of the two-word catchphrase? "I guess the good thing is that some people are telling me, 'Hey, man, you invented a genre,' " he says, speaking from Oslo and capping the remark with a characteristic quiet, slightly jittery laugh. "If people think about it that way, it's fine for me, because I get mentioned. But I think it's limiting in terms of my music. Read more »

Strive for More Music Showcase

The art of soul singing is far from dead
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LOCAL LIVE The art of soul singing is far from dead, even if it's taken a backseat to hip-hop. The current chart successes of R&B singers such as Akon and Mary J. Blige surely provide proof of soul's vitality, as does the fact that most of the strongest contestants on American Idol, both black and white, are immersed in the tradition. Used to be, however, that budding Bay Area soul singers had plenty of clubs at which to hone their skills in public. Read more »

On the Download -- Ridin' the wi-fi

Lil Wayne and Chamillionaire give the gift of mix
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ON THE DOWNLOAD Don't doubt it: southern hospitality is real, and it's especially so in the rap game now that Lil Wayne and Chamillionaire have released free downloadable mixtapes of their latest rhymes on their Web sites. As mixtapes so often incorporate other rappers' beats without written permission, the circuit, despite its hype and promotional benefits, has become a sizable source of controversy in the recording industry following the Jan. 16 arrests of DJ Drama and Don Cannon in Atlanta. In a Jan. Read more »