Oh me, oh my, love that country pie, and oh me, oh my, the influence of Devendra Banhart and Will Oldham is now as long and thick as their beards. Actually, Brightblack Morning Light's Nathan Shineywater and Rachael Hughes were opening for Oldham when Banhart was making the leap from homemade cassette to Young God. Read more »
You may not have heard of Harry Nilsson, but you sure as hell have heard his music. The singer-songwriter was responsible for everything from "Without You" ("I can't live, if living is without you") to "Coconut" ("You put the lime in the coconut, you drink 'em both up"), from "One" (famously covered by Aimee Mann for Magnolia) to "Everybody's Talkin' " (which he sang for Midnight Cowboy). So why haven't more people heard of Nilsson, one of the most prolific, talented, and experimental artists of his generation? Read more »
Love 'em or hate 'em, the Dwarves are as close to punk rock royaltyas San Francisco is ever gonna have. They've been in the game since emigrating from Chi-town in the '80s, with nary a letup for soul-searching acoustic meandering or trips to rehab.
"What you wanna do, B? What you wanna do?" a voice queries in "Demented," from 2004's The Dwarves Must Die (Sympathy for the Record Industry). Read more »
Few numbers are as loaded as three. From the Holy Trinity to the three main spiritual channels in our bodies described by kabbalists and yogis alike, spiritual triads exist alongside musical forms of threeness: the exponential sound of the power trio, great albums named III, and, indeed, Loudon Wainwright III.
The trio Sebadoh, early harbingers of indie rock, had their own III back in 1991, trading off instruments and artistic wills to make 23 wonderfully unpredictable tracks of folk-core meanderings and spastic noise rock shape-shifting. Read more »
The first time Roky Erickson performed in San Francisco was in the summer of 1966, fronting his Austin, Texas, band the 13th Floor Elevators, whose garage rock classic "You're Gonna Miss Me" was rising up the national charts. Sharing the bill at the Fillmore with Grace Slick's first band, the Great Society, Erickson sang of psychedelic reverberations and reincarnations in both sagely reassuring croons and blood-curdling yelps. Read more »
TAPES 'N TAPES, HAR MAR SUPERSTAR, AND MC-DJ DAVID CROSS
Song scribe extraordinaire Har Mar ripped it up at Thee Parkside a few Noise Pops back, and buzz band Tapes 'n Tapes made the South by Southwest crowd go nuts (and crawl the wall outside), so you know this is gonna be a blast. Watch for those low-flying groupies of indie comedy fave David Cross too. (Kimberly Chun)
"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 recordwas sometimes like receiving a password to a part of your spirit you didn't know existed. Read more »
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 »
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 »