YEAR IN MUSIC Are we being punked? Is this all some kind of stupid joke?
Upon first listen, the sound-world of Berlin-London duo Hype Williams (not the music-video director, mind you) is practically guaranteed to provoke a bewildered response. Incorporating half-baked hooks, brutishly cut-and-pasted samples, apathetic vocals, inept musicianship, crude effects, and grainy production into a gnarled, genreless mishmash, its approach gives off a superficial whiff of laziness and inconsequence.Read more »
YEAR IN MUSIC I'm at the Marina in Berkeley with J-Stalin around noon, waiting for producer-rapper Droop E to arrive so he and J can shoot a video for his upcoming EP, Hungry & Humble. I was invited, not by Droop but by his "Pops," Bay Area legend E-40, to do an interview for 40's epic, two-album collaboration with Too Short, History (HeavyOnTheGrind/EMI, 2012).Read more »
YEAR IN MUSIC Imagine a frustrated ghost floating above his own funeral. He might hear someone getting the eulogy wrong or even see an unwanted guest. One of the benefits of having your band come to an end rather than your own demise is living to react to retrospectives of your creative output and impact. But as I write this, Uzi Rash isn't quite dead yet. In fact, it has one last breath of doing what it does best — live performance.
YEAR IN MUSIC "We weren't supposed to be allowed to play live on the morning news," Ty Segall says just moments after finishing a meal at In-N-Out, on his way down the coast from San Francisco, the city he can no longer afford to live in, to pick up his 16-year-old sister from his hometown of Laguna Beach. "Giving a bunch of long-haired weirdos really loud amplifiers and free reign on the morning news is just stupid. So I thought that was a great opportunity to do whatever the hell we wanted."Read more »
Tofu and Whiskey Arbiter of good taste, Thrill Jockey Records is officially 20 years old. In another era, in another business, this would merely be a back-slapping milestone. In the present stuck-barreling-downwards roller coaster of the music industry, it's an anniversary worthy of widespread jubilation.
"It's a mind-boggling number of years," label founder Bettina Richards says during a phone call from the main office in Chicago, where the label's been based since 1995.Read more »
Tofu and Whiskey The phrase "'woman' is not a genre" has been popping up again. It's been in articles, board threads, and subsequently, conversations I've been a part of. It's a good one. Kind of an earworm of a saying, because on its face, it's implicit, simplistic, obvious, even. But it's a good mantra, for music writers. "Woman" is not a genre.Read more »
TOFU AND WHISKEY'S HOLIDAY GUIDE Before I expound on anything, I've got to spit this out: buy local. If you're going to buy something; in particular, if you're going to buy actual vinyl records or CDs or books or musical equipment, get them from an independent store in the Bay Area.Read more »
GOLDIES Nymphs of the Internet forest, rejoice. The multidirectional musical entity known as 5kinandbone5 (www.5kinandbone5.com) is here to soundtrack your perverse festivals with the latest sonic plug 'n plays. Read more »
GOLDIES "It's been a great year for me," says Van Pierszalowski, slightly out of breath after pushing his bicycle up a seriously steep hill. "It's been the first year that I've lived anywhere in a long time."Read more »
MUSIC Shellacked gummy worms, cherubic Ebay'd figurines, one of those ships in a glass bottle usually reserved for nautical-themed offices, a red bike reflector, a holarctic blue copper butterfly, a vintage stenograph. The physical items sit on separate pedestals as part of the release for Michael Zapruder's newest album, Pink Thunder (www.michaelzapruder.com).Read more »