/*Google*/ /*Hosting*/ October 2009 | SFCritic Music Blog


The Cataracs "Freakin' Ta Ma Song" (NC-17)

I recently discovered The Cataracs, a Bekerely, CA based hip hop? group. This is not a recommendation, as much as a joke in a care package delivered to you on this Friday morning. There isn't really much I need to say beyond take a listen. Describing the video's typical freak getup of girls on roller skates around a pool, auto-tuned voices, and two white? guys poppin' champagne like Mega Dons, just seems kind of tacky--oops. The song is called "Freak Ta Ma Song," and was probably sent as a love letter. Seeing that these guys have good taste, oh wait, no, they have cataracts (and can't spell it)--that explains everything!

Ps-why is this NC-17? Probably because little kids don't need to be disillusioned about pop music.


Featured Artist: Fat Freddy's Drop

This group of Kiwis (from New Zealand) create one of the most unique and compelling reggae, dub, and improvised jam music I've ever heard. Having gained an international following about five years ago, they often perform in Europe, but hardly ever in the US (but they're coming to SF!). Accordingly, few Americans know the band, which is sad, because in all sincerity, they're more than worthy of just a listen--they're worthy of hyping to your friends. With soul vocals, over dub step beats, and reggae chords, Fat Freddy's Drop is entirely fresh and addictive. Their new album, Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW was just released. The song below, "Roady," was the first song I heard of theirs, and is the crack to my obsession.

Fat Freddy's Drop: "Roady"

(Almost) Hot Damn: The Sounds at the Warfield 10/24

By Eve Marcellus

The stage was set for The Sounds performance to be a good time. The lineup was everything you could ask for in terms of glamorous, retro-influenced rock and the Warfield provided a super-luxurious backdrop for the whole thing. Semi Precious Weapons, Shiny Toy Guns, and Foxy Shazaam: the names of the opening bands alone spell out a party. With all the talent and fun onstage, however, a little something was off about the night.


New Madvillian Album Leak

It's true. It's coming. The buzz is building. Madvillian, the duo of MF Doom and producer Madlib, are back in the studio putting together their sequel to one of the most highly received underground hip hop albums of the last decade. J. Rocc gave a little leak on his show, which is featured below. Check it out:

Commercial Endorsements in Hip Hop Music

(Pictured above Beanie Sigel for Sprite)

In the last two decades hip hop's relationship with advertising has gone from sell-out to underground supporter. The first major commercial merging began with Sprite Soda during the early 90s. During this campaign, Sprite placed some of the biggest names in hip hop in their commercials, including Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and Nas and AZ (See below or click on the names). The campaign grew into "parties" with Sprite's endorsement attempting to make associations with "cool" music and their "cool" product.

With hip hop gaining mainstream success around the same time, many followers and members of the community viewed endorsements like this as selling out. In truth, this might epitomize the notion of "selling out," as artists utilized their skills to solicit an irrelevant product. On the other hand, these campaigns built the framework for the eventually towering hip hop business, which some businessman (P. Diddy and Russel Simmons) foresaw.

With the potential growth of hip hop seeming limitless prior to the destabilizing of the music industry (due to record sales), many other companies attempted similar marketing campaigns. Here is an example of Volkswagen making a parody of the hip hop targeted MTV show, Pimp My Ride , which was hosted by hip hop celebrity, Xzibit. As more companies created similar campaigns, a divide grew in the commercialization of hip hop between two viewpoints: one of cooptation, the other of cultural support.


Boycott The Homophobic Buju Banton

Buju Banton is touring the US, and during his stop in San Francisco he met with a group of LGBTQ activists to discuss their boycott. In his meeting Banton stated, "This is a fight and as I said in one of my songs, 'there is no end to the war between me and &%$&%$ and it's clear.'" In a video of protest, Lorri Jean discusses the issues.

To find out more about the meeting in San Francisco, take a look at Cancel Buju Banton, at Wetpaint.

This is not the first time there have been protests by the LGBTQ community against dancehall performers. Bounty Killers, Sizzla and others have been protested around the world as a result of their homophobic beliefs. The issue raises an important point about the backwards beliefs that still remains amongst many of the Caribbean.

Here is also a detailed look at Buju Banton's homophobic past: click here.

Treasure Island Recap

With two different days of full of treasures, SFCritic put together a recap of the events, people, and performances for this year's Treasure Island Music Festival for betterPropaganda. If you've heard enough about the festival, don't worry just look at the photos--they're amazing. Here are some examples below, and links to Day 1 and Day 2.

Day 1

Day 2

Photos by Victoria Smith and Patrick Kelly

Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen

Raucous crowd during Girl Talk

Wayne Coyne's Bubble of The Flaming Lips

LTJ Bukem

Dan Deacon organizing the crowd


Just a Name: Interview with Akron/Family

Photo of Seth Olinksy by Victoria Smith

The musical process is unique for every band. As a journalist, often we're asked to explain, or conceptualize a band's sound within a context (genre, comparison, etc). In truth, there is nothing worse, because no artist strives to make music like someone else. When speaking with Seth Olinsky of Akron/Family, this couldn't be more true. Seth told me when people ask about his style of music, "we say psychedelic rock. I don’t know." Akron/Family are very experimental. There song structures aren't always mainstream friendly (intro, verse, chorus etc.). The samples, and noises they use can be very free, and reference so many different styles. As I spoke with Seth, it became clear that music was an ever changing process for him and a name, is just a name.

SFCritic (SFC): What was the first album you’ve ever owned?

Seth Olinksy (SO): I had some cassette tapes. I remember I had Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet on vinyl. It was back when I had to ask my dad to put it on a record player for me. I know the first CD I ever bought was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I had Milli Vanilli on cassette and New Kids on The Block—that was way back in the day.

SFC: What was the first instrument you played?

SO: I took piano lessons as a little kid, but I never took to it that much. When I was twelve I played the guitar, which was something that the whole time I’d wanted to do.

SFC: There is some vagueness since each member of the band plays several instruments, what instruments do you typically play?

SO: I play guitar. Live we kind of stick to the same set. I play guitar, Miles plays bass, and Dana plays drum. We all do a little bit of keyboard and samplers. When we record, Dana for example one of the more technically proficient on instruments so he can pick up a bass, guitar, piano, or whatever and do some pretty amazing things with them. Miles might be a little less technically proficient, but he comes up with unique ideas too. When we’re recording it’s kind of a free for all, with everyone doing a little bit of everything. When Miles or Dana writes a song they tend to do it on guitar, so that is included in the approach to recording too.

SFC: How was the Brooklyn scene in regards to developing music for you?

SO: It was great. When I moved there I wouldn’t characterize it as particularly the Brooklyn scene [now]. When I went to New York I really wanted to partake in the downtown jazz scene. Not so much John Zorn and those guys, but William Parker and all the guys playing around the Mission Festival. When I lived there, there were usual four bands that would play every Sunday night in the basement of CBGB, bands like Pip, Joe Morris, we had a teacher from the conservatory that was playing down there, Daniel Carter.


A&R: The Music Submissions

This week we have two bands that have strong female vocal leads. Hopefully, this is a refreshing change after the past few weeks, which have been rather intensely boy-focused if you've been paying attention. It was certainly welcome to find them in the inbox at least.

Lowenbad - Bricks for the Naysayers
Portland band Lowenbad describes themselves as a "beautiful concoction of soul, rock, and hip-hop. Combining rock guitars, soul singing, hip hop loops, politically slanted lyrics and esoteric beats". The beautiful part clearly comes from lead vocalist Holly Cole, whose sultry voice lends the "soul singing" aspect that does sound lovely over the hip hop beats. Every once in a while, the guitars and simple drum beats veer into Evanescence territory, which is too bad since the songs where the band leaves thing a bit more "raw" are the strongest. Cole clearly has the ability to deliver a tune, which lends an interest and complexity to the music that is lacking in many of the other elements.

Sounds Like:
For some reason, Dido. Maybe before she went solo.
Listen to: Another Measure, Bricks

Hey Young Believer- Invisible by Day
I am completely willing to forgive local band Hey Young Believer for their lack of complexity. Their new album is chock full of the kind of fun music that cute people will be bounce-dancing around to at live shows. Vocalist Lilly Wolfson sounds lovely on each and every track, but most of the time her vocals are so much the focus that it is hard to tell (or care) who and what is doing the backing music. Songs like "Yellow Roman Candles" show the band stretching its instrumental legs a bit more, and is one of the more agreeable on the album. I hope that future releases will showcase the obvious skill of this band with a little bit more risk-taking, maybe something weird. Bay Area kids can and should check them out Monday November 9 at Tiny Antennae Have Large Receptors.

Sounds Like: Letters to Cleo
Listen To: Playing the Grand Design, Walking Over You


Two Treasures from Treasure Island Festival

One is the loneliness number, so then two is the best way to enjoy the Treasure Island Festival. Just look at all the twos: 1) We gave two different bands, 2) both playing on different days (2 days), 3) two sets of questionnaires, 4) which we collected at two different points (pre- and post-performance), 5) with the hopes that together they would give two different perspectives, 6) on two very different days of the Treasure Island Music Festival. The Limousines performed on Saturday along with other electro influenced groups like Brazilian Girls, Passion Pit, and MSTRKFT to a young, almost rave audience. Tommy Guerrero performed to an older crowd, on a gloomy and cold Sunday where the lineup focused on indie rock with veteran artists like Bob Moulds and Yo La Tengo. Check out their answers below:


1. Simon and Garfunkel have a song called The Rock, where they sing, “A rock has no name, and an island never cries.” If you were an island what would your name be?
Limousines (L): Garfunkeland
Tommy Guerrero (TG): Drowned

2. If you were lost at sea, who would have been the captain?
L: Captain EO or Captain Crunch. They both have the credentials but couldn’t be more varied in their skill sets.
TG: Me

3. Out of all the fish in the sea, describe your best catch?
L: Hail Mary, caught a cold once or twice.
TG: A case of crabs.

4. Every ship has a flag, what symbols would be on your flag?
L: Joystick, Ipod, naked people...
TG: If I were a drummer it would be zildjian

5. If your ship was to crash aboard an island, what skills do you have to survive?
L: We could sooth savage beasts with our music, and then eat them while they sleep?
TG: Perseverance.

After Performance

1. What moment from the festival is worthy of placing in a treasure chest?
L: Surprise fireworks while someone was having sex in a plastic outhouse.
TG: Bob Mould and Yo La Tengo

2. If you were taken captive on a pirate ship who would be the first band
mate made to walk the plank, and why?
L: We'd do a tandem plank walk.
TG: Me. The captain always goes down with the ship.

3. Treasure Island used to be an army base, which band from the festival’s
lineup would you march to war with?
L: The Flaming Lips would probably be very creative and resourceful warriors.
TG: Bob. He's an intelligent cat. He'd get us out alive.

4. Performing on an island is an unusual venue. What’s the most unusual thing
you saw?
L: A family of monsters invaded our tent and ate our bananas.
TG: San Francisco as a backdrop.

5. Ginger or Mary Anne?
L: Both, of course - pleasure island.
TG: That's double trouble.


New Moon Just Keeps Making Itself Relevant

By Eve Marcellus
Twilight hysteria is alive and well, y'all. And while this certainly has it's disadvantages (Robert Pattinson over-saturation, the books and movies keep coming out, etc.) something good has to come out of it eventually. And, finally, something may have in the New Moon soundtrack. While the last go round tween fans were dazzled by songs from bands whose appreciators tend to be of a similar demographic, the New Moon soundtrack reads like a who's-who of contemporary greatness. The Killers, Muse, and Death Cab for Cutie. Thom Yorke, Bon Iver with St. Vincent, and Lykke Li. The iTunes download even has a bonus track by Lupe Fiasco. Seriously! Even though the sheer association with such a cultural spectacle is probably enough to keep the usual listeners of many of these mega-talented artists away, it should not be so.

To listen to some of the music, check out the MySpace Page, or the official website.

Blakroc: Web Episode #5

Killer.Jim Jones is a mad man. I had to play his set back twice, just to see if I was high the first time, *cough, but wow. "Cupid shoots arrows, but this girl makes my heart bleed..damn, cuz you don't know what she do to me, she could kill my soul only thing left is a eulogy." If I wasn't already psyched enough for this after the RZA and Mos Def tracks, this is by far the best clip! Jim Jones, you just made me a fan. Y'all know what you can get me for Christmas.


Kanye West and Spike Jonze's Team Up

After seeing Where The Wild Things Are, I've decided to follow anything Spike Jonze related. Then I discovered this short,We Were Once a Fairytale that Jonze did featuring Kanye West. The short tries and humanize (successfully to a degree) Kanye's ego and life. Fortunately, Kanye isn't asked to say many lines beyond "Where's the bathroom," or "I'm Kanye," or "This is my SONG!," but nonetheless, with Jonze's direction, and cinematography, the short proves to be worthy of a look. Let me know what you think:

All Grown Up: An Interview with Kid Sister

Women in hip hop don’t have it easy, just ask anyone in the business. Keeping it real is difficult when most female rappers are anything but. Dolled up into sex objects, or shot up with testosterone, hip hop is seriously void of real females. Maybe this explains one of the reasons Kid Sister’s album has been so heavily anticipated. She’s not trying to impress anyone with something she’s not, rather she says things like “I’m gonna fart on Usher.” Not to mention, she has skills. The Chicago rapper has a style of her own, and as SFCritic chatted with her, it became clear it’s more than just music.

SFCritic (SFC): In the past you’ve called yourself a nerd, and your music as "nerd hip hop". Why do you call yourself a nerd?

Kid Sister (KS): Everything is like a silly joke to me. It’s always hilarious to me that we do these shows in Vegas, Miami, and all these grown and sexy places. I’ll be getting ready listening to the Hairspray soundtrack the 1988 version, listening to Chubby Checker [she begins to sing]. Then we get to these grown, sexy places, and the bass is like [boom boom] and I’m just like, “Whooaa...Why can’t we all just hangout, watch "Adult Swim", and eat a bucket of chicken, cause you know that’s what you want to do anyway." Let’s just nerd out, and after that let’s play Cranium.

SFC: How did you get the name Kid Sister?

KS: My brother picked it for me. This was when I first started doing music and he was like, “Wouldn’t it be great if when you came on the stage, the transition would be like [scratch noise] kid sister.” We are so dorky.

SFC: Did you start rapping first with Flosstradamus?

KS: Yeah. They had a group first, and were doing parties around the city. I thought, “Ooh, I could do that.” I’m the musical one and he’s the athlete.

SFC: How did you end up meeting A-Trak (boyfriend and label manager)?

KS: We met each other at a festival. He was friends with my brother and Curt already because they’re DJs. We met at Intimation Pitchfork, which I don’t think they have anymore. It’s just Pitchfork. Are you familiar with that festival?

SFC: I’m familiar with Pitchfork. I’m actually looking at your interview as we speak.

KS: Oh, “I want to fart on Usher.”


Treasure Island Festival Saturday Music Sampler

The Treasure Island Festival takes place this weekend, with Saturday focusing on electronic styled music, and Sunday structured around indie rock. This Saturday there is an assortment of DJs, and artists, from around the world, each having contributing an unique style. Let's take a look:

LTJ Bukem

They call his style drum and bass, but limiting an artist to a "genre" is just like stereotyping. With fusions of acid jazz, hip hop, and so much more, I can't believe I didn't know LTJ Bukem before now. Seriously, his stuff is pretty ill. He began releasing music in the early 90s, and has a discography larger that most artists ever get to achieve. Definitely, worth a listen.


Not to long ago we posted about Murs the scientist, dropping knowledge. His new album Murs For President is his first on a major label. Having been a member of the famous underground crew, The Living Legends, Murs has worked with anyone from Slug (Atmosphere) to Grouch. Providing a little hip hop to all the dance step, synthesizer infused, DJ music on Saturday--Murs alongside The Streets will be a refreshing break from "BOOM BOOM BOOM GET YOUR ASS ON THE FLOOR." Not hating, just stating.

DJ Krush

DJ Krush (Hideaki Ishi) is a Japanese hip hop producer, and DJ. As Wikipedia writes "Aside from being considered one of the pioneers of Japanese hip hop, Ishi has established himself as one of the most respected artists and producers in the hip hop industry, both in Japan and abroad. He is reluctant to identify his music with any particular genre, for it would place limits on his listeners and on his talents. He has been regarded as ambient, trip hop, some combination of the two, and hip hop. DJ Krush prefers to exercise an ideological distance from the genres he is usually grouped into, while maintaining a healthy appreciation for all music forms and styles."


MSTRKRFT have mastered the remix. Whether taking John Legend, or working with N.O.R.E. and other rap artists. Their futuristic sound has been compared to Daft Punk, but recently they've used more vocal effects issuing more a disco and auto-tune-post-hip-hop (yes, I'm saying that) sound. The duo is originally from Canada.


Treasure Island Playlist

With Treasure Island this weekend, here at SFCritic we decided to give you a taste of what to expect with SFCritic Playlist #5 (The Treasure Island Mix). This mix is pretty simple, but if you want a REALLY GOOD mix, you should check out the incredible mix at Bettpropaganda.

Betterpropaganda : Treasure Island Mix

List Top 5: Hip Hop Videos for Kids

"Hip Hop Videos for Kids," isn't really for kids, but rather adults like SFCritic, who still acts like a kid when laughing at bad edited Youtube videos. Thanks to Youtube and 50 Cent "My Buddy," is no longer a reference just to a doll. We all knew that Disney movies had some messed up innuendos and subtle imagery, but who knew southern rap sounded SO GOOD as the soundtrack. Here is a compilation of five videos that make hip hop, kids, and SFCritic just a little more laughable. Enjoy:

5. My Buddy Commercial ft. 50 Cent

4.Beauty and the Beast ft. Juvenile


T-Pain and Obama on Jimmy Kimmel

My friend Jessica posted this and I couldn't stop laughing. It's a rainy day here in SF, so I thought this might bring a little warmth. *gag* No seriously, this is hilarious, take a look at this video, which features T-Pain helping Obama jazz up his speeches with a little auto-tune. Not to mention Jimmy Kimmel fumbles with the distinction of "Masta T, I mean Master P, Mr. T., and T. Pain."

Featured Artist: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down

In an effort to prepare for this year's Treasure Island Music Festival, I've decided to spend some of the week getting to know, and hear the scheduled artists.

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
For Thao Nguyen, the adorable 23-year-old Virginia-bred cheeky
songwriter, things have come a long way since her 2006 appearance
on the KRS compilation, The Sound the Hare Heard. Last year, Thao
gave us her sophmore release We Brave Bee Stings and All, a perky, twee
guitar and vox-filled album. She and Justin Power, a Portland
songerwriter, have most recently collaborated with Kill Rock
Stars labelmates Portland Cello Project. While comparisons may
draw this Washington, DC/San Francisco bi-coaster to Feist, Thao's
buoyant songs and nuevo guitar skills armed with plucking tools,
toothbrush or sharpie pen, horns, and a full rhythm section with
her band, The Get Down Stay Down, make her delightfully unique.

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down: "Bag of Hammers"


Perezfest 2k9 or Ladyhawk at the Fillmore (9/30/2009)

By Eve Marcellus

All Photos By Patrick Kelly

It is with most sincere apologies that I state that this is yet again another Perez Hilton-related post. As part of the "Perez Hilton Presents Tour," last Wednesday the enigmatic and adorable Kiwi singer known as Ladyhawke (aka Pip Brown) took to the venerable Fillmore stage. For full disclosure, this was my first time at the Fillmore, which is an awesome venue. It is a little striking that the lineup of shows for the next several months is eclectic enough to include everything from Foreigner to Matisyahu to Dinosaur Jr. to five nights (yes, five) of the Black Crowes.With the exception of Brown and her London-based band's extremely satisfying performance, it was a strange and awkward evening.


A&R: The Music Submissions

By Eve Marcellus

-Night is the New Day
Katatonia is a Swedish goth-metal band whose upcoming Night is the New Day is their eighth studio album. The band has been together and making music since the early 1990s. When discussing the recording studio the band choose for the album this is literally what their website describes: "Broken glass, blood on the walls at the front door to the building and threatening messages written on the elevator. Even excrement and urine on the floor in the basement makes you wonder if the caretaker is a serial killer himself." Right. Well, whether or not that story is true, one would assume the outcome of such, let's say, inspiring surroundings would be one bad ass album. And in it's own way, it sort of is. There is an obvious skill that comes from almost two decades of hard rocking, and many tracks on Night is the New Day seem to show that off. Unfortunately, nothing remarkable seems to be happening. The combination of a lack of lyrical complexity and a surprisingly high number of slower, quieter songs doesn't quite grab you by the heartstrings or inspire but a few headbangs. Whether or not this album is "possibly the greatest heavy record in the last 10 years" as their website touts, it's certainly not something to seek out if it's not your "thing".

Sounds like: You know, Swedish metal, right?
Listen to: Forsaker


Hockey- Mind Chaos
Plaid shirts? Check. Floppy hair? Also, check. A mustachioed band member? Oh heavens yes. So Portland, Oregon's Hockey is totally a hipster band. They are also making fully infectious, totally likable dance music and making it well. According to their website, they started making music people could have fun to at the parties they played. With Mind Chaos, they have certainly succeeded.
Instrumentally, the synth is mostly the star of the show, often recalling either late 70s disco rhythms ("Learn to Lose") or 80s new wave on "Song Away". The vocals end a bit of a harder rock edge to the music and the lyrics, which range from witty to complex to tongue-in-cheek and self-aggrandizing, seem like a real bonus when so many contemporaries seem to treat them as an afterthought. "Too Fake", the single, stands out as the star of the album, recalling such recent blog hits as The Teenagers "Rich Girls", but not one track on Mind Chaos disappoints. That's reason enough to throw a party, isn't it? Hockey's finishing up a few more U.S. tour dates with Portugal. The Man before heading to Europe.

Sounds Like: Arctic Monkeys, The Killers (Hot Fuss)
Listen To: Too Fake, Wanna be Black


Listen to What You're Missin': Brother Ali & Scarface, J Cole, Fresh Breath Committee, and Kid Sister

"Listen to What You're Missin'" is a series of posts consisting of four tracks each week, giving you an updated look at new music. This week is all about fresh and clean hip hop, featuring: Brother Ali & Scarface, J Cole, Fresh Breath Committee, and Kid Sister.

Brother Ali & Scarface: "American Nightmare"

Brother Ali and Scarface kill it on "American Nightmare," which is featured on BK-One's new album RĂ¡dio Do Canibal. The album also features Slug, Black Thought, Phonte, and Murs. Released on Rhymesayers, there is plenty of MN flare with production from Benzilla (keep your ear out for this dude) and appearances from I-Self Divine, P.O.S. and Toki Wright. Do I need to say more, oh yeah, thanks for the exclusive Peter Parker. "This is a PETER PARKER, Exclusive" got it, thanks.


Blakroc: Web Episode #3

Episode Three

"Are you sure you can smoke in here," Jim Jones ask and then shortly afterward the man is immersed in clouds. As I mentioned last month, Blakroc is The Black Keys produced hip hop super group, has been releasing web episodes each week, documenting the creation of the album, giving us a little taste. It's all to make us WANT MORE--and it's killing me! This week's episode focuses on Jim Jones, but last week was Mos Def, check below for that.

Episode Two

Fresh Video: Q-Tip Ft. Norah Jones "Life Is Better"

Q-Tip's Renaissance, released in 2008, was one of the few hip hop albums that was good through and through. "Life is Better," along with "ManWomanBoogie," were some of the standout tracks. I had no idea Norah Jones was on the track, but well--that makes me like her all the more. Enjoy:


What's in a Name?: An Interview with Starfucker Before The Name Change

Republished from SF Station

The band currently have a contest to change their name. Their name is changing, but not their uplifting electro-pop sound that gets anybody, and everybody dancing at their shows. Known for their cross dressing antics, and non-stop dance parties, the group just wants to have fun. With big names like Target, the Weeds TV series, and IBM using the group’s music, it’s safe to say they’re on the rise. For Bay Area fans, Starfucker will be playing in San Francisco on Oct. 7th at the Bottom of The Hill (18+).SF Station spoke with keyboardist and producer Josh Hodges before a show of theirs in Brooklyn, about having fun, names, and starfuckers.

SFCritic (SFC): So I remember at your last show, I saw that you guys were dressed in drag. Why do you do that?

Josh Hodge (JH): I think we all do it for different reasons, but we all like it. My reason is my mom. I spent my twenty-first birthday at a cross dressing club. It’s for fun, and also, because it doesn’t matter. My Mom is friends with a lot of people that are cross dressers. One of her best friends is a Liza Minnelli impersonator.

SFC: Has there ever been a time when the crowd looked at you blankly like, “why are they dancing and dressed like that?”


Live Review of Bon Iver: The Fox Theater

All Photos by Scott Chernis
It seems only trivial that the bigger the venue, the larger the audience, the less intimate the performance, but Bon Iver isn’t trivial. Playing to a sold out crowd of approximately 2,300 at Oakland’s new Fox Theater, Bon Iver and opener Megafaun created one of the most memorable performances I’ve seen to date. His self-released debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, catapulted him as a favorite amongst music blogs, critics (Pitchfork gave him 8.1), and artists (feature on Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Dark Was The Night). Now he is showing the world why.

Justin Vernon became Bon Iver in a quiet, cold, and secluded cabin in Wisconsin, where he created and produced For Emma, Forever Ago, which the The Sunday Times called a “minimalist masterpiece.” His voice and arrangement is soft, chilling, and comforting all at once. It’s so minimalist that I was unsure about his live performance without the vocal effects and production layers. Just like the reviews I read prior said—he was brilliant.


Diggin' in the Crates: Chromeo's "I Can't Tell You Why"

Chromeo's new single "I Can't Tell You Why," from their new DJ-Kicks Compilation, is a funktified version of the Eagles' song. It's a toss up for me, as the Eagles are that 80s rock group you love to hate, and hate but love. Above is the original Eagles' song, and below is the Chrome song and some Wikipedia info about the group (note: Bay Area folks, Chromeo will be performing at Mezzanine on Oct. 10th).

Chromeo: "I Can't Tell You Why"

From Wikipedia: Chromeo
Chromeo is a Montreal based electrofunk duo whose music is described as "a shameless return to the glistening, sex-saturated synth-pop which ruled the eighties."

The duo is composed of P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) on keyboards, synthesizers, and talk box, and Dave 1 (David Macklovitch) on guitar and lead vocals. The two childhood friends jokingly describe themselves as "the only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.
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