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Wednesday

Upcoming Concerts 6/30-7/7

Blitzen Trapper @ The Fillmore, June 30th,9pm ($20) Over the course of their four full-length albums to date, including their revelatory 2008 Sub Pop release Furr, front man Eric Earley’s considerable poetic talents and his band’s hard-earned chops have gained them a growing international audience. The band’s continuing exploration of American music that spans from the ‘60s folk movement to the country sounds of the ‘70s, to the pop balladry and prog rock of the ‘80s has earned it notice ranging from Rolling Stone magazine to late-night network television to Yo Gabba Gabba, among a great many others.

Dum Dum Girls (and Crocodiles)@ The Bottom of The Hill, June 30th, 9pm($12)Led by Dee Dee, Dum Dum Girls churn out pop music that adheres to her self-proclaimed M.O.: “blissed-out buzz saw.” Dee Dee formed DDG in late 2008 as a solo project the name a nod to both The Vaseline's album, Dum-Dum, and the Iggy Pop song “Dum Dum Boys.”

Cake @ The Independent, July 1st, 8pm, ($50) Setting out from Sacramento, California in 1991, CAKE quickly graduated from packing local venues to becoming a favorite in the thriving San Francisco scene. The combination of McCrea's captivatingly unwitting amalgam of Jonathan Richman, David Byrne, and Woody Guthrie – off-kilter yet strangely relatable – with CAKE's shambolic country funk took Northern California by storm. Key to the band’s sound then and now is DiFiore’s trumpet playing, which makes brilliant use of a timbre rarely heard in post-modern rock. (The event is called Climatepolooza which benefits Telegraph Hill, providing resources for their solar power)

Nite Jewel and Dam Funk @ Mezzanine, July 1st, 9pm ($15) A great combination of funky beats (Dam Funk), and ambient chill-fi (Nite Jewel). Our buddies at Betterpropaganda are giving away tickets to the show if you're interested. Check here.

Tuesday

Album Review: The Hold Steady "Heaven is Whenever"

By William Clarke

There are many reasons I love The Hold Steady. Their music has always felt vaguely familiar and affirming to me. Beyond my own connections to Minnesota that ensure a degree of shared references with Craig Finn, I also lived for the kind of life that he has made career out of describing in such rich detail. Finn’s lyrics convey a sort of rueful, unromantic nostalgia. He rarely sentimentalizes. Oftentimes his lyrics seem startlingly matter of fact, as if Finn is resigned to these events as they happened without moralizing. This mentality really shapes the narrative drive of his songwriting. Indeed, rather than missing any of these particular moments, many of which sound miserable, we sense Finn’s own latent and, in many ways, indeterminate melancholy.

As I suggested earlier, I connect deeply to these sentiments but after a few listens I found that Heaven is Whenever fell a bit flat. Finn insisted that the record was about “trying to age gracefully.” That idea is pretty evident at points, such as when he sings “God only knows it's not always a positive thing. To see a few seconds into the future” on “The Weekenders.” This phrase arrives after he repeatedly insists earlier, “he remembers.” The anxiety has in large part to do with the sort of vexed position of someone in his late 30s.

Certainly the enduring childishness of your late teens and early twenties leads to a sort of wistful remorse or remembrance as one belatedly enters adulthood. That tension has always been at the heart of Finn’s songwriting and though some elements more explicitly related to aging might be more obvious, Heaven is Whenever is not a real departure from The Hold Steady of old. At points some songs sound like B-sides from previous records, for better or worse. In some ways this is totally okay.

The Hold Steady have a great sound that has worked very well on their previous records but given that this is their fifth album they run the risk of sounding stale. I found the too long and overly grand “A Slight Discomfort” to be a particularly disappointing end to the album. Slightly different stories from Finn don’t signal a shift in direction for the band and the musical formula ought to be tweaked. The record feels like a transition piece. One I will gladly listen to, if not out of mere loyalty because they are still a damn good band. Heaven is Whenever isn’t quite a full step in a different, fruitful direction but given The Hold Steady’s body of work, I think it’s a safe bet they will get there.

Monday

Interview with Philadelphia Grand Jury


By Sara Morgan

“This one’s about a girl I was in love, her boyfriend wanted to kill me...” Berkfinger says of the track ‘When you’re boyfriend comes back to town’. Then adds with a smile “in fact pretty much all the songs are about one girl or another I’ve been in love with.”

Berkfinger kinda sounds like he’s been sucking on a helium balloon, making his raw vocals seem all the more surprising. Riotous fun, upbeat pop-punk is how to best describe the sound of Philadelphia Grand Jury, the name they’ve settled on after various incarnations, inspired by the Feiry Furnaces.

Berkfinger and MC Bad Genius, aka Simon Berckelman and Joel Beeson, formed this 3 piece. In person their shyness is cunningly disguised behind beards. They have that easy way with each other that only comes from having known each other since misbehaving as kids, which is why they probably admit things other bands would go to lengths to hide...

“With ‘The Next Neil Young’ we’re talking about how everyone is trying to be so different and innovative like Neil Young and they all end up sounding the same. Ironically we borrowed the bass line from ‘Kate’ from Ben Folds Five who we think borrowed it from The Beatles’ ‘Lady Madonna’... should I have said that?”

It’s pretty endearing that they can’t help but reveal themselves and don’t tow a record company line. In fact the making of Hope is for Hopers, their debut release, didn’t involve the big guns at all. They wrote, recorded, engineered and released it themselves under their own label ‘Normal People Making Hits’ for under $3,000 (AusD). Berkfinger’s previous engineering credits include Architecture in Helsinki and Wolfmother.

To prove their commitment to putting the “fun into funk” they marked the album release by taking to the back of a truck and performing 7 shows in one day at various locations around Sydney. The first show was in the city centre at 8am as the suits rushed into their offices ties flapping over their shoulders. The last was 11pm to Sydney’s party set on the Purple Sneakers’ rooftop. Their goofball antics included smashing up pianos and throwing guitars into the crowd.

The Jury is in. Do your duty, check them out at

Friday

Concert Review: Fat Freddy's Drop at The Independent

By Erik Thybony
Photos by Victoria Smith



We get to the venue early and the door guy tells us the band won’t be on for another forty minutes and the only music is a DJ spinning reggae remixes of Zeppelin and The Doors and so we sit there and drink and take pictures and eventually the place starts to fill up and we make our way to the front and everyone around us is moving and I get separated from my girlfriend and some dready hippie chick starts grinding in front of me and she’s swaying and bumping into me and swinging her dreads into my face and I’m getting claustrophobic and sweaty and I’m out of beer and so I decide to cut my losses and I turn and push through the crowd toward the back bar and wash up there, much happier, before Fat Freddy’s Drop has played a note.


Fresh bottle in hand, I watch the musicians take the stage. Holy shit, I think. It’s the Dave Matthews Ska Band. These guys look like they walked out of 1989 into 2010. I wonder if this is typical New Zealand fashion. Before I can wonder too far, the MC is telling us to put our hands together and the drum loop drops in and the keys kick up and the horn section purrs and the ambient echoes bounce down between the speakers and everything is flowing slow. Whoa, man, now I know what it sounds like inside a bong!


And that analogy is not a stretch in the slightest. Before I left for the show, Wikipedia told me that Fat Freddy is the name of the cartoon cat printed on the blotter acid the band was chomping down on (or, you know, “dropping”) during their first recording session. Also, the members have stage names like “Joe Dukie” and “Dobie Blaze.” Is this subtle? Nope. But at least the pieces fit.

Fat Freddy’s Drop formed as a jam band, and they still have a taste for improvisation. According to their bio, “no two Freddy’s shows are ever the same.” Their drum loops, however, are another story. An hour into the show, the dub reggae beat is still chugging away at just about the same tempo. It occurs to me I’m watching a band jam on stage without a live drummer. Can they do that? Sure they can. And they can do it well. But since I’m playing critic tonight, I get to say that I think it holds them back.


What makes great jam bands great is their ability to shift collectively with each other and with the vibe of the crowd, to hit peaks and then pull back, to build tension and release. But this sort of feedback loop requires a musician receiving the input and making corrections in real time. Twisting a BPM knob and cutting between samples, as good as it can sound, is not the same as having a drummer behind a kit being buoyed by same waves as everyone else in the room. Fat Freddy’s Drop effortlessly ascends to cruising altitude, but after that, all their improvisation is horizontal. They are tethered to the drum machine, and it makes it hard to soar.


But then again, I’m fairly sober. Let’s face facts: these guys sold out three shows at the Independent, in advance. They also independently recorded the highest-selling album by a national artist in New Zealand’s history. They’re also stony as fuck. Drummer or not, Fat Freddy’s Drop throws a fun party. Get into it.

If you're interested in learning more about Fat Freddy's Drop, check out their interview with SFCritic.

#FF Mp3 Downloads:Nada Surf, J Cole, !!!, Violens...

!!!: "AM/FM"
Late summer dance parties, beware. !!! (bka Chk Chk Chk) is unleashing a new album just before Labor Day. “AM/FM” is the first taste of the Brooklyn partystarters’ so-called Berlin club record, but to us, it feels more like rocking out, falling down, and scraping both knees on a diamond-encrusted dance floor. Equal parts blood and sparkle.


Violens: "Acid Reign"
Violens’ (pronounced "vy-lenz") agile savant-rock is a tough beast to tame. They make a lot of noise for three guys–things appear and disappear in new single “Acid Reign” relatively quickly; effected piano here, metallic guitar there; chorus explosion here, whippersnapper verse there. It’s all very busy, but also very memorable. Confused? Understandable. It’s just good, prickly rock music.


Stars: "We Don't Want Your Body
Since we recently reviewed Stars, why not share Stars. O, Canada. Your weepy alterna-musings are so killer, we suppose, because you arguably started this whole “indie” thing. Quebecois troupe STARS are pillars in a scene fraught with flippant trends and half-bands, having dominating our musical lexicon for the past several years. From their fifth LP release, The Five Ghosts is “We Don’t Want Your Body,” a finger-snapping tune made for smiling on a warm day.


Nada Surf: "Electrocution"
To many, Nada Surf will forever be the poster boys of the alternative anthem “Popular.” But, today they are enjoying a resurgence that few ‘90s bands do, and touting their mellower, less angst-ridden rock with a covers album and a giveaway of their lead track. Bill Fox’s “Electrocution” was already a sunny strummer/AM radio classic, and with Nada Surf, it thankfully stays that way.


J Cole: "Who Dat"
Raised on a rabid diet of Canibus couplets, Nas narratives, and Jay-Z melodies, 25-year-old Jermaine Cole is grown enough to wonder whether you’re familiar with this name but young enough to not care and just do his own thing. If he’s news to you, rest assured your favorite rapper’s rapper has been keeping tabs for some time. “Who Dat” is four minutes of good reasons to remember the kid.

Thursday

Concert Calendar 6/24-6/30

Tussle, Boyz IV Men, Religious Girls and Kid Meets Cougar @ Milk, June 24th ($5)Besides a bunch of awesome named bands, this is our buddies at Epicsauce weekly showcase, which has proven, time and time again, to be awesome. Expect a lot of electronic music, up-tempo and danceable, and cheap drinks ($3 PBR & Trummers). Doesn't that sound appealing?

Pavement @ The Greek Theater, June 25th ($39.50)After ten years, Pavement has reunited to tour. We recently spoke with Scott Kannberg about the group's reunion. Tickets are steep, but at The Greek you can listen in the parking lot for free--which is the real indie experience.

Judgement Day @ Snob Theater, 9:30pm ($10) Mix string metal (Judgement Day) with an excellent comedy lineup,(Alex Koll, DJ Real, Red Scott, and Melanie O'Brien) in an intimate venue (Snob Theater) and you're guaranteed to smile. Our buddies at Katarokkar put this event on frequently, so if you like what you hear, check back with them for follow ups!

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings @ The Warfield, June 25th, 9pm ($22.50) Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have come a long way since their humble beginnings nearly a decade ago. Steeped within the gilded and gritty sounds of gospel, soul and funk, this nine-piece Brooklyn collective has continued to electrify fans, disc jockeys, critics, record collectors, and bloggers the world-over with their authentic, heart-felt sound.

Backstreet Boys @ San Francisco Pride (Main Stage), June 27th, 4pm (Free) The boy band that makes me miss my youth will be performing at this year's pride festival. They will also be playing at the Warfield later that night if you're so DESPERATE to see them. Backstreet is back, alright!

The Music Submissions: The Sparking Arrest and Beach Fossils




The Sparking Arrest - "Live In The White Room Pt 1 EP"

Australia-based band The Sparkling Arrest is comprised of brothers Bharat, Anand, and Dhyan Chalmers. Despite only having been around since 2009, the first two have been playing together for years, and it is apparent in their sound. The soaring guitar riffs, dynamic chords and emotive vocals all come together in their digitally-released debut EP, Live in the White Room. It took me a couple listens to get into them, but they definitely have a unique sound that is more fitting to seasoned veterans than young rockers who have been playing publicly for less than a year. They have not cited any particular influences, as they are trying to sound different to anything else out there, and I must say that they have done a pretty good job thus far.

Sounds like: Something different
Listen to: In The Cloud, Not a Soul In Sight



Beach Fossils - "Beach Fossils"

Summer is officially upon us. And in San Francisco, that means lots of fog sprinkled with the occasional sunny day when it becomes perfectly acceptable to drop everything and head to the closest beach/park/pool. For these rare occasions, I am always in need of the perfect soundtrack. Beach Fossils' self-titled debut album, released May 25th, is the type that lends itself to daydreaming and lazy summer days lounging by the pool. Brooklyn-based front man Dustin Payseur seamlessly blends melodic bass lines with hazy lo-fi vocals that, while not completely knocking me off my feet, still make me want to put this album on repeat. After a while, the songs all start to sound the same and kind of blend into one another, and while most of the time I would consider that a bad thing, in Beach Fossils' case, it actually suits me just fine.

Sounds like: if Joy Division went on an oceanside summer vacay
Listen to: Youth, Vacation, The Horse

Wednesday

Weezer "Represent" the Unofficial Theme for US Soccer Team

"Represent" is River Cuomo's unofficial US Soccer team music video. It is not a hip hop inspired song (unfortunately). In a separate video interview/music video ("Lover in the Snow"), Cuomo explains his passion for soccer, which initially sounds like a save the sanctity of marriage advertisement; "Perhaps because my parents split up when I was four, and I rarely saw my dad when I was growing up I romanticized everything about him..." and proceeds to talk about his dad's (then his) desire to play soccer, how he has a bum leg, and then decided to become a rock star (boo hoo). Ok so clearly I'm not the biggest River Cuomo fan, whom in my circle is compared to Owl City (wiki: "Rock Star Get Rich Schemes"). I think ever since Weezer did a snuggie, I dropped him like it was hot. I love Pinkerton, and I even did "Island in the Sun," but that's all the praise they'll get from me. Below is the "Represent" video, as well as Cuomo's heart felt soccer interview.

"Represent"


"Lover in the Snow" (Heart felt soccer video)

Tuesday

Stars "The Five Ghosts" Concert Review


The up and down surprises of growing up in high school make for an interesting experience. I walk into the Stars’ performance knowing nothing about them except that all the members of group were formerly a part of Broken Social Scene. I venture into The Independent for their second sold-out show like a kid on his first day of school, anxiously excited and totally unprepared. Though their newest album The Five Ghosts hadn’t been released (released June 21st) at the time, the group chose to play the album from beginning to end. It’s an ambitious effort, which in some reviews I’ve read is meant “only for the true Star fans.” I’m not a “true” fan. I’ve never walked these halls, but I lend my ear.

At first, I feel like I’ve stepped into an advanced language class with a tongue I’m not suited to understand. After doing my homework (post-show), The Five Ghosts does not drift thematically from the Stars’ typical platform of dramatic, bordering melodramatic, bordering “stop whining!” Songs like “Changes” pair with blank stares out rainy day windows. “Dead Hearts” is dramatically charged like a Broadway musical on anti-depressants. Ominous lyrics like “this is last time that there’s going to be a last time, you’re going to wake up without it,” from “The Last Song Ever Written,” sound heavier than a mother’s guilt, and almost feel a little ridiculous. So being unaware of this lyrical soap opera, I feel like I am listening to a soundtrack for Sixteen Candles.

All Photos by Melissa Clark

So I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and let out any judgments—a trick from my counselor. The background coos. The accentuated guitar licks. The gentle pulsating bass line. They get under my skin. I start tapping my feet. Then four tracks into the set “Fixed” takes a refreshing shift to an upbeat tempo as vocalist Amy Millan sings “it’s all in your head, wondering if I am fisticuffs.” I smile at the use of “fisticuffs”—feeling it’s bold, ridiculous, and awesome. The pace continues with the synth laden “We Don’t Want Your Body,” that echos krautrock and begs for a 80s dance off with zebra pants, and bobbing ponytails. The atmosphere turns to a dance party, and I’m thrilled by the opportunity.

During “Changes” both vocalist (Torquill Campbell and Amy Millian) embrace each other while singing. A fan screams “Makeout!” and the immaturity coupled with 80s prom dance music makes it hard for me to shake thoughts that I am in high school. But I’m okay as I find comfort in the sonic familiarities to personal favorites like La Roux, Bat For Lashes and Flock of Seagulls.

After completing The Five Ghosts the set breaks for a short recess. When Millian returns she excitedly states, “Now songs you will know!” She gives a good stage kick, and then dives quickly into their most ubiquitous hit, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead.” There is more edginess to some of the older hits, which encourages me to dig into my history books for more Mp3s. I leave soon after because it was a school night, and though I was having fun, I had to prepare this review for you.

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Beck, “IRM” Review

By Rip Empson

You may know Charlotte Gainsbourg as the stunning and talented French actress from The Science of Sleep, 21 Grams, or Lars von Trier’s Palme-d’Or-winning Antichrist -- but what you may not know is that she also happens to be the daughter of legendary gallic singer/songwriter and troublemaker, Serge Gainsbourg. It seems music has always been in her blood, even though she’s spent most of her musical life in the shadow of her father – and their strange, provocative 1984 duet album that included a song called “Lemon Incest.”

Fast forward to 2006 and you’d find Gainsbourg beginning to establish her own musical sound, thanks to her Air-backed, heart-break record, 5:55, which went platinum in France. She parlayed her success into a collaboration with jack-of-all-sounds, Mr. Beck Hansen, who produced her latest effort, IRM.

Written, produced, arranged, and mostly played by Beck, IRM unsurprisingly sounds a lot like … a Beck album. WEIRD, right? With the sonic swashbuckler at the helm, musically IRM is a Frankensteinian mix of psych rock, nerd rap, graveyard blues, and eerie ballads. As a result, the album feels a lot like the doppelganger of Modern Guilt, Beck’s 2008 collaboration with the ubiquitous Danger Mouse.


Thematically, IRM, which is French for “MRI,” was inspired by a head injury Gainsbourg sustained while water skiing that led to two years of testing and multiple brain scans to prove that she was healthy. The incident and its aftermath left an indelible impression on her, inspiring the album’s mood, which seems permeated by electronic resonances, biological cadences, and heavy, existential lyrics.

Though Gainsbourg’s vocal abilities seem somewhat limited, she gets the most out of her voice, varying her approach with each song. And in spite of the overall eeriness of the album, her reverb-soaked cooing, purring, and double-tracked harmonizing adds a sex appeal and joyful defiance to the sinister landscape.

The heavy bass, minimal guitar and breathy vocals of the album allow its songs to anxiously explore the darker side of pop music, as the distortion-tinged guitar of “Trick Pony” sounds like something Danger Mouse and The Black Keys would have created, as Gainsbourg’s vocal harmonies float over it in psychedelic reverb – as is “Looking Glass Blues,” which is another opiate-filled song riffing on Alice in Wonderland, backed by inverted organ and spooky blues guitar.

All in all, IRM seems to have brought out the best of both Beck and Gainsbourg, especially if you are a fan of the creepier side of pop. There’s a lot going on sonically, and a lot of pondering going on thematically, which gives the album depth and makes it worthy of multiple listens. I’m not always a fan of dour, abstract pop music, but a sexy French grim reaper is better than the alternative, am I right? IRM may be wispy-edged and hallucinogenic, but it succeeds in celebrating the fragility and darkness of life -- and, in the end -- the bliss of survival.

It’s definitely an interesting album and well worth a listen.

11 out of a possible 13 caskets.

Monday

Interview with Pavement (Scott Kannberg)




Ten years after their tumultuous breakup, Pavement is more popular than ever. After years of “not being ready,” lead singer Stephen Malkmus finally agreed to a reunion. Now, with a handful of U.S. dates and the European leg of the tour behind them, Pavement returns to the U.S. for a special homecoming show in Stockton on June 24th, followed by a performance at the Greek Theater on June 25th. SFCritic spoke with guitarist Scott Kannberg about the group’s reunion.

SFCritic (SFC): I read a review that suggested you’re playing better because there isn’t the tension that once was pulling the group apart. Is there any truth in that?

Scott Kannberg (SK): With Pavement, we always did everything that people asked to do. We’d go to a town after traveling eight hours and go do three hours of interviews; that stuff just starts tiring you out and making your grumpy. There was definitely some tension in Pavement at the end, but I think it was just people were not having fun. At the time, I didn’t like to accept that was what was going on, but I wasn’t very happy.

SFC: There is an emphasis in everyone’s responses during interviews that your booking agent made this reunion happen.

SK: He would ask us every year for the last three or four years, do you want to do something. I think he finally said, “I think the next year would be a really good time to do it because no one really has anything going on. The ten year thing is a good time to do things.”

SFC: You’ve repeatedly expressed publicly a desire to get back together. Did your booking agent play a part in convincing Stephen?

SK: I think he did. I think Stephen just needs somebody to convince him. [laughs] I think he knew he wanted to do it, but he just wanted everyone else to say they wanted to do it. Whatever.

SFC Was money a reason?

SK: Not really. For some members of the band it probably was a little bit of an issue.


SFC: Is the band a better fit now?

SK: It’s different. When you take time away from it, and do other things in some ways it’s a better fit, but you’re still playing old songs. In the old days we had a new record to promote, and we’d play new songs along with the old songs.

SFC: Are you and Stephen as close as you once were?

SK: No, not really.

SFC: Was there an awkward rehash when you first sat back down together?

SK: Yeah, you kind of rehash the fun times. There weren’t really that many bad times, so it wasn’t really like, you know [pauses]. We’re pretty passive, all of us anyway. Talking about stuff is not really the best anyway! [laughs]

SFC: Have you thought about joining any fantasy sports league [Stephen has a fantasy sports addiction] with him?

SK: No, he wants me to, but I don’t really do that. The only sport I really like is baseball, so I could probably do that.

SFC: How have you reconnected with Stephen?

SK: I don’t know, I think it’s more just normal life stuff. What stuff to people bond over really?

SK: I’m trying to see where you might still have commonalities.

SK: I think it’s growing up together and knowing what someone is like. He’s got a family and basically he talks to his family on Skype everyday, and sits on his computer and does fantasy sports, and then does the show. The whole band is not connecting in a way like we’re a new band. We’re doing this for the fun of it.


Pavement perform at the Greek Theater on June 25th. Tickets are $39.50. The show begins at 8pm.

Friday

#FF Download MP3s: Cee-Lo, Crystal Castles, Tokyo Police Club...

Cee-Lo": "Georgia"
In 1960, when Ray Charles’ released his version of “Georgia On My Mind,” it catapulted to the top of the R&B charts, later becoming the official song of the State Of Georgia in 1979. Well-oiled soul machine Cee-Lo Green’s emotional ode to his home state, “Georgia,” may not replace that classic in the Georgia General Assembly, but it certainly carries all the weight, sincerity and soul as Charles’ string-laden lament.


The Love Language: "Heart To Tell"
The Love Language was, for a time, a band, but it’s back to being just Stuart McLamb, North Carolina native and talented yarner of heart-busting chamber-pop supernovas. “Heart To Tell” is the lovesick, light footed crux of the new Love Language album, Libraries.


Tokyo Police Club; "Wait Up"
Already given the once-over by soon-to-be-tourmates Passion Pit, “Wait Up (Boots Of Danger),” falls into the hands of Worcester, Mass pop miscreant DOM, who, despite being all of twenty-two, appears to be well versed in eighties baby nostalgia. Meaning, this remix sounds like you’re listening to the original from inside Zach Morris’ cell phone. Re-runs are the new Nuggets, y’all.


Crystal Castles: "Celestica"
If Crystal Castles’ “Celestica” already sounded slightly the wrong side of addled euphoria, here Sonic Youth hero Thurston Moore takes the track on ‘til the morning after, revelling in skittering, comedown rhythms and headache fuzz.


Ghost Poet ft Micachu: "Morning"
This Micachu-featuring track sounds like the work of someone busy: Mica Levi hammering “Morning” into shape with percussion like the bangs and slaps of some sonic work yard. Ghostpoet’s lax drawl is the perfect complement to such endeavor.


Dawes: "When My Time Comes" (Live)
If you’re in the market for a sing-along, you can’t really do better than “When My Time Comes,” one of those jugular-stretching, Boss-nodding songs people often refer to as “barn burners”. It’s the high water mark of Dawes’ debut LP, North Hills, but it’s also, like all righteous sing-alongs, best experienced live. Bonnaroo attendees can experience that in real life this weekend, but for those of us left at home, this MP3 will have to do (and it does).

Eminem Recovery and Drug Addiction

By Angela Bacca

I have always liked Eminem's brutal honesty and raw emotion. He has rapped about killing his mom and his girlfriend in graphic detail, and although mainstream pundits labeled him a violent misogynist, I have always seem it as purely crafted catharsis. They were raps of pure emotions, but I personally believe that he would never actually do it. The rage, anger, hurt, and self loathing that could be heard through his music is what turned a whole generation of adolescents into angry little Eminems, not afraid of telling any authority figure to fuck off. His new album, Recovery is due out June 22, although it has already leaked online. Originally titled "Relapse 2," its original release was pushed back in November of 2009 because Em felt he was going in another direction.



On Recovery, he is not just going in another direction, he is stopping the car, pulling over, admitting he is lost and pulling out a map. In a clip leaked online, he discusses his drug overdose and near death on Showbiz Tonight. "The last thing you want in the hip-hop world is to be portrayed as weak," he said, but with his own life at stake, the well being of his daughter, and his career on edge, he did something incredible: he admitted weakness instead of letting the addiction destroy him.



But by no means should you assume Eminem has gone soft or lost his humorous edge. His raps still include a little prostitute slapping, not to mention he is promoting the new album with an infomercial featuring Vince Shlomi of ShamWow fame pushing the new album, and demonstrating how it functions as a knife by slicing up cheese, tomatoes and a silicon breast implant; if you order today it comes with a deluxe ShamWow ten-gallon tampon.

Eminem almost committed what he refers to as "career suicide", by lashing out at top-40 success Lil Wayne on a track. Although it is what I love about him, it is also what I hate about him. Eminem's attacks on everyone around him make listening to one of his albums as uncomfortable as sitting next to a meth head with a shank. In "Talkin' to Myself" he admits to being jealous of Weezy's success, "I went away, I guess I opened up some lanes/ But there was no on who even knows that I was going through growing pains/ Hatred was flowing through my veins/ I as on the verge of going insane/ I almost made a song against Lil' Wayne/ It was like I was jealous of him cause of the attention he was getting/ and I felt horrible about myself." It is one of the first times I have ever heard a celebrity muse over their fame in such a genuine way.



Not only does Em admit to being immature, jealous, and depressed, he even gets a little soft, although he ensures you that soft is the new hard. In the single "Not Afraid," he calls his last album lame, apologizes to his fans for selling out, and swears he is trying to be better in his career and personal life. This is the ballsiest thing a hip-hop artist has done, Eminem took his battle with drugs and himself, owns up to it, and allows himself to be vulnerable to scrutiny.

His talent as a lyricist is evident throughout the album, but the real test of Recovery will be its reception. Are fans going to abandon Eminem because he isn't hopped up on Vicodin and re-writing "Drug Ballad?" Is his role as a social commentator and rap legend only going to be further solidified? For once I think he wants us to take it literally.

Thursday

Stream The Chemical Brothers "Further"

Below is an interactive teaser video for The Chemical Brothers' new album, Further, which is also now available to be streamed at NPR. The video is "interactive," so click on the images alongside the video and see how that interacts with your computer, likely stalling your whole system. See you have a direct connection with how fast your computer goes. For Further enjoyment, check the link for the NPR stream here.

Wednesday

Upcoming Concerts 6/16-6/23

Barrington Levy @ The Shattuck Download, June 17th, 8pm ($27) "ShudulibopdiddyloowoooooooOOO!" If that phonetically achieves its purpose then you'll recognize that Barrington Levy, the godfather of dancehall, is coming to town. Since arriving on the scene in mid 70s, Barrington has been a staple of Jamaican dancehall, having been featured on many hip hop albums, but never really becomign a fixture in the US. Either way, the man is a legend.

Erykah Badu & Janelle Monae @ Paramount Theater, June 18th,($42.75)Tickets ain't cheap for this sho9w, but you can damn be sure this will be well worth it if you got the cash to spend. Badu the queen of soul has become mystically funky in her recent efforts; whereas Janelle, the upcoming prodigy just might be headlining with Badu opening in a few years.

Jamie Lidell @ The Independent, June 18th, 8:30pm ($20) The fact that Jamie Lidell is signed to Warp Records might lead to an assumption that the man is electro based, which once upon was true. NOW, Lidell is churning out some of the most soulful, interesting music I've ever heard, making Robin Thicke sound like pop-crap.

Stars @ The Independent, June 20th, 8pm ($25)Stars will giving an exclusive preview of The Five Ghosts. Playing the new record in its entirety from start to finish, Stars are also letting fans select additional set list and encore tracks by voting at the bands website.

Kate Miller-Heidke @ Cafe Du Nord, June 22nd, 7pm, ($12) SFCritic discovered the Australian songstress at this year's SXSW. Ultimately, it’s the wonderfully unselfconscious yet accomplished songwriting that takes Heidke to the next level. She's unabashedly humorous, entertaining and talented (operatically trained).

Tuesday

Katy Perry "California Gurls"



Katy Perry just released her new video for "California Gurls," which features the Candy Man, I mean Snoop Dogg. The sexual innuendos have me worried for when I have kids. Watch at 1:04 when Perry sings "Will melt your popsicle." Doesn't look like any popsicle will be melting on top of that cloud nine.

On a side note, two nights ago I watched the MTV movie award, and was surprised by the number of swearing bleeped out. Am I getting old, or is our generation getting an even more grotesque image of society? Thanks to Pigeons and Plans for the video and pointing out this song is the exact same "Tik Tok" by Kesha.

Drake "Thank Me Later" Review

Our buddies at Culture Bully put together a really nice review of Drake's new album, Thank Me Later. You can read it here, and below is an excerpt:

"New York City’s Francis and the Lights, who have covered Kanye West and opened for Drake in the past, add the musical backing and production for the track. It’s not long before Drake rediscovers his inner-rapper however, sounding like a less smoked out version of his mentor, Lil Wayne. Produced by Toronto’s Noah “40″ Shebib—who worked with Keys on her single “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)“—“The Resistance” finds the vocalist spinning a series of short charming one-liners, a trend which is repeated throughout the entire record. “I avoided the coke game and went with Sprite instead” and “The game need a life, I put my heart in it” being just two of the simple bars laid down within the track. Again Drake returns to a personal revelation with the song however, looking at himself in the mirror he reveals, “I live by some advice this girl Alyssa told me/The other day Alyssa told me that she miss the old me/Which made me question when I went missing, and when I start treating my friends different.” Rhetorical, sure, but all the same the questions are clearly there: “Did I just trade free time for camera time, will I blow all of this money, baby—hammer time.
.......
Does Drake deserve his fair share of haters? Absolutely. Regardless of Drake basing his lyrics on his reality, there’s still a fair share of truth to many of the claims being made about him: he can’t freestyle worth a damn, his stage presence is still questionable (he practically tripped over himself on stage last year which resulted in a torn ACL which he’s still rehabbing), and upon the most basic dissection of his lyrics he fails to come close to the greats. Most of this criticism comes under the pretense that Drake is a pure MC though. He isn’t."

Culture Bully

Monday

Portugal. The Man Interview with John Gourley

After recently singing to Atlantic Records, John Gourley of [b]Portugal. The Man[/b] has less time to spend in his native Alaska, more time between recording, less time for video games, and if things work out, there will be more time to buy new threads. John Gourley (vocals/guitars) spoke with SFCritic before the band’s gig at the Fillmore on June 18th.

Photos by Victoria Smith

SFCritic (SFC): Do moose really stop traffic in Alaska, and do they follow stoplights?

John Gourley (JG): I think that the moose are probably my favorite part of Alaska, but I don’t know if I can answer that question. I’ve hit two moose before, and it’s the worst experience ever.

SFC: What do you if you hit one?

JG: You don’t have the choice to keep going. It will just smash your vehicle. They look like they would be really nice if you were to go up to them, but it’s actually a really aggressive animal all the time. Don’t feed moose.

SFC: How often do you go back to Alaska?

JG: I go back whenever we have substantial breaks. We don’t go back all the time. I imagine I’ll be building a house soon, out away from everything.

SFC: Wow, how very Alaskan of you.

JG: My family builds houses, by the way. Don’t think now that I’m on Atlantic I’m going to go build a house.

SFC: So it’s been almost a year since we last spoke at Outside Lands. Do things feel different?


JG: The band feels like a different group altogether in a really positive way. We moved to Atlantic and [had] that transition. You have know no idea what we said when Atlantic called: “Just the fact that you’re [Atlantic] calling you need to know that this is my fucking life, and I will fucking flip out if any of this gets fucked up.” We had these talks, I hate to say we became friends, but we actually did.

When it came to making this album that will come out next year — or whenever we finish it — we really decided to sit back and take our time, which is a huge change for our band.

SFC: It seems like the move to Atlantic is a big step. It’s interesting that you guys are taking a lot more time given your track record of doing an album in two weeks or maybe a month.

JG: I feel like it’s necessary. I didn’t have any material when I went into American Ghetto.

SFC: Whatever the case was, it’s refreshing that you’ve had a good experience.

JG: The reality is, when it comes down to it, it has to be a good business decision for them as well. They didn’t sign our band because they wanted a band that sells 20,000 records, that just hangs out at their house and plays video games.

SFC: Wait you guys aren’t going to still do that? Is image becoming a bigger factor?

JG: No, unfortunately not. One of the first things that I said when I went in there was, “Shit do we get a stylist? Do we get all those clothes?” They were like, “No, man, you’re doing alright. You guys look alright now.” I was like “Damn it!”



SFC: I’m sure you can get a sponsorship from a thrift store or something.

JG: Yeah, I should have thought ahead and put on extra large T-shirt, and got a fucked up haircut and tapered jeans and been like, “What’s up! Let’s make moves Atlantic!” Just so you know when you see me wearing a suit, I have to work for that with my own money.


Portugal. The Man perform at the Fillmore on June 18th. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 9pm.
Republished from SF Station.

Friday

Fela ! The Original Broadcast Record

Fela! The Original Broadway Cast Recording of the story and life of Fela Kuti is now available for stream. The album captures the electricity and joy that thousands have experienced at the Eugene O'Neill Theater every night since the play opened on November 23, 2009.

Fela-on-broadway by knitrecords

Tracklist for FELA! Original Broadway Cast Recording:
Everything Scatter
BID
(Breaking It Down) - High Life (Medzi Medzi)/Yellow Fever
Trouble Sleep
Teacher
Black President (scene)
Lover*
Upside Down
Expensive Shit
I.T.T. (International Thief Thief)
Kere Kay
Water Get No Enemy
Torture (scene)
Zombie
Trouble Sleep (reprise)
Na Poi
Sorrow, Tears And Blood
Sorrow After Testimonials (scene/interlude)
Dance of the Orisas (Shakara)
Rain**
Coffin Head of State
Kere Kay (act II)
Gentleman (bows)

*lyrics by Jim Lewis
**music by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean, lyrics by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis

Thursday

A&R: The Music Submissions

By Angela Sobrepena

Marina and the Diamonds - "The Family Jewels"

Having already gained popularity in her native UK, 24-year old Marina Diamandis (aka Marina and the Diamonds) bursts onto the US scene with her album, The Family Jewels, which debuted in the US on May 25th. On the first couple listens, it's hard not to draw comparisons to other British singer-songwriters with a flair for the dramatic, a la Kate Bush and Florence and the Machine. But I must say, Marina does have a uniqueness to her that brings out to the pop-loving 80s child in me. Her lyrics, which at times can be quite self-deprecating, are backed with highly poppy melodies that manage to sound edgy while at the same time remain catchy enough to appeal to the mainstream. Some early standouts are her first single, "I Am A Robot" and the highly infective "Hollywood," in which she satirizes her desire for the fame she will be sure to achieve in the coming months.

Sounds Like: a modern-day Kate Bush, perhaps
Listen To: Hollywood, Obsessions, I Am Not A Robot


Tame Impala -- "Innerspeaker"

Tame Impala's front man, Kevin Parker, describes themselves as "a steady flowing psychedelic groove rock band that emphasizes dream-like melody." They cite quite a range of artists as influences, including Cream, The Doors, Nas, and the Wu-Tang Clan, but bring to mind more of a Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles. Despite all the buzz that's been surrounding this Aussie band's debut album, InnerSpeaker (released May 21), I can't seem to get into it. Their sound is a little too stoner-rock for me, and there wasn't really anything on the 11-track album that made me go "Hey, let me put that song on repeat!" as the tracks all seem to blend into one another. I'm sure psych rock fans will love this album, and maybe in time I will warm up to this trio, but for the time being, I give them a solid "Meh."

Listen To: Solitude Is Bliss, Desire Be Desire Go
Sounds Like: Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles, but not as epic

Wednesday

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings Show Review

By William Clarke

For about an hour I thought I saw the ghost of James Brown conjure itself in the middle of the woods in South Jersey, fight off dark rain-laden clouds and spark a languid crowd like a lightning bolt. The heat and length of the affair can make for a less than enthusiastic response. Jones received the dreaded midday slot, when the sun was still high, the air was still thick and many festival goers had already logged about four hours baking under the hot sun—far from ideal and this writer has seen numerous bands fall flat under similar circumstances over the years.

Bad time slot be damned, The Dap-Kings, who function as Sharon Jones’ backup band and her label Daptones Records’ house band, took the stage at Appel Farms Art & Music Festival and immediately started laying the sonic groundwork for what was eventually a headlining worthy performance. Her guitar player announced that we were about to witness the “Dap Tones Super Soul Revue” and it was on. Sharon pranced out from backstage like a thunder ball in a yellow, black and white dress.


Jones, a very youthful 54, grew up imitating James Brown and his influence is perhaps the most evident, especially in her stage show. Her raw energy, combined with incredible pipes, fleet feet and effervescent charisma also brings to mind another ageless wonder, Tina Turner. This is all a testament to Jones’ prodigious talent and, even more, the degree to which her sound recalls the giants. Not because of any creative lack, but rather due to how wonderfully she and the Dap Kings have taken those antecedents, turned them inside out and back again, and then struck out in their own direction without losing any of the potency that soul had in its heyday. At no point does their sound strike you as the least bit derivative. It feels alive and it is a tribute to Jones and the Kings for sounding so unadulterated and vital.

After a couple of songs, I began to wonder if Jones has suffered from poor timing. Had she been born a decade earlier or even fifteen years later she would have surely been a star far earlier. As it so happens she came of age in the late 1970s and 1980s, when disco and then hip hop were displacing the soul music she had been weaned on. She and the Dap Kings have so perfected their showmanship and craft that they seemed to have achieved an increasingly rare feat and blended talent, charisma, originality and verve into a delicious tonic for an industry increasingly weary of live instrumentation. When she invited a skinny white kid with a big brown fro to dance with her onstage and then later fell over an amp it all just sort of made sense in the best, spontaneous, uninhibited way. After about an hour Sharon bid us adieu but you knew they could have played for another four hours.

Tuesday

826 Chickens in Love


826 Chickens in Love is not KFC's new recipe, but it's delightful, enticing, and just as exciting. 826LA is a writing workshop for aspiring music writers. The Chickens in Love album is a collaboration between the group's writers, and professional singers from the likes of Fiona Apple, Cold War Kids, She & Him, and more.

We were referred to the album by our friends at Rawk Blog who accurately stated, "Fiona please come back and release like 5 new albums. We need you." Yes, please Fiona. Please.

Take a listen to the album here, and at least listen to Fiona's track "So Sleepy."

Cool Kids Tacklebox Mixtape

The Cool Kids are trying to stay cool with their new mixtape Tacklebox. SFCritic featured the "Great Outdoors" on last weeks Friday MP3s Downloads, so hell--why not just give you the whole album. What's your thoughts on this? Are Cool Kids still relevant, or is it time they graduate?


Download Mixtape Free | LiveMixtapes.com Mixtape Player

Monday

The XX Show Review at Great American Music Hall

My experience seeing The xx was like losing my virginity. I built up these high expectations, only to realize three songs into the set that well—“what’s the big deal?” Don’t get me wrong it was great (and I said the same thing to her), but the pressure, the anticipation, the hope for something out of this world—well it was all just one big sigh of “yeah.” Totally a satisfying experience, but I can’t say I will talk as excitedly about the group.


Photos by Angela Bacca

The xx took the stage dressed in all black with fog billowing behind them and their signature “XX” lit center-stage. As they played Romy Madley-Croft stood motionless, and I’d be damned not to call it shoe-gaze (strumming on the guitar staring at the exit sign). Meanwhile, bassist and vocalist Oliver Sim swayed back and for, arching his shoulder forward, wide eyed with a “don’t fuck with me” stare that’s typical of a rock star who likes the title “bad ass.” Except The xx is not ROCK, and is definitely not “badass.”



I get The xx aren’t playing to make friends, but where’s the showmanship? I enjoy their sound. I even wrote in my notes that “they sped up the tempo, and it sounds dirtier than your favorite martini, and I’m lapping that shit up.” Their lyrics are muffled over the heavy bass, and sample driven music, but the harmonies are tight. It’s easy to be lost in their music just like their album. Except, who wants a show that can only be compared to an album.

The experience--just wasn’t that much of an experience. Sure, I was blinded a few times by the over-powered strobe light equipment. I enjoyed as much as I could the DJ tapping away at three different MPC players. But it wasn’t until the end of the set when (male) said “Day two of the tour and I’m already losing my voice,” that for a brief second I felt like I was witnessing a performance.

Delorean Interview and New Album Subiza


Delorean is a group of Spanish punks. Not punks like assholes, but punk rockers. Not punk sounding, punk attitude. Originally the group was a punk band, but after leaving the Basque region (their home) for Barcelona, they began experimenting with indie rock and electronic. Yet an attitude that never is enough, give everything you got, and keep pushing against the norm—well that never left the band.

“Growing up in Basque country, you know getting into the hardcore scene, stepping outside of the mainstream culture, and rules govern the Basque cultural world, was already a political statement that we were not stating but implicitly were making,” say lead vocalist Ekhi Lopetegi in our phone interview. Though the group isn’t explicitly trying to be political, actions speak louder than words.

When a band goes from punk to electronic, one might assume the worst. Bundling raw explosive energy neatly into a conformed four/four electronic format sounds as effortless as controlling a pack of children high on sugar. Yet the move to electronic came naturally. The group that once stepped outside the mainstream culture wanted back in, but with their own twist. They choose dance music because it “it forces you to react and dance in a certain way, instead of listening to a folk introspective track that embraces you and you think about yourself in your bedroom. It’s about building a community.”


After being dissatisfied with the Barcelona dance scene, Delorean decided to follow a different path. Looking to groups like New Order, a punk group that made dance music, Delorean released the EP Aryton Senna. Tracks like “Deli,” were highly lauded, but praise wasn’t enough. “Aryton Senna was harmless, too clean, and flat. We didn’t want to make obvious pop songs,” Ekhi explains, so with their LP Subiza they pushed further. The LP as Ekhi asserts is more complex, but remains as immediate. The heavy layering, with song likes “Warmer Places” having over 80 tracks, creates a lush sound that on the surface sounds like Animal Collective.

With all the production, one has to wonder how the band manages to translate their sound live. While some electronic groups perform as DJs, others as bands, Delorean isn’t an arranged anomaly (drum kit, guitar, bass, keyboard, samplers), but it’s their mentality that stands out. “It’s about the execution of the energy, instead of the right execution of a song.” Ekhi says about their performance style before stating, “The coolest shows are the ones that after you are completely empty out of energy, because you gave it all,” a mindset he attributes to their punk background.


“Maybe if we talk again later this year, I’ll give you more hints of what were going to but right now I feel like the LP done, we’ve been working two years with this same method, this technique, and this way. What’s next, I don’t know, but something else,” Ekhi tells me. The cycle begins again. Maybe a new style in the future? A new home? Supposedly the group has "come to an end in Barcelona." Who knows, maybe the band will have had enough with change, but I doubt it. They’re just too punk to stay still.

Friday

M.I.A. and Lynn Hirschberg's "Agitprop Pop"

By Angela Bacca



Last week, the New York Times published a controversial piece by staff writer Lynn Hirschberg on M.I.A, which painted her as a wealthy disconnected and uninformed musician who uses the politics of her native Sri Lanka to further her image and sell records. Most notable was the quote from Hirschberg’s lunchtime conversation at a swanky Los Angeles lunch restaurant (see other quotes here):

“Unity holds no allure for [M.I.A.] - she thrives on conflict, real or imagined. ‘I kind of want to be an outsider,’ she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry. ‘I don't want to make the same music, sing about the same stuff, talk about the same things. If that makes me a terrorist, then I'm a terrorist."”’

The issue here is not that M.I.A. enjoys delicious food, but the projection that somehow gaining fame and wealth somehow discredits her as an activist. M.I.A. shot back instantly via Twitter by posting Hirschberg’s cell phone number and encouraging her fans to call and let her know what they think. Since the release of the article, Hirschberg has been accused of reordering quotes to suit the storyline.

Hirschberg goes on to incorrectly explain the dispute between the Tamil minority and Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka. The wording of her statement suggests that the tensions between the Tamils and Sinhalese were rooted in religious differences, the majority of Tamils are Hindu while the majority of Sinhalese are Buddhist.

M.I.A., a native Tamil raised in England, has famously showed her solidarity to the recently defeated “terrorist” Tamil Tigers by incorporating tiger print into her clothing, and using press interviews to bring attention to the conflict.


The quarter-century long war in Sri Lanka has been all but absent from Western media headlines—that is until M.I.A. had even conservatives in the Midwest bobbing their heads to Paper Planes last summer (although most people have no idea that the song was inspired by M.I.A.’s reflections on the third world condition—suffer in your native land or immigrate to work low wage jobs and be shunned by their new first-world neighbors— a “paper plane” is a visa). M.I.A.’s catchy pop music caught the attention of the first world, and those who listened closely heard controversial, revolutionary, and sometimes-offensive lyrics.

The first video, “Born Free” off of the new album, Awesome!, which is set to release on July 13th is already stirring up controversy of its own. It has been banned from Youtube.com as well as shows an American SWAT team terrorizing an apartment building full of ordinary citizens-- in pursuit of “gingers” aka red-headed pale skinned people, to cart away and put in jails. M.I.A.’s message seems pretty clear, the foreigner, the victim, the minority—are all victims of terrorism, so how can they be labeled a terrorist for fighting back?

So what was Hirschberg’s intention with the article? If it was to discredit M.I.A.’s political beliefs and tactics then she failed. Instead, she threw M.I.A.’s politics back into the mainstream first world media. Although I don’t agree with the violent tactics M.I.A. sometimes espouses, I respect and appreciate the dialogue she creates and is continuing to create. Let her spend money on whatever delicious food she craves.

Friday Free Mp3s

The Cool Kids: "Great Outdoors"
Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks of The Cool Kids have been spending every second getting ready for the big one, that topsy-turvy day When Fish Ride Bicycles. As an avid fisherman, you might be wondering how does one prepare for such a trip? New gear? Fresh bait? Those both sound great but the fact is that every fishing trip begins the same: with a well-packed tackle box. Let the Cool Kids’ “Great Outdoors” be an example to all you fledgling fisherman, pack it full of big hooks and strong lines and you’ll never go home empty-handed.


Jasmine Solana: "Poetic Justice"
Jasmine Solano is already a fixture on the underground club scene, and now she’s poised to become a hip-hop star. Her newest single “Poetic Justice” does nothing of the kind. Instead, it rips through like firewater, banging you into submission with a tribal-like beat and sexy, steady chant. To put it lightly, it’s worth a few spins this summer.


The Roots: "Dear God 2.0" (Ft. Jim James & Monster of Folk)
The Roots, Illadelphia’s purveyors of good taste, have spotted another jam to jump on—Monsters Of Folk’s funkiest cut, “Dear God.” In this version, Blackthought uses Jim James’ cooing chorus as a canvas to paint a sobering picture of a rather hopeless future, one plagued by “hurricanes, tsunamis, assaults, and robberies, endangered species, and runnin’ out of trees.”


The Whigs: "Dying"
“Dying” is the mercurial mid-album crescendo piece on The Whigs’ latest, In The Dark; their Spiritualized moment, basically, building over four minutes into a tsunami of guitar feedback, organ wash and drum fireworks.

Thursday

Miike Snow "The Rabbit" Official Video

Miike Snow just released the video for his latest single "The Rabbit," which is directed by the infamous Stuart Price. The video is a little quirky, or may seem off, but if we at SFCritic learned anything from our interview with Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow) this is a clear attempt to challenge societies musical norms. Check out the multiple references to 2 Live Crew, whom were famous for their obscenity case and for being the reason for "Parental Control" censors. What do you think of this video?

A&R: The Music Submissions


The Hundred In The Hands: This Desert EP
By Angela Sobrepena

Is it just me, or does there seem to a recent surge in the popularity of guy-girl duos? The Brooklyn-based team of Jason Friedman and Eleanore Everdell try to distinguish themselves from the masses with their debut EP, This Desert (released on May 18). Their dream-poppy vocals and synth-heavy arrangements, combined with some big beats, provide a great addition to that late night dance party soundtrack. Upon initial listen, "Sleepwalkers" bears more than a little resemblance to Ladytron, and I actually caught myself humming "Destroy Everything You Touch" mid-chorus. The ethereal vocals on "In To It" bring to mind Elizabeth Fraser and kinda make me wanna bust out the ol' Cocteau Twins records. While it is not the most original record, I would say it is a pretty solid 20+ minutes of foot-tapping, head nodding fun. I am hoping they step it up a little with their full-length album, which drops sometime this fall.

Sounds Like: The disco love child of Ladytron and the Cocteau Twins
Listen To: Tom Tom, Ghosts


Fake Drugs: Drake Fugs
By Camden Andrews

Remember Starfucker? The quirky, colorfully-clad electro-pop group from Portland, Oregon? They had a bit of an identity crisis this past year. For a little while, they changed their name to Pyramiddd because Starfucker was deemed too inappropriate. Then they changed their name back to Starfucker. Then members Kiel Corcoran and Shawn Glassford broke off to form Fake Drugs. But Fake Drugs is also currently playing shows with none other than… Starfucker. Confused? I don’t blame you. But the point is that Starfucker are still very much together, and Fake Drugs is just a chance for Corcoran and Glassford to break out and try something new. “I usually play drums,” Corcoran says, “so Fake Drugs is an excuse for me to escape my cage and act the fool.” Corcoran does most of the vocals for Fake Drugs, but their version of acting the fool is pretty dark and brooding compared to Starfucker’s playful dance tracks. “Balancing Act” has a new-wave groove that is definitely danceable, but is marked with sulking indifference as Corcoran ends each verse pouting, “So What’s the Point?” Their debut album, Drake Fugs was appropriately released on 4/20.

Sounds Like: A hipster Tears for Fears
Listen To: Balancing Act, Red Eyes

Tuesday

Upcoming Concerts 6/2-6/9

"When it rains, it pours." Shows, shows galore this week. Some of them are sold (The XX, Local Natives, Mumford & Sons), but not all of them (Born Ruffians, LCD Soundsystem). Some of the shows you might even surprise you, or well, I was surprised (50 Cent @ The Warfield). So get hip and take a look before you're too late, we all know the bell curve theory--where do you want to end?

Mumford & Sons @ Slim's, June 2rd, 8pm ($16) The members of Mumford & Sons came together in 2007, and since have shared a common purpose: to make music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously. The four young men from West have fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful voices. They are staunch friends – Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane – who bring their music to us with the passion and pride of an old-fashioned, much-cherished, family business.

Local Natives @ Rickshaw Stop, June 2nd, 9pm ($12) A few tickets are available on the day of the show, just get there early is you REALLY want to see them--words of advice. Local Natives were recently featured on SFCritic, and are one 2010's newest indie rise to fame. With an emphasis on vocal harmonies, and gritty indie rock--the group is a like a maturing Grizzly Bear riding waves, soon to catch the big one! Watch. Listen. HANG TEN!

LCD Soundsystem
@ The Fillmore, June 3rd ($35) The group's style is a mix of dance music and punk, along with elements of disco, experimental rock, and other styles. They have released three critically acclaimed albums, with 2010's This Is Happening also charting in the Billboard Top 10.

Japanther @ The Great American Music Hall, June 6th, 9pm ($14) “The band's knack for whipping a roomful of young hipsters into a frenzy is awesome to behold. This is punk as performance art, and no one in town does it better.” TIME OUT NEW YORK

Holy Fuck @ The Independent, June 8th, 9pm ($15) If opposites really do attract, it makes perfect sense that Holy Fuck would chose a barn in rural Ontario to record a series of dynamic electro-noise pop that compose their latest full-length release, titled Latin. Where Holy Fuck in the past were a rotating cast of musicians, Latin showcases for the first time their consistent touring line up. Drummer Matt Schulz and bass player Matt McQuaid provide a complex rhythm foundation that at times feels like an invisible hand leading you through a dark hedge maze.
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