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Look Who’s Coming  |  Fall 2011

Look Who’s Coming | Fall 2011

Posted by: on Sep 6, 2011 | Comments (1)

B.B. King and Buddy Guy aren’t just the best headliners the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival (Sept. 24-25) has had in years, they’re also an example of the longtime legends who, lucky for us, return to the North Bay perennially. This fall season boasts everyone from jazz survivor Herbie Hancock (Sept. 18, Wells Fargo Center) to indie-rock progenitors the Pixies (Nov. 20, Uptown Theatre), with a little bit of country survivor Wynonna Judd thrown in for good boot-scootin’ measure (Nov. 8, Lincoln Theatre).

When Herbie Hancock was here last, he regaled the crowd with a song he hadn’t played live in 25 years—”Rockit,” the early-turntablist fusion breakdance anthem. Expect similar crossover from jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour (Sept. 17, Napa Valley Opera House) and, to a lesser degree, recent Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding (Oct. 2, Uptown Theatre). Spalding, who has successfully crossed over out of the jazz world with the large help of Starbucks, has got a marvelous hairdo to rival that of Diana Ross, who stops in for a diva show to end all diva shows (Sept. 17, Marin Center). And speaking of glamour, there’s two chances to catch quasi-globetrotting ensemble Pink Martini (Nov. 17, Marin Center; Nov. 19; Grace Pavilion), who continue to receive rave reviews even with the temporary hiatus of lead vocalist China Forbes.

Rock legends abound, with the Last Day Saloon hosting recent box-set grantees UFO (Sept. 15) and Mr. Playin’ It Straight himself, Pat Travers (Oct. 8). Lindsey Buckingham, the poor soul who has been stuck with a not-very-funny SNL skit, plays in Napa (Oct. 25, Uptown Theatre) just before guitar wizard Jeff Beck flies through with three shows (Oct 31, Wells Fargo Center; Nov 1-2, Uptown Theatre). And though they may not be in the Cleveland Hall of Fame, they’re our own legends, like it or not: barf-metal act Skitzo celebrates 30 years of regurgitation this year (Oct. 8, Phoenix Theater).

A strong indie-rock double bill of Band of Horses and Brett Netson brings the bearded out of the woodwork (Sept. 9, Uptown Theater), while Dawes and Blitzen Trapper give a virtual encore a month later (Oct. 7, Mystic Theater). Ryan Adams, whose career has been a rollercoaster to say the least, plays a completely sold-out show (Oct. 15, Uptown Theater), while the almighty Pixies hold the record for quickest ticket sales (Nov. 20, Uptown Theatre)—the Napa stop of their Doolittle Tour was sold out in minutes.

While the grizzled country-music patriarch Merle Haggard returns (Sept. 30, Uptown Theatre), many young-uns swim in his wake. Son Volt’s Jay Farrar glides onto the stage with a voice of velvet (Sept. 9, Mystic Theatre), while Dave Alvin continues his quest to make the bandana cool again—if anyone can do it, it’s him (Sept. 15, Mystic Theatre).

Jackson Browne is all over his solo set these days, with stories and spontaneity and rarely any set list (Nov. 9, Marin Center), while master storyteller Tom Russell comes back for a special intimate evening (Oct. 27, Studio E). The nimble and fleet-fingered Bruce Hornsby continues to provide examples of why he’s among the most sought-after in the business (Sept. 14, Uptown Theatre), and at the Napa Valley Opera House, two artists get up close and personal: Rickie Lee Jones (Nov. 3) and Stephen Stills (Nov. 17).

Blues fans looking forward to the great B. B. King–Buddy Guy teamup can also get down and low over at the Mystic Theatre with J. L. Walker (Sept. 15) and Mark Hummel’s Harmonica Blowout (Oct. 1). And if that doesn’t work, then the hell with it—just flush all cares down the drain and go enjoy the crazy theatrics of “Weird Al” Yankovic (Nov. 7, Wells Fargo Center).

Complete List of Songs Banned by China’s Ministry of Culture

Complete List of Songs Banned by China’s Ministry of Culture

Posted by: on Aug 26, 2011 | Comments (1)

How bad is it being a music fan living in China? So bad, it seems, that the Chinese government has banned 100 songs from being played on the radio—or even featured on websites. The Chinese Ministry of Culture’s list includes female American pop stars Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, along with songs by Owl City, Simple Plan, Take That and the Backstreet Boys.

We’re wondering just how threatening some of these songs could possibly be: “Today Should Be Very Happy,” “Smiley Face,” “Thank you for Your Inspiration.” Really? And boy, watch out for Linzi Xi’s “Intro,” folks. That’s dangerous stuff, right there.

The complete list of songs banned by China’s Ministry of Culture, effective September 15, 2011, is below the jump. English list comes courtesy of Google translate; a duplicate list in Chinese follows.

This is the Bay Area

Posted by: on Aug 3, 2011 | Comments (0)

“Like a Tumblr blog in which each photo, scrap of text, or embedded video is posted without context, contributing a single point to the overall aesthetic, the swag life encourages you to take cultural artifacts that speak to you — be they punk rock or crunk rap, secondhand sweaters or designer shoes — and fit them like novel bricks into the multicolored wall of your own image.”

When a hyphy wave crashes, new ripples inevitably appear. Ian S. Port gives an excellent overview of current Bay Area hip-hop in the SF Weekly today. (Photo of Lil’ B by Joseph Schell.)

Amy Winehouse Found Dead

Amy Winehouse Found Dead

Posted by: on Jul 23, 2011 | Comments (0)

According to numerous reports coming from the UK, Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her London home. She was 27 years old.

 

City Sound Inertia Wins Another National Award

City Sound Inertia Wins Another National Award

Posted by: on Jul 22, 2011 | Comments (2)

Well, color me honored! Today in New Orleans, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies held their annual AAN Awards and handed out a second-place national award to City Sound Inertia for Best Music Blog.

Considering the great altweekly music blogs out there—Ian S. Port and the SF Weekly’s All Shook Down; Ezra Careff and the Portland Mercury’s End Hits; Rob Harvilla and Zach Baron at the Village Voice’s Sound of the City, which to no one’s surprise took first place—well, being in such fine company, and winning two years in a row, and doing so all by myself in a relatively small town… it feels good.

Thanks to all of you readers for sticking with me here on City Sound Inertia; I continue to be humbled by the fact that people actually read these words of mine, still usually typed at 2am from home. And again, thanks especially to AAN, not just for the award but for nurturing and championing alternative news media. Now go on and listen to some records! Start with Mingus Ah Um, The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death, Midnight Marauders or w h o k i l l, and you’ll be in fine shape for the rest of the day. Here’s love to you all.

 

Bob Dylan’s Grandson Is A Rapper

Posted by: on Jul 21, 2011 | Comments (1)

Behold, Pablo Dylan, folks. 15 years old and already working it.

Sample lyric: “I-I-I’m the grandson of a man nothin’ less than legendary / That’s a lot of pressure / So I Berry Gordy, I am very Motown, bitch / I’m’a get that crown / W-W-While I’m at it, I might reinvent sound”

Download the mixtape 10 Minutes here. In the meantime, here’s an interview. “I mean, really,” the young Dylan says, “my grandfather, I consider him the Jay-Z of his time.”

What’s the Shabazz Palaces LP Cover Made Of?

What’s the Shabazz Palaces LP Cover Made Of?

Posted by: on Jul 20, 2011 | Comments (0)

I’ve got this aversion to foam that’s reached laughable proportions; I just can’t touch the stuff. So when I slipped the plastic off the new Shabazz Palaces LP, I nearly dropped it. What the hell is this foam-like foamness that the foam-a-licious Shabazz Palaces cover is made out of?

According to Dumb Eyes, he design team behind the record, it’s black ink printed on shark skin paper. Shark skin paper? Who knew there was such a thing?

Anyway, the record’s good—it’s Butterfly from Digable Planets on some futuristic shit—but after five listens the beats are still the best part. Did anyone see him when he played Hopmonk last year?

In the meantime, keep that furry record away from me. I’m wearin’ latex gloves every time I listen to it.

 

 

 

The Road Goes On Forever

The Road Goes On Forever

Posted by: on Jul 9, 2011 | Comments (0)

Check another one off the list! Robert Earl Keen’s Gravitational Forces is finally on vinyl, thanks to Lost Highway’s 10th Anniversary vinyl reissue campaign. This sucker is packed with classics—covers by Townes Van Zandt, Johnny Cash, Terry Allen, and Joe Dolce’s “My Home Ain’t in the Hall of Fame” are fine pairings with Keen’s own originals, including the definitive recording of his brilliant storytelling epic, “The Road Goes on Forever.” (Other highlights on Lost Highway’s campaign include Ryan Adams’ Gold, O Brother Where Art Thou? and the surprisingly good Hank Williams tribute record, Timeless.)

Kreayshawn and Harmony Gabriel are in a Hood Battle

Kreayshawn and Harmony Gabriel are in a Hood Battle

Posted by: on Jun 8, 2011 | Comments (6)

Kreayshawn—the self-directing, self-editing, mega-inhaling personality from Oakland—signed to Columbia this week. If you haven’t seen “Gucci Gucci” yet, you might not know what this means. Check it out below, and then try to get it out of your head.

Kreayshawn came up in the hyphy craze, keeps good ties with Lil’ B from the Pack, and tweets with Mistah F.A.B. Though she’s in L.A. these days, hanging out with Odd Future and Soulja Boy, she still reps Oakland pretty hard wherever she goes.

It’s easy to be conflicted on Kreayshawn. Let’s face it, it’s been a while since there’s been a rising star out of the Bay Area, let alone Oakland. (Keyshia Cole’s got love for the city but moved the hell out, and when I asked her once in an interview what East Bay spots she like to hit up on tour, she couldn’t name any.) So it’s exciting to have some Bay Area action going on.

But . . . is “Gucci Gucci” really the face of Oaktown?

Behold, two girls fighting over who’s more hood!

“This chick @KREAYSHAWN is a rapper…yes. But hood? NO. She knows nothing about the streets she’s not half as hard as she comes off as,” tweets Harmony Gabriel, from Hustler and HBO’s Cathouse. “Makes me sick..maybe if she was some type of hustler or came from the streets or had some type of ambition but she’s trash to me. White chick acting hard throwing up gang signs from home made gangs…. #FAIL.”

Lest one doubt Harmony’s inherent hoodness, the credentials come forth:

“I got people in REAL hoods that can vouch for me I’m not hood now cause I GREW up I get big girl $ now but believe me I come from ‘hood.'”

This triggers Kreayshawn’s response:

“shut up with yor rants I’m from east Oakland u skanky.”

Harmony, again:

“Who’s hotter? Who’s the realest? @KREAYSHAWN or @HARMONYG? #ImJustSaying”

At this point, if you’re thinking it’s time for Kreayshawn to take the high road, you’re right.

“your a trip chicka I’m from east Oakland you can come visit my hood and tell me what you think… much luv anyways.”

None of this sits too well with Harmony Gabriel, unfortunately.

“@KREAYSHAWN Yea that’s all you got? Cause your mom happen to have you in east side oakland your hood!? Hahahaa!! Ask about me!! Buy my mags!”

Sensing unneeded drama, Kreayshawn then advises that she will “only reply to positive things from here on out,” and Harmony Gabriel, after reminding people “I sold pussy” and telling them to wait for her upcoming rap video, declares herself the victor: “the title is mine the crown is mine.”

And that, dear readers, is the hood battle of the day.

P.S. If you’ve been following the phenomenon of Kreayshawn, this excellent piece by Meaghan Garvey irons out a lot of conflicting feelings.