Q&A

Marc E. Bassy on breaking down musical boxes

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As a member of 2AM Club and a songwriter for artists like Chris Brown and Sean Kingston, San Francisco-raised Marc Griffin is an experienced pop music craftsman. But as Marc E. Bassy, solo artist, he's a forward-thinking R&B auteur with more of an ear towards the genre's growing experimental fringe. Only The Poets, Vol. Read more »

New Zealand flow over Detroit beats: Ladi6 hits the Bay for the first time

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By Rob Goszkowski

There’s a commonality to a large segment of New Zealand music, much of it with a dubbed-out vibe that one would expect from an island nation. But there’s also an underlying fierceness to it. Karoline Tamati, aka Ladi6, represents this dichotomy well, and her blend of hip-hop and modern soul will be in the Bay Area for the first time this weekend, with shows at Brick and Mortar in the city on Saturday and at the New Parish in Oakland on Sunday.

The lifelong musician started playing music at a young age and was smitten with hip-hop as a teenager when she formed Sheelahroc with her cousin and a friend at 16 years old. She found her singing voice shortly afterward and hasn’t stopped singing. Read more »

Fuck Buttons on their wildly visual live show, the writing process, and bringing "fuck" to the world stage

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“I think I’ve heard of them before,” is the kind of spineless response you’ll never hear if you ask someone about Fuck Buttons.  If you’ve heard them, you’ll most definitely will remember.  With music that elicits feelings of wonder and rebellion, intense live shows, and of course an, err -- catchy name, Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung leave a lasting impression.Read more »

Elbow's Craig Potter on iPads, tour fatigue, and hitting #1

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By Andrew Blair

If you don’t know of Elbow by now, you should probably stop reading this and go spend some time under a tree, staring out into space, contemplating your existence up to this point. Unless, of course, you want to be brought up to speed and welcomed into a community of people who love the brooding baritone lyrical genius of lead singer Guy Garvey, sung over pulsing drums, spacey melodic piano, and topped off with anthemic triumphant sing-along choruses.Read more »

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger on going electric and the timeless combination of marijuana and Pink Floyd

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By Rebecca Huval

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is out to topple everyone’s expectations. The two-piece band has rather public identities to overcome: Sean Lennon is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl is a world-class model who was the youngest covergirl on Britain’s Harper’s Bazaar.Read more »

A tUnE-yArDs phone date from the road

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Being weird in a good way seems like a more difficult status for artists to attain than it used to be. We can tell when you're trying too hard -- the Gaga meat dress, the Miley tongue-wags felt 'round the world -- and it's straight-up unappealing. Thanks to Ye Olde Internet, we're also genuinely harder to shock than we used to be. At the same time, the acceptable box that artists seem to need to fit into to be marketable, to achieve anything like mainstream success, feels smaller all the time.Read more »

José James on Ice-T, moving forward, and stone-cold jazz

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By Micah Dubreuil

You might not be alone if you do a double-take when hearing José James’ new single for the first time. The song, “EveryLittleThing,” off the singer’s forthcoming album on Blue Note Records (While You Were Sleeping, out June 10), recalls a grinding club hit more than the effortless mix of jazz and neo-soul that made him famous. It is a surprise, to say the least -- the driving, electric sound is nothing like the mellow and easy cool of his previous record, No Beginning No End, released in 2013. Read more »

Juana Molina on the value of repetition and how music is like cooking with an audience

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By Rob Goszkowski

In the past, Argentinean singer-songwriter Juana Molina took her time to craft carefully looped and layered beatscapes before her audiences. Her approach has changed, per the artistic demands of her most recent release, Wed 21. The songs are more condensed, but the aesthetic is the same.Read more »

Q&A: Queer Rebels on accessibility, representation, and the challenges queer people of color still face

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It’s not that Modern Family and your Gender Studies reading list aren’t doing anything for queer and trans representation -- but there are still stories to be told, and ears to be reached.Read more »

Q&A: Punk veteran Jonny "Two Bags" Wickersham

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After more than 20 years of playing an important role in the formation and evolution of a variety of bands including the Cadillac Tramps, Youth Brigade, U.S. Bombs and Social Distortion, Jonny "Two Bags" Wickersham is finally stepping into the spotlight on his own with his first solo record, the excellent Salvation Town, (Isotone Records/Thirty Tigers) which hit stores earlier this week.Read more »