When the ancient Polynesians invented surfing, they often used a paddle to help them navigate. Fast-forward a few millennia, and Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, finds itself trendy again. Part of its increasing popularity is that standing upright allows surfers to spot waves more easily and thus catch more of them, multiplying the fun factor. Paddling back to the wave becomes less of a strain as well. The ability to cruise along on flat inland water, surveying the sights, is another advantage. Finally, its a good core workout. If youre sold on the idea, schedule an intro SUP lesson, free with board and paddle rental, and you may find yourself riding the waves like a Polynesian king.More
In the past 30 years, light artists have reimagined an art form that has always had the ability to turn the night sky, or a simple window, into luminescence. Last fall, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts turned its southern glass wall into a parade of sound-sensing lights, Lightswarm, that changes with the movements of nearby people and things. Future Cities Lab, the San Francisco design company behind Lightswarm, has originated another notable light sculpture. Located by the YBCA's steps at 701 Mission, Murmur Wall will light up in arresting ways as it incorporates local trending search engine results and social media postings. Onlookers can offer their own contributions, which will feed into the Murmur Wall's data stream and light up the sculpture. What's trending in San Francisco? If you're walking by the YBCA, you can see firsthand — at least through light patterns that reflect the city's volatile internet habits.
Murmur Wall debuts Thursday at 6 p.m. and continues through May 31, 2017, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F. Free; 415-978-2700 or ybca.org. More
Welcome, time-crunched and over-stimulated music fan, to All Shook Down's High Five -- a place where Byard Duncan wades through the shit to find you the hits. Well, five of them, anyway.
If there's anything uniting the tracks in this week's inaugural installment, it's a sense of urgency. From Dutch Uncles' densely layered meditations on addiction and love to Lil Wayne's vertigo-inducing boasts, there's an unmistakable tension throbbing beneath each selection. Away we go.
1. Dutch Uncles -- "Bellio"
Not quite synth pop, not quite weenie prog, this track shows us just how much UK-based Dutch Uncles can get away with in a span of less than three minutes. It's a dexterous, syncopated romp whose complexity is disguised by familiar textures -- plinky, Phoenix-flavored guitar work; papery synths; off-kilter melodies. Be patient. If there is space in your cold heart for both King Crimson and Belle and Sebastian, there's surely room in some dusty corner for Dutch Uncles.
2. Marnie Stern -- "Immortals"
"I'll come and find ya," Stern chants near this song's blistering outset, millimeters away from a full-on squeal, tapping her frets with cock-rock bravado. Whether her words are a promise or a threat is unclear, but perhaps that's the point. From start to finish, "Immortals" vibrates and teeters, constantly at risk of running itself into the ground. Stern's playing, frantic and fuzz-sheared, feels like a blurted confession. All the boisterousness of Japandroids' 2012 release, Celebration Rock, except with a woman wielding the axe for once, thank God.
3. Mwahaha -- "Rainbow Diamond"
Few can coat a good old-fashioned pop melody in sludge better than these Oakland psych-rock artisans. This song borrows recklessly (yet somehow satisfyingly) from classic rock, doo-wop, hymnals, used Band-Aids, the crud between your toes, and pretty much whatever else is available. Meanwhile, the lyrics cut a similarly jagged trajectory: "See the silver lining/ With a rainbow diamond/ Everybody's crying," singer Ross Peacock groans. Somehow hopeful, glamorous and doomy all at the same time.
4. Alex Bleeker and the Freaks -- "Leave on the Light"
What is it about these sluggish, backwoods odes to lost love? The mewing steel guitar? The ghostly chorus of voices assisting our heartbroken hero at every available opportunity? Loping and forlorn, this is a story that's been told two million times. But maybe tell it one more time, Bleeker. We're listening.
5. Lil Wayne, Ft. Corey Gunz and Nicki Minaj -- "Lay It Down"
An absolute river dredge of an eighth album, I Am Not A Human Being II leaves no gat un-fired, no blunt unsmoked, no genitals unchafed. It's not enough anymore for our favorite syzzurp-swilling hip-hop trickster to whip a bunch of shit (and God knows what other fluids) against the wall and see what sticks; he now appears to have totally disregarded any allegiance to genre whatsoever. That being said, "Lay It Down" is a welcome oasis among 16 other mostly useless tracks. Corey Gunz is slippery and lithe, cramming words into his verse with a hyperactive urgency. And against the song's queasy, funhouse mirror of a beat, Nicki Minaj's staccato delivery and exasperated crescendo are kind of delightful. The two function as EKG paddles of sorts for Weezy, who delivers his most compelling verse of the album.
-- @ByardDuncanFollow @SFAllShookDown
Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'.
Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"